Opinion: Piers Baker: New Taxes Are ‘Un-Canadian’

Apr 9, 2022 | Politics, Real Estate

Editor’s Note: Piers Baker is a multi-generational Halifax and Chester resident, and a realtor with John Duckworth’s real estate brokerage. Baker delivered the following address this week to the Municipality of Chester council session.

By Piers Baker


I have a stack of letters in my hands from folks who are totally besides themselves with this new sudden tax measure. I’ve never encountered anything this severe in my time here. It is totally backwards economics. I find it is embarrassing to be a Nova Scotian right now.

In this very fragile world where we need to come together and help each other, Tim Houston is telling fellow Canadians and international residents to get out. In Chester these folks are the economic generator for so many businesses and it will inevitably cripple our village.

The really embarrassing part of this tax equation is how to communicate this new reality with our seasonal folks from away. They fund our charities like the Chester Playhouse, our health centre, the art centre, pay for landscaping services from Oceanview and All Outdoors, fill restaurants like the Kiwi, Fo’c’sle and the Rope Loft, and invest in new construction and repairs to their homes.

They don’t use our education or health care. A vast majority have links with family, and many are returning to where they were born. They make our rural areas richer culturally and more diverse.

Chester-Halifax realtor Piers Baker. The Notebook file photo.

So, if you want to get through this, we need to stand up to Tim Houston and make ourselves heard. What is Danielle Barkhouse doing? We need action immediately to stop this un-Canadian and totally unfair tax.

Speaking on the housing crisis with rising rents, owners of summer cottages in rural Nova Scotia are not the answer for a cash grab. This issue is resulting from a few entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of development incentives and low-cost housing in the city. One fifth of all Halifax properties are owned by a small number of very wealthy entrepreneurs. If you want to tax the folks who have created this mess, double the tax for secondary income homes purchased by Nova Scotians. That’s how they do it in New Brunswick. That would certainly be fairer. Also, we should be putting higher tax on multiplexes and use the tax to build affordable housing.

New governments in this province make their major economic mistakes as soon as they get into power. The NDP cancelled the Yarmouth ferry. The Liberals devastated the film industry and now the Conservatives are killing the goose that has been laying golden eggs in rural nova Scotia for years, i.e. non-resident investment.

Subsequent governments have tried to get the ferry and the film industry back again. Let this government not introduce this tax only to rescind it after realizing the damage it has done to the rural economy and reputation of this province.

In closing, let me ask this, what would residents of Nova Scotia do if they woke up one morning to learn that their property taxes had tripled?

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