Wilkinson under fire for appearing out of touch amid B.C.’s rental crisis

The Opposition leader recounted his time as a renter while critizing the NDP’s rental protections

BC Liberal Opposition leader Andrew Wilkinson is under fire for remarks he made about the province’s rental crisis.

On Wednesday at the legislature, Wilkinson lamented how the NDP’s policies on rental protection dissuades people from becoming landlords, using his own experience to question the need for legislation that protects renters from rate hikes and instability.

He described his 15 years as a young renter in B.C. as a “fact of life that’s a rite of passage.

“I lived in a dozen different rentals. It was challenging at times, but it was fun,” said Wilkinson, who’s in his 60s. “It was part of growing up and getting better. We’ve all done it. It’s kind of a wacky time of life, but it can be really enjoyable.”

READ MORE: Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna home to Canada’s most expensive rentals: report

READ MORE: Almost half of B.C. renters spend more than 30% of income on housing

He went on to say that Premier John Horgan and his government have tried “to pander to renters” with their unfulfilled election promise of a $400 renters’ rebate.

“Nothing has been done. They’ve put all kinds of restricted caps on the behaviour of landlords around changing rents, long-term leases and renovation of apartments. The net effect is that people are getting out of the landlord market. Why would you go and take that on?”

READ MORE: Young professionals leaving Vancouver over high cost of housing

READ MORE: B.C. to partner with cities, churches to build new affordable housing

The NDP were quick to criticize Wilkinson, who has served as MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena since 2013.

In the past, Wilkinson has spoken about how the unattainable housing market in B.C. likely means his children will have to move away as they grow up – making headlines in October after becoming emotional while talking to members of the Surrey Board of Trade.

Since taking office, the Horgan government has implemented a 30-point housing plan in part to combat the 1.4 per cent average rental vacancy rate in the province. In September, they reversed their prior decision of allowing landlords to increase rent by 4.5 per cent, instead capping it to the rate of inflation, or 2.5 per cent.

READ MORE: Renters struggle to find homes as prices climb, availability declines

READ MORE: Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, who heads the government’s rental housing task force, fired back at Wilkinson in a news release, questioning his understanding of the challenges B.C. residents face.

“Renting is not just a wacky and fun phase for most people, especially after the BC Liberals let the cost of home ownership skyrocket for years,” Chandra Herbert said. “Now, Andrew Wilkinson is proposing to increase rents further, making life even harder and more expensive for renters.”

READ MORE: Most people in B.C. say landlords should be able to reject tenants with pets: poll

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Extensive smoke, heat damage to Castlegar home after fire on Friday

One occupant suffered burns after fleeing house with pet

Cyclist struck in Castlegar

Morning mishap at gas station on Columbia

Kaslo bus fueled by vegetable oil to begin service next month

Mountain Man Mike’s will run routes to Vancouver and eventually Edmonton

Police investigating felling of old cedars at Cottonwood Lake

One of the cedars was 300 to 450 years old

Vancouver media/tech trip inspires Castlegar students

Students enthusiastically toured several company and educational sites

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

The father and two youngesters fell down a steep and treachorous cliff while hiking on Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Most Read