School tax town hall with Eby attracts hundreds

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – People living in the West Point Grey area finally got a chance to voice their opposition to the NDP’s ‘school tax’ to their provincial representative.

Almost a month after Attorney General David Eby cancelled a town hall meeting on the tax due to what he said were safety concerns, another meeting today organized by the West Point Grey Residents Association at Jericho Hill Gym, attracted over 500 people, many of whom rallied and signed petitions before hand.

“I’m retired, on disability with MS, I can’t get a job, I’m over 60, I’m not gonna be working again, I don’t get a pension from a company, I don’t get a pension from the government,” says Dave Mallory, who lives in the area. “If they take all my money now, I got nothing left in 30 years, when I’m in my 90’s. I’m looking after my dad right now, who’s 93 and in extended care — I know how much it costs.”

The proposed school tax will see a 0.2 per cent surtax put on the assessed value of homes worth more than $3 million.

Moments got tense inside the packed, hot gym, with people loudly applauding after tough, blunt questions were posed to Eby and booing after some of his answers. Many who went up to the microphone to ask Eby a question said the tax was unfair, sharing why it will be unaffordable for them.

“He told Frank, who’s never deferred his taxes and is living his retirement very humbly, that he should defer his taxes and live comfortably so his kids can have that $7 million home,” says Yvonne Williams, who left the meeting after Eby argued homeowners can defer the tax “Well if Frank lives to 95, there’s gonna be no money left in that house and the he’ll have to surrender it to the city.”

Shelly Kassam, a doctor who immigrated to Canada over 30 years ago says she may have to sell her house if the tax goes ahead.

“We have worked night and day to keep our home going, to raise our children in a community we believe in,” she says “I am fighting every bit for 30 years to hang onto my home so I can basically die in it and leave it to my children or my grandchildren.”

Ray Fong, who also lives in the area and opposes the tax because he says it’s unfair, didn’t leave the meeting feeling like Eby really heard concerns

“He has his biases already, to make comments about the ‘ultra elite Arbutus Club’ is ridiculous, it shows his hand and his deck of cards that he already his set, so he’s not listening to what people are saying.”

A town hall meeting to make up the one cancelled by Eby is set for June 4th, 6:30 p.m. at 4500 Arbutus Street. People who were out at the meeting this afternoon say they will rally at “Housing Townhall 2.0” too.

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