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Curious Case of Companies that Consciously Court Chinese Cheaters

July 16th, 2018 · 17 Comments

Whites need not apply: nor, I assume, should blacks, browns, First Nations or even Asians who speak perfect English.

BUT if you speak Mandarin or Cantonese … or English with a Chinese or other Asian accent  … there are apparently a growing number of illicit Vancouver-area companies and businesses that will cater to YOU and want YOUR business … as long as YOU, along with THEM, are willing to help break the law, ignore regulations, cheat the government, the taxman, and your neighbours too … to save money.

I’m referring to those illegal Uber-type ride services that have now been operating in the Lower Mainland for a year or more …  even though unlicensed ride services are currently banned in BC.   Apparently the operators trust only Chinese and other Asian  customers to use but keep their cheating operations secret, in return for cheaper-than-taxi rides.

And of course, it’s a cash business … no taxes paid, no licences paid, and likely no chauffeur or commercial liability insurance either.

A story in the Richmond News said it can take $8,000 to $10,000 to legally licence and equip a legitimate taxi …on top of the vehicle cost.

Amazingly, it’s not that difficult for authorities to find the illegal businesses … and yet, they have not shut them all down.

In fact, according to Global News last week … the number of illegal ride companies/drivers has actually GROWN …. and they even showed a Vancouver/Richmond area map LOADED with available cars. However, once more, when the booked driver phoned to confirm, and the caller had no accent, the driver disconnected.

The companies are right out there on the Internet, but once you book a ride, the driver phones to confirm … and if you do not sound ethnic Chinese or Asian, they just hang up … no ride for you!

The media did expose and identify these services way back in January … and a number of drivers have been fined, as much as $1,150, so you would think that would deter drivers and put the ride services out of business.

Global reporter Nadia Stewart said officials have also sent out about 20 “cease and desist” letters to the companies. Big deal! The business model continues to  thrive … expanding from Richmond and Vancouver to Burnaby, Coquitlam and Surrey as well.

These cheaters …. companies and customers … are thumbing their noses at the rest of us.

When I saw that story, and others also highlighting the growth of ignore-the-rules mind sets, I couldn’t help but also think about the recent stories of alleged heavy cheating and money laundering at BC casinos and ALSO about the number of stories regarding multi-million dollar homes in Richmond occupied by people reporting very low level incomes!

You can read about that here:https://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/douglas-todd-vancouvers-ethnic-chinese-irked-by-inequality-tax-avoidance.

As that article pointed out, the vast majority of Chinese residents and citizens here are just as concerned as the rest of the population about any cheating that is taking place.

When ANY multi-millionaires are hiding their incomes illegally, laundering money illegally and even operating secret tax and licence-avoiding “discount” services, the government has a DUTY to go after them aggressively, without fear of alienating ethnic sensitivities … or votes!

It’s all a total disrespect for the rule of law and a rip off of a country that welcomed many of those here. Shame!

Clearly, something has been going terribly wrong … and because our officials and politicians are either unable to keep up with it all … or are reluctant to do so  …. the problem is clearly growing.

And the divisive societal implications will hurt us all unless authorities step up their ACTIONS to go after the cheaters.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 17 CommentsTags: British Columbia · International · Media · National

NDP/Greens May Pay People NOT to Work.

July 9th, 2018 · 43 Comments

Way back, in May 1971 when I moved to BC as a young fairly-new struggling reporter, I had a  young neighbour who seemed like an ordinary “Joe”, but was indeed very fortunate: no ordinary Joe!

While I was up at 6 a.m. five days a week … sometimes six , off to work,  just like most of you, getting home sometimes at 6 p.m. or later,  Joe” slept in at his leisure and then spent his day all summer at the beach or lounging with friends.

He had a GREAT tan by September and was certainly well-rested; I was a wreck, after pushing myself as a new inexperienced reporter at The Vancouver Sun, working the phones in my “spare” time to come up with story ideas etc. … many unpaid hours … nervously struggling to pass The Sun’s six-month “probation” period.

I did … but have to admit,  “Joe” seemed much less stressed and even more financially flushed than I was.

Then the rainy season came … and I was surprised: my neighbour found a job!

And he quite proudly explained to me his modus operandi:  he worked enough hours each Fall and Winter  and early Spring to qualify for Unemployment Insurance again  … and then he made sure he got laid off and enjoyed the Summer  on “UI” … which paid much better than welfare.

Sleeping in, sunning himself, enjoying lunch and I surmise more than a few beers with friends. While I … and you … worked and contributed to support him.

The only regular “work” he did over the Summer was to fill out and mail in his UI cards:  something along the lines of “Yes”, “Yes”, “No”, “Yes”.    If he did ANY  other work at all during the Summer … maybe for a few days …  it was for cash, under the table, to protect his Guaranteed Income scheme … I mean “UI” standing.

And THAT is what a Guaranteed Minimum Income could do … year round!  Pay people NOT to work … or if they want to maintain their eligibility, work only a bit.

Because it would be higher that Welfare … it would actually REWARD people without higher education, marketable skills … or drive … NOT to work ….  not just for the Summer, but YEAR ROUND!!

The BC NDP government has appointed a three-member panel of university types  to study a possible pilot project under which some people … possibly one entire town … would be GUARANTEED a basic income, without having to do anything … or, heaven forbid, even look for work.

It’s part of the payoff the NDP agreed to in return for support from the Greens last summer that allowed them to take power.

(By the way, this is a perfect example of the “blackmail”  by any number of smaller parties I warned about,  in another blog piece just weeks ago, if BC ever adopts the proportional representation system.)

And with only academics … one economist and two public policy types … on the study committee … not a single business or union rep or even a psychologist, sociologist or psychiatrist on the panel … I’m not too impressed.

But I’d bet “Joe” would be rubbing his hands with glee.

With BC’s minimum wage of  $12.65, and many jobs offering less than 32 hours a week (so the employer can avoid paying full benefits); and then you had to pay taxes, transit fares, travel for an hour or more … each way,  not to mention face higher clothing and cleaning bills yo go to work,  also prepare and pack a daily lunch and then put up with a crappy job or boss all day … wouldn’t YOU opt for a Guaranteed Minimum Income … if it came anywhere close to what you NETTED each week????

And let’s keep it real: if a Guaranteed Minimum Income is to truly be an improvement over Welfare and allow people to live at a decent standard, it will indeed have to pay MORE than welfare and approach what people who DO work for Minimum Wage are left with NET after they pay all the costs I’ve outlined before.

The basic Welfare system is not overly generous,  so most people who CAN work do try to seek employment; under a decent Guaranteed Income scheme, fewer would feel the pressure to do so.

To the contrary, more would instead be encouraged to sleep in, relax and become full-time “Joes”.

While the rest of us get up early, pack a lunch,  pay higher transit fees, then work all day and probably pay even higher taxes to support them all year round.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 43 CommentsTags: British Columbia · National