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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Alberta's lurch to the left

Here's my new Canadian Lawyer column about Ed Stelmach's toying with rent control in Alberta.

It’s not the construction industry that dodged the rent-control bullet: it’s any newcomer to Alberta hoping that more apartments will be built. In disastrous rent control experiments from Toronto to New York, apartment-seekers are always the first casualty because no-one wants to become a landlord and those who already own apartments have no reason to do more than bare minimum maintenance. Rent control is usually an early domino in urban decay; when the private sector abandons rental apartments, the government moves in, building housing projects that become magnets for crime.

Posted by Ezra Levant on September 27, 2007 | Permalink


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The first effect will be a rental shortage. From my understanding Stelmach has been leaning more left than right from the start.

Posted by: Alain | 2007-09-27 3:56:37 PM

Rental shortages for sure and the next thing will be latch key fees. When you play with other's money you don't have to be responsible.

Posted by: DML | 2007-09-27 5:11:53 PM

I had a house in Calgary which I lived in for 13 years. It was mortgage free.

I had a sweet deal with the energy company and put 10K into the house to make it perfect for the new buyer to purchase without having to spend money for any repairs or upgrades.

Because of a death in the family and other factors it sat empty from December 2005-June 2007.

People asked why I didn't rent it out.
I told them it was because tenants can wreck the place, refuse to pay rent and it's impossible to get them out.

It would also have be more difficult to sell.

This is the reality of modern life in Canada.

Landlords are not protected.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-09-27 5:54:50 PM

not to mention the fact that you would have had to pay exorbitant capital gains taxes if you sell a rental property.

Posted by: robert | 2007-09-27 8:25:35 PM

...is there a law in Saskatchewan that you can't evict someone over the winter months? Thought I read/heard that somewhere and low-life's are using it to their advantage, basically going rent free for 3-5 months.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-09-27 9:47:09 PM

...Speller, probably the same reason why Calgary hasn't officially allowed basement suites to become legal rentals.

Too much paperwork and so on.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-09-27 9:48:10 PM

Edmonton also places strong restrictions on basement suites and then the lefties complain about the number of homeless and the shortage and high price of rental accommodations. How do you spell socialist? (hypocrite)

Posted by: DML | 2007-09-28 1:46:02 PM

What's really stupid about socialist thinking on this issue is that they are turning away all the taxes that would be paid on the additional revenues that these suites would engender.

Posted by: obc | 2007-09-28 1:51:24 PM

So, why is it no one has created the miniature apartments, like they have in Tokyo? And I mean, REALLY small!


Still, there are a few in Vancouver, I hear, that are 250 sqaure feet in size.

Toying with rent prices is wrong, because as interest rates climb--and they will now as there is lots of money in Alberta, mortgage rates climb even more--staying ahead--which means less money to do the repairs in the first place. I say, the only way to resolve the problem, is to open the market and get rid of some of the restrictions--and come up with more ideas and space innovations.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-09-28 3:02:38 PM

The president of Canadian Natural Resources is circulating a letter detailing how they plan to react to the proposed royalty re-structuring. Encana has already announced a 30% cut in expenditures should the recommendations be adopted. Encana is already releasing rigs as a show of their intentions. Everyone I work with over the age of 50 is in a really bad mood right now.

If this hits the fan don't worry about rent controls. Just hope you have enough change left for bus fare.

Posted by: dph | 2007-09-29 7:29:14 AM

The Republic of Alberta will put an end to this idiocy and nonsense. I sense that Premier Ed is setting the province up for independence - unwittingly.

Posted by: obc | 2007-09-29 7:59:09 AM

Well, weep no more for the "affordable housing" crowd. Eddie is going to help them all out with his royalty review. the resultant collapse of the oil patch will provide plenty of affordable housing for these schmucks-who-whine, after I leave the keys in the door of mine. Kiss your jobs goodbye.

Posted by: jt | 2007-09-29 2:41:44 PM

As steady Eddie tells us all to calm down and relax as he does his homework, I can see the province reversing course and so doubt that the royalty scheme will change. If the gov't provides good government and good public communications they will have little to fear from the peanut gallery.

Posted by: DML | 2007-09-29 9:43:07 PM

Encana is bluffing, just like when all the oil companies whined and cried when the con-servatives re-nigged on their Income Trusts promise. Seriously, if the oil sands companies are complaining about a mild tax increase, then maybe things aren't so rosey up there, meaning that you Calgarians better sell your houses now before the rug gets pulled out.

Posted by: Lefty_99 | 2007-09-29 9:50:55 PM

And you, lefty_99, when the tax receipts to government drop, you'll whine that your teacher salary isn't going up. Money don't grow on trees, sport. What, the oil companies bail, do you think eddie will resurrect AEC? Yeah, let's just nationalize it all, separate from Canaduh and stick-em up for our made in Alberta price. Lefty. Commie. schmuck.

