A editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
I REMEMBER RENTING when I was a student. And when I got my first full-time job. And my second, and my third.
To borrow a phrase from B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, what a “wacky” time it was. Not. Driving a beater of a car, all the Kraft dinner I could eat, and tiny one-bedroom places.
It wasn’t quite the “fun” Wilkinson thinks it was.
He’s apologized for his comments that renting is just “a rite of passage.” He said it in the Legislature as he bemoaned the plight of landlords and the bureaucracy they face.
And it’s certainly true that there are deadbeat renters out there, who don’t pay their rent on time and who leave the place an absolute shambles when they fade into the night.
But for many, renting is part of life because they’ll never be able to afford to own, and they’re good people.
Basic rental accommodation in Kamloops right now is around a thousand dollars a month — $12,000 to $15,000 a year. Many can afford to rent only if they team up with someone else to share the cost, sometimes someone they haven’t even known before they partner up.
So, yes, it’s no wonder Wilkinson’s remarks weren’t exactly greeted with applause. Though he says he himself rented for several years when he was young, they sounded as though he just doesn’t get it.
Politicians these days love to talk about the middle class, and about how they’re fighting on behalf of those who struggle.
A lot of those same people they claim to be working for are renters who aren’t having any fun at all, and certainly aren’t having the madcap time of their lives Wilkinson seemed to be talking about from his privileged corner.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.