NDP, Liberals pitch for urban votes with competing affordable housing plans

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OTTAWA — Jagmeet Singh is proposing three measures he says will help build 500,000 new affordable housing units across Canada over the next 10 years.

The NDP leader says the federal government should stop applying GST to the cost of building new affordable units.

It should also provide a subsidy to renters who spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing.

And Singh says it should double the first-time home buyers’ tax credit to $1,500 from $750.

For now, details of the three measures are scant. Singh says they’re part of a broader NDP housing plan which will be released later.

Singh is running in a Feb. 25 byelection in the British Columbia riding of Burnaby South, where he said the top issue is affordable housing.

But his housing announcement is aimed more broadly at trying to win back progressive voters from the governing Liberals in urban centres across the country.

“When it comes to dealing with this housing crisis, we need to use every tool in our toolbox to solve this problem and ensure people have access to a place to call home,” Singh told a news conference in Burnaby.

“We need to get serious about this crisis,” he said, accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of delaying the roll out of the bulk of promised housing funding until after the Oct. 21 federal election.

“Mr. Trudeau is not serious about this crisis. He likes to talk about it but his actions don’t back this up.”

Toronto Liberal MP Adam Vaughan, the government’s point man on housing, said the Liberal government has spent close to $5.7 billion on housing.

“I don’t think there’s a government in the history of this country that’s been invested in housing the way we have,” Vaughan said outside a Liberal caucus retreat in the nation’s capital.

“The NDP can talk about housing,” he said. “We’re busy building it.”

He added that the experts say investments in housing and its subsequent maintenance and repair should be done gradually over time, not all up front as the NDP proposes.

“Their front-end loading plan is a recipe to bankrupt housing providers right across the country,” he said of the NDP’s plan.

Vaughan said the government considered lifting the GST on building costs but Finance officials worried there’d be no way to ensure an affordable housing project didn’t evolve into a more upscale project, with the government effectively subsidizing it.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Affordable for who! Not those that work thats for sure!$850 for a half decent one bedroom apartment is simply ridiculous, get the rents lowered and you will have affordable housing.

    Mr Cowen you are so right on that assessment. They should be held accountable for their platform policies or charged!! The government is suppose to work for us, not just do things without consulting us the tax payer, like illegal borders for instance, no one i know was ever asked if we wanted mass migration. But yet our Crime Minister says ” this is what the people want” who, what people, nobody i know, or who they know etc

  2. There’s no such thing as an ‘Affordable’ condominium.. the entire affordable housing ‘crisis’ has been and continues to be exploited by all three levels of government & is only refereed to as a crisis at or during the run up to an election.

    Our illusion of democracy stems from the idea that we have three official parties.. one party is no different then the next & amounts to the idea of a carnival shell game. One shell holds promises of better healthcare, affordable housing & better jobs, the next shell holds blame for all the failed promises from the last cabinet & the third shell holds hope, change & diversity.

    People line up at the polls & toss their vote trying to guess which ‘shell’ & just like at the carnival.. there’s absolutely nothing under any of them. It’s all an illusion tricking us into tossing our tax dollars into what has now become no better then a ‘popularity’ contest.

    Given all the scandals, fraud & outright treasonous behaviors of our elected representatives.. I’ll vote for the first person who suggests criminal charges or at best a very public inquiry as to which politician(s) failed a urine test.

    It’s time to vote them all out of office.. a vote for Direct Democracy is a vote for ‘None of the Above’.

    Strange daze indeed..

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