The Mainlander presents: The Foreign Investment Myth


Public Event
with Jackie Wong, Henry Yu and Pablo Mendez

The Foreign Investment Myth:
Understanding the Housing Crisis & Confronting Racism in Vancouver

7PM, Monday, June 10th, 2013
SFU Harbour Centre (Room TBA)
Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territory

There has been a growing consensus that the lack of affordability in our city is caused by foreign investment from Asia. Since the 1980s, this narrative has relied on Vancouver’s historic penchant for racial scapegoating while downplaying the actual causes of the current housing crisis. In lieu of basic questions about land-use and housing policy, affordability has been reframed around vague racist imperatives. As a result, the reality of the housing crisis has been obscured.

By relying on specific stereotypes, racism in Vancouver erases the diverse experiences and histories of migrant communities of the city. The task at hand is to give voice to these experiences while highlighting the basic tenets of Vancouver’s current situation: regressive taxation and neoliberal tax breaks, long-standing land monopolies, housing de-regulation, entrenched colonial legal structures, and the systemic elimination of non-market housing since the 1990s.


HENRY YU | Henry is a professor of History at the University of British Columbia. His work explores issues of transnational migration, racism, and the history of relations between migrant and First Nations communities. Henry will be speaking on both the past and present of racism in Vancouver.

JACKIE WONG | Jackie is a writer based in Vancouver. She is working this year to report on affordable housing issues for the Tyee Solutions Society, a non-profit media hub aimed at producing public-interest, solutions-oriented journalism. Her recent four-part series on Chinatown residents was supported by the Tyee Solutions Society and published in The Tyee and Megaphone magazine. Parts of the series are also slated for upcoming publication in the Argus Magazine in Melbourne, Australia, and translated in Sing Tao Daily, a Chinese-language newspaper in Vancouver. She will talk about the experience of Chinese-speaking residents in Chinatown, touching on dominant media representations of migrant communities in Vancouver.

PABLO MENDEZ | Pablo is a researcher at the Department of Geography, University of British Columbia. His short talk will be entitled “Who rents in Vancouver?” – a demographic and socio-economic profile of renters in Vancouver.