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One in five B.C. citizens’ emails to the province about real estate expressed racism towards Asians

April 5, 2017

Georgia Straight |

On July 7, 2016, the province released its first batch of data detailing how many B.C. residential properties were sold to foreign nationals. It was a move that British Columbians were begging the government to make for at least the entire year preceding that day.

The Straight filed a freedom-of-information request asking for citizens’ correspondence related to the issue of “foreign buyers, foreign owners, foreign money and/or foreign investment and Vancouver real estate” covering that 12-month period.

The response consists of 848 pages that include 526 emails from citizens on the subject of real estate. The vast majority of those letters express intense dissatisfaction with the B.C. Liberals’ long refusal to act on the issue of foreign money in B.C. real estate.

“You are elected by the people, but your job has given you enough wealth to disconnect from the middle class,” one reads. “You remind me of Queen Marie Antoinette when she learned that the French peasants had no bread. She said, let them eat cake.”

An analysis of these 526 emails, sent either to the premier’s office or the Ministry of Finance, revealed that a sizable minority—109 emails, or about 21 percent—were overtly racist.

“From reading all the news it is clear that the top one percent of Chinese are flocking to Canada,” one reads. “Future generations will suffer the consequences.”

“I heard that an Oriental man sat in his car, didn’t even look at the inside of some building at Salish Court in Burnaby, and purchased them,” reads another. “I am definitely not a racist. However, I feel very strongly that we need to make Canadians a top priority.”

And a third: “I am appalled at how the Chinese are literally taking over Vancouver, and in such sneaky, dirty, underhanded ways.”

Many of those emails expressed a belief that no money made in China was earned honestly.

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