“Overly strict”, or “Libertarians in the mist”

The Sun’s Don Cayo weighs in on the local headline du jour “Vancouver ranks third among least affordable cities in the world”. Which is, yeah, tell me something I don’t know.  But something caught my notice. The study’s authors – from the Frontier Centre of Public Policy cite this as the reason for the Lower Mainland’s lack of affordability:

David Seymour, a senior policy analyst for the Frontier Centre, and his collaborator on the study, consulting demographer Wendell Cox of St. Louis, finger “politically inflated land costs.”

“These land prices include the cost increasing influence of land supply restrictions (such as urban growth boundaries), excessive infrastructure fees and other overly strict land use regulations,” they write.

“Overly strict land use regulations”. Hmm…I wonder what they mean. That strikes me as a very, very subjective observation. I mean it’s not the demand brought on by the region’s world famous livability? It’s mild climate? Canada’s political and economic stability? The region’s unique and restrictive geography? No…apparently it’s land use regulations. Which, yes, probably do have an effect. The ALR does sit on some prime real estate. But it’s there for a reason too. It’s not just some 100-mile Diet ideal – food supply and food security are important strategic considerations – and will be even more so in the future.

So, being the curious sort, I wondered just who exactly the Frontier Centre of Public Policy were. On their “About” page they describe themselves as – surprise – “non-partisan and non-ideological” as almost everyone does. A careful parsing of that page will give you clues, with such statements like “Canada’s prairie region live up to its vast but unrealized economic potential” and pondering “the proper role of government”.

And the Environment page is a climate-change denialist extravaganza. IPCC Climate Science Is Fundamentally Wrong: Carbon Footprint is All Wet and Water New Target as Climate Change Hysteria Falters to Time To Hold Climate Doomsayers To Account. Well, that narrows it down a bit, as do things like Five Quick Thoughts in Favour of the Flat Tax.

But what really gives the game away? Here’s how they are listed in Google:

Now Google didn’t write that. A FCPP staffer did when filling out their SEO . Whoopsie.

And maybe all those events featuring Ezra Levant were also a clue…

Now, this isn’t an attempt to poison the well. Just because you’re conservative and/or libertarian doesn’t mean you can’t put out solid research. But it certainly does help explain that values-based statement above.



  1. Norman Farrell

    Overly strict land use regulation, like laws and regulations that prevent developers from clear cutting forests of the Stanley Park or the Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam watersheds, merely to preserve parkland and supply of safe drinking water. Or, laws that prevent the building of high rises in Vancouver’s senseless view corridors or stop conversion of remaining Fraser Valley farmland to urban use.

    We should thank this minor league version of the Fraser Institute for their astute analysis. It is a wonderful way to waste the fortunes of their millionaire backers. One of those, by the way is Peter Jessiman. He’s a citizen deserving of all the respect due a man expert at preserving inherited wealth through offshore tax avoidance. According to his bio at the FCFPP:
    “He is the principal and Chief Executive Officer of the investment firm Registry Capital Inc. of Barbados, where he lived from 2002 to 2007. . . As a member of over twenty Canadian and U.S.-based think tanks, Mr. Jessiman brings a wealth of relevant knowledge to the Frontier Centre.”