Posted by: jt | 2007-09-30 1:03:45 PM

jt ~

They call themselves the NDP or socialists or progressives - but you've pegged them: communist totalitarians.

Posted by: obc | 2007-09-30 1:11:46 PM

It never ceases to astound that there are still so many myopic thinkers with no knowledge of history such as Lefty_99.

Isn't that the same sort of shortsighted statement that people made when Trudeau brought in the NEP? The companies were not bluffing then just as they are not bluffing now.

As for the income-trust thing, we already have seen a slowdown due to that and other assaults on the oil industry. The rig counts are way down from last year and seismic work is down to 25% of what it was a year ago. This is despite record oil prices.

The oil and gas industry is already reeling in Alberta from the attacks coming at them from all sides. You call the recomendations from the panel a "minor tax increase"????? God help us if people like you managed to get us into a large tax increase.

Keep in mind, when there is no activity there is no tax revenue. Those precious and already overfunded social programs will be the first to be cut when you people have managed to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs. I guess you need to relearn that through experience yet again. Sadly all of us suffer under failed experiments in socialism.

Posted by: Cory Morgan | 2007-09-30 1:17:06 PM

Geez Cory Morgan, you're a bigger whiner than the oil companies.

JT: Alberta will never seperate because they have neither the means nor the balls.

Posted by: Lefty_99 | 2007-09-30 1:51:36 PM

Lefty_99: what's your real name, Eddy Stelmach?

Posted by: jt | 2007-09-30 3:07:52 PM

I think it's Eddie Haskell, jt. :)

Posted by: obc | 2007-09-30 4:52:36 PM

i'd be willing to bet that lefty99 has never even set foot in alberta. if he ever did he'd probably think he'd landed on some alien planet where the people actually expect to work for a living and be productive instead of leeching off other peoples productivity. what a goof.

Posted by: robert | 2007-09-30 5:50:44 PM

Umm, last time I look I was from Calgary
You're kidding me right? Calgarians are the laziest people I've met, and I've been to Mexico. I worked at a bar and the number of times these oil guys would come for lunch, start drinking and playing Golden Tee, and then end up not going back to the office. Or how about those "hardworking" people hanging out at the 8ST CTrain platform. I'm willing to bet you've never been out of Alberta, nevermind Canada or North America.

Posted by: Lefty_99 | 2007-09-30 5:58:26 PM

"I worked at a bar"

Gay bars don't count.

Posted by: obc | 2007-09-30 6:01:18 PM

working in a bar isn't my idea of productivity unless drunk drivers,fist fights,stabbings and spreading venereal diseases is something you consider productive or useful. i meant real work that actually produces wealth for the economy and benefits everyone,even the parasites.

Posted by: robert | 2007-09-30 6:22:28 PM

You'll never see rent control in Alberta.

This whole topic is a distraction away from the whining by Calgary's oil tower millionaires.

Posted by: set you free | 2007-09-30 9:40:36 PM

Tax and spend Stelmach. I want higher returns on my portfolio NOT more tax dollars for Stelmach to waste.


Posted by: epsilon | 2007-09-30 10:09:35 PM

You can be sure that anyone working at a bar is either a high school drop-out or passed by the skin of his teeth. I don't think I would take someone's opinions seriously with that kind of background. A job choice of that nature in Alberta - where there is no shortage of opportunities - tells me all I need to know about this loser.

Posted by: obc | 2007-10-01 7:28:51 AM

People who are 'from' Calgary always talk in terms of city directional quadrants when referring to Streets or Avenunes. NW-NE-SW-SE.

eg. 8th St S.W. C-Train station.
(which happens to be near the Calgary Drop-In Center and Singleman's Hostel where indigent non-Calgarians would 'hang out')
Lefty 99 probably uses a computer terminal at the YWCA if they've even been to Calgary at all.
(which I doubt)

Posted by: Speller | 2007-10-01 10:17:59 AM

Ahh he works at a bar. That explains a great deal.

There are some who simply love the service industry and choose that as a career. Hey, power to them any job is a good job.

There are those in the service industry who are transitional and using it to make extra income while planning for something bigger whether through education or an entrepenurial venture. Good on them too.

There is a large segment in the service industry though who are embittered souls who could not cut it elsewhere. Lefty here likely falls into that category. These people often got degrees in such profitable areas as women's studies or philosophy or other realms of the liberal arts. These people are bitter as they put in years on their education only to find that the only thing they are qualified for is serving others who were wise enough to pursue lucrative careers. They live in myopic worlds and have difficulty seeing outside of their own little bitter bubbles. They feel that the world owes them a high standard of living despite the fact that they have a low level of skills to contribute to society.

This segment of the population will never go away I fear. On the bright side though, they will never cause much damage as they never manage to gain enough resources to make an impact on anything. Their incessant complaining can cause headaches but aside from that they are harmless. They serve as an example of why planning with personal responsibility and goals in life is always a better route to go.

Posted by: Cory Morgan | 2007-10-01 5:11:30 PM

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