January’s Housing Starts Decline

From the CMHC website today, January Housing Starts Decline.  While the seasonally adjusted urban rate declined 15.6%, it is BC at 29.1% and The Prairies at 30.3% that are driving the national stats down:

The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts declined to 153,500 units in January from 172,200 units in December of 2008, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“To a certain extent, the decline in housing starts coincides with recent developments in the existing home market. Reduced sales and increased listings in the existing home market have led to reduced spillover demand in the new home market,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased 15.6 per cent to 126,700 units in January. Urban multiple starts decreased 12.2 per cent to 76,700 units, while urban single starts fell 20.2 per cent to 50,000 units in January.

January’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts moderated in all of Canada’s five regions. Urban starts declined 8.6 per cent in Atlantic Canada, 1.4 per cent in Quebec, 14.6 per cent in Ontario, 30.3 per cent in the Prairies, and 29.1 per cent in British Columbia.


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jesse: Everyone should consider the best needs and outcomes of the child and everyone rich or poor has the option to move thier children out of a bad school and move into the cachement of a better one. The FSA provides proof that the school is either teaching foundation skills or it isn't. Bright children are being crippled ( as I found out personally) by schools and school districts that are not teaching basic academic skills. When I got my kid out of a bad school and into a proven good one he went scholarship all the way and hasn't stopped since. I didn't move to a rich are, I'm not rich, I saw that a particular school had a better attitude and it showed up in the better FSA results. Taking that further, why was our second high school… Read more »

Union Jack

With my job there is NO OVERTIME. When my friend showed me his paystub it was almost the same as mine. Only difference is, he gets his every week. In other words TWICE MINE. I'm tired of explaining it. Either believe me or don't. Fact is, the turn over rate for tradesmen where I work was very high during the boom because they knew they could make a lot more money elsewhere. Now of course, I have people calling to see if there is any openings.


"My friends who do the same job as I do make about twice what I make."

I don't believe that. Name the trade and branch of government and hourly rate.

Union Jack

Anon#59, Sorry it took so long to get back to you… My friends who do the same job as I do make about twice what I make. There is the chance that they could be laid off soon but they've been making that money for years now. If they'd put it away instead of buying huge flat screens and big expensive pickups they might be able to ride out the slow times. And when times are good they ask me what I'm doing wasting my time where I am. I tell them "the pension". Yes, I have a pension. Don't hate me. But I sacrificed the big bucks for security. And please don't call it a diamond studded pension. It's not. Find out what pensioners are "raking in" before you comment. And besides, they earned it by showing up every… Read more »


"My suggested bottom line, find a house or an accomadation in the best school district witht he highest test scores, thats where you’ve got the best chance of finding success for your children. Letting yourself get caught up in that social engineering nonsense and if your child fails you only have yourself to blame."

Agree for sure. The micro reality is the system will slap you around unless you figure it out and look out for #1. I totally get that. The consequences of this is the question. I believe there needs to be a mechanism to enable class mobility and how the school system is set up is an integral part of this. "Social engineering" still exists by doing nothing and letting schools self-select; it's a conscious choice of the government to let that happen in the first place.


"I thought that a meritocracy allows for the recognition of the best performers. No?"

You need to abstract it to the next level. Stratification is a sort of self-fulfilling meritocracy — those with means percolate to the best schools and perform at a high level, those without means perform below. This is what the BCTF argues is wrong with the FSA system. The issue is do we cripple a bright child without the economic means or do we give him/her a fighting chance? If you think there is any hint of genius being born, not taught, there must be a method of allowing these children the means to succeed regardless of lot in life: a meritocracy. FSA, so the argument goes, acts counter to this and is not in the best interests of maximising the province's long term potential.

Patiently Waiting

Yell Town?


Browntown/SATV/Nutslapper? Is that you?

"beautiful vew, 2 years new jim parking locker." 😛

Patiently Waiting

Wow, a new purpose-built market rental building in Coquitlam:


IIRC that may have been a City requirement for approval of the larger Windsor Gate development.


C'mon patriotz I really enjoy reading your posts, intelligent, often some of the best, but I think you are really off base on this. The textbooks I had ( I will refer to MATH specifically )were works of art insofar as breaking down a topic, creating clarity and understanding for the student. If one didn't understand a question…one could refer back to the background material. The text books now are pure junk…they look like coloured comic books and leave serious gaps of logic and continuity. Teachers send home "One of " photocopied sheets that have no background to refer to. ie what IS the question asking ? One year a given school had a " fine arts" focus. Math homework consisted of bizarre geometric designs I had never seen before… and I have seen other examples of this same BS… Read more »



As a victim of a hundred thousand PAC meetings and various info sessions I can affirm that it was always the same parents showing up.



Then how do you explain how an entire school district only gets 2 out of 100 kids into University? It’s not the kids , it’s the schools, for sure.

Sorry, I don't buy that. I grew up in a small town where everyone went to the same schools. It's the kids. Some kids are just smarter and better motivated than others. That's all there is too it.


Doesn't surprise me at all. So why aren't they?

They can be only one answer – the parents don't care. There can be only one explanation for the difference in schools between Richmond and Surrey – the parents in Richmond care enough to elect a school board that takes education seriously, and the parents in Surrey don't.

In a democracy ultimate responsibility rests with the voters.



Then how do you explain how an entire school district only gets 2 out of 100 kids into University? It's not the kids , it's the schools, for sure. They are teaching a very differant education to the kids in Surrey. And not to rag on Surrey alone, there are many schools in affluent areas which do very poorly. The entire enviornment is tainted by a lack of excellence in some schools and that causes kids to seek the lowest common denominator to fit in.



It was my experiance that certain schools are deliberatly not teaching kids to add and subtract.



They didn’t sacrifice one to the exclusion of the other. The sports teams were Provincial Champs, The artists also recognized etc etc. Public schools, not so much. Why? It’s not funding, it’s willpower/

Really it's a group of students who would have done well no matter what school they went to.

The reason why students at the "top" schools do better is that the "top" schools get the best students. It's that simple.

If you bused the students from the FI's "top-rated" school across town to the bottom-rated school, and vice versa, the students would not achieve any differently.

So maybe you can get an idea why public school teachers don't like those ratings? Why should teachers be judged on the quality of the students in the local area of their school?


patriotz: You're quite right on the nature nuture argument. It does take parenting, for sure. When two cars and a second set of golf clubs is more important than the kids focus thats where the cracks appear in the who what where of individual achievement department. Yes they are all BCTF, thats what makes it so bizarre. I found the Surrey schools were not teaching scholastics and left and when I went to the Richmond school ( I had pinpointed this school using the Fraser Institute numbers and bought a house in the cachement) they understood right away without testing or asking. They set about right away and began re-educating my child in a completly differant way with emphasis on scholastics. Private tutor, the whole nine yards. It really was an eye opener. I can only suggest that it was… Read more »



Sorry but the system does not have clear and definitive parametes for the parents to assess how Johnny and Suzy are doing. parents are told all is well and all sorts of subjective rhetoric.

Who give a rat's ass what parameters the system has? It's the duty of every parent to evaluate their child's own educational progress. The reason schools aren't frank with parents is because the parents don't want them to be frank.

Want to know if your kid can add? Why not sit them down and ask them to do some addition? Just how hard is that?

Children from families where education is valued do well at school.


jesse: Hi Jesse, isn't what you describe the very opposite of a meritocracy? "Whether you agree or not, we need a meritocracy and that involves helping and advocating for underperforming districts." I thought that a meritocracy allows for the recognition of the best performers. No? It was my experiance that some schools have an ability to engender excellence and some don't. These are the numbers that show up on the FSA. These are the numbers the BCTF hates to have made public. It's all in the Fraser Institutes annual reports. The focus on excellence at the private school I was involved in was the raison d'etre of the school and they persued it vigourously. Why not such attention on quality in the public system? When you have an entire district producing only 1.7% of graduates able to enter University and… Read more »



Sorry but the system does not have clear and definitive parametes for the parents to assess how Johnny and Suzy are doing. parents are told all is well and all sorts of subjective rhetoric.

That's why the BCTF dislkes the FSA.



Starving the system ?

BCTF ? Theres' your rhetoric.

If they want to play politics run for office or STFU !

About 92% of the school district budgets goes to salaries.

School Districts are not starved for funds. That's the rhetoric . It's how they determine priorities that's the problem.


"I’m not blaming teachers,per se , its the system and environment that has evolved in which they pursue their profession and cannot do their jobs properly."

"I’ve been there , done that … have you ?"

[slaps head, moves on, is now thinking about butterflies]



Ok, obviously we have struck a chord…

I've been there , done that … have you ?

I'm not blaming teachers,per se , its the system and environment that has evolved in which they pursue their profession and cannot do their jobs properly.

IMHO, many children get passed along like a bucket brigade from K – 7.

Seen too many examples of " write-offs " that left the public system then prospered outside it.

Care to share some insight and experience ?


no-lympics: "Unfortunately here in BC…militant unions would kibbosh that progressive move at REAL Social Justice and TRUE Self Esteem"

Save the rhetoric. An attitude like that will not accomplish anything. The unions are here so might as well find some common ground and work from there. Starving the school system then turning around claiming it's not adequate and blaming the unions for getting in the way of the public's wishes is an old yarn and still I have yet to see it a successful gambit.


I thought the cheap real estate was of some benefit so I bought a house close to a school in Cloverdale…

I promptly moved to the Richmond school district, it was like night and day.

But the teachers in both Richmond and Cloverdale are all BCTF, aren't they?

Isn't it obvious what really matters about public education? What really matters is the attitude and motivation toward education in the pupil's homes. If kids come from homes where the parents don't really care about education, the game is lost from the word go.

That's the real problem – not the BCTF, not the Ministry of Education, not the school boards, but a popular culture that does not value intellectual achievement and is hostile to the fact that some kids just happen to be smarter than others.


"shouldn’t that be one to focus the resources on?"

Yup. Or blame the teachers. We've talked a lot here about blaming teachers. Not so much about resources. And you wonder why teachers would be less than thrilled.

Your model for reform is a Michelle Pfeiffer movie?



This is what I said earlier:

"If there is curriculum , why does the BCTF fear for FSA ? If they are following the curriculum, should each district have approx. the same bell curve? If not, then perhaps this requires closer scrutiny."

Of course the results would show a difference between say Point Grey versus East Side. Are we afraid to identify that?

One you identify a school that has problems, shouldn't that be one to focus the resources on?

Hollywood has made several movies on how the shittiest "real life" inner city ghettos school have had a few determined Principals and Staff turn them into top achieving schools.

Unfortunately here in BC…militant unions would kibbosh that progressive move at REAL Social Justice and TRUE Self Esteem