As the 44th Federal Election approaches, affordable housing continues to be a major talking point amongst candidates.
Here’s how each candidate running for the Parry Sound-Muskoka seat in parliament answered the following question;
If elected, what is your plan to work with the governments and residents in the riding to create a solution for affordable housing?
The Conservative Party of Canada’s candidate Scott Atchinson, who is the incumbent MP, said “Affordable housing is a huge issue in Parry Sound-Muskoka. I have been working with local municipalities and community officials to access a number of existing government programs. Going forward the Conservative Party has a four-point plan for Housing: a) Fix the mortgage stress test to ensure first-time homebuyers aren’t unnecessarily prevented from accessing mortgages, and work to remove the stress test from mortgage renewals; b) Increase amortization periods on insured mortgages to 30 years for first-time homebuyers to lower monthly payments; c) Launch an inquiry into money laundering in the real estate sector; and, d) Make surplus federal real estate available for development to increase the