- the source for market opinions


March 29, 2016 | The Wall

A best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends, real estate, the financial crisis, personal finance strategies, taxation and politics. Nationally-known speaker and lecturer on macroeconomics, the housing market and investment techniques. He is a licensed Investment Advisor with a fee-based, no-commission Toronto-based practice serving clients across Canada.


“Don’t you dare,” she said in a voice, “start your day that way.”

It was the usual. Pre-dawn. Alarm playing Lucinda Williams. Stretch, reach for the iPad and moderate a few comments before waking the dog up. But today there was an issue. In a rare event, Dorothy had actually been reading this blog then, recklessly, she strayed into the nether regions of the comments section.

“I can’t believe you read half that stuff,” she added, “let alone publish it. The least you can do is talk to me in the morning before you start at it again.”

As usual, she was correct. Surveying the digital detritus that floats in overnight, usually from the West Coast, is no way for a man to start a day. Even the wizened owner of a famously pathetic blog with a history of seeking public abuse. Spousal control is definitely in order.

Lately, if you’ve noticed, this site’s been the dumping grounds of a mess of people who blame others for their own inability to buy a house. They’re angry. That’s become hate. And it’s a short trip then to prejudice, bigotry and racism – when hate’s focus grows wider and impersonal. The targets are immigrants, especially from China. Particularly rich ones. But it extends to Syrians and refugees as well. And now to Asian folks who may have lived in Canada for generations.

So the attackers generalize in a way that becomes bizarre. All wealthy immigrants must be crooks, money-launderers or criminals, for example. They don’t pay taxes, or try to integrate and destroy neighbourhoods. They employ slaves back in China, and are importing communism. In the last few days I have allowed comments calling them vermin, insects and scum – giving you a brief glimpse of what I see when I open my eyes to each morning.

At the heart of this resentment, emotion and hostility is real estate. How sad is that? No higher principles involved. No ideals or values to fight for. Nothing noble or moral. Just stuff. Not only does everyone in this country think they have a right to own a house, and in the best of hoods, but they seriously resent the idea all immigrants don’t come here struggling. It upsets the social order.

Well, I get that things have changed. Most countries no longer have walls around them, which certainly helped our nation achieve a higher standard of living than it would otherwise. But globalization has crushed some the norms of the past. Old jobs migrate. Money flits around. People move. Yesterday I gave you examples of Canadians changing the face of Arizona real estate. What came back was a torrent of fearful disgust at Chinese house-buyers in Vancouver. In this country we suck and blow with finesse.

Well, we’ve also hit a wall. I’ve had it.

John, in Ottawa, sent me this: “As a middle aged white guy, first generation Canadian, I cannot believe some of the racial comments posted. I’m sure that if the ethnic backgrounds of the “complainers” was researched, 99.9% of them would have had “immigrants” somewhere not too far up the family tree.

“I have worked with many ‘people born elsewhere’, and each and every one was hard working, and really proud to be Canadian. Each and every one of them thought of themselves as Canadian first, as my parents did. Please keep your blog going, and please, somehow, keep your moderator’s hat on.”

Shortly before his note arrived, I texted my wife about shuttering this site. A comment had just arrived from Vancouver warning that I am “a dangerous traitor and need to be strung up” for deleting racist, anti-Chinese comments or saying immigration is not to blame for the fact everyone can’t live on the Westside. ‘Had enuf,’ I said. ‘Let’s elope.’

It’s tempting. In the past eight years I’ve written 2,283 articles and moderated 412,039 comments. I’ve sold no ads, taken no subscriptions or donations. Made no money, on purpose. The goal was always to try and assist others in their own lives. Most people respond by being respectful, thoughtful, useful. A growing number are, well, assholes.

This cannot continue. And won’t. There are enough blogs and news sites around whose owners don’t seem to care how high the sewage seeps. In a world where it’s all about clicks and traffic, they’ll post anything. But not here. We’re done.

Expect more deletes. Abusers will have their IPs blocked from accessing the site. And, as a final solution, I will email your mom.

If you live to hate people, start your own damn blog. If you want me to choose between this site and my wife, just keep it up.

STAY INFORMED! Receive our Weekly Recap of thought provoking articles, podcasts, and radio delivered to your inbox for FREE! Sign up here for the Weekly Recap.

March 29th, 2016

Posted In: The Greater Fool

One Comment

  • Avatar bh2 says:

    Don’t do anything rash, Garth. If you aren’t pissing off some of the people some of the time, it’s unlikely you’re reaching most of the people most of the time. As long as the ones getting pissed are those most deserving, what’s not to like?

Post a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All Comments are moderated before appearing on the site


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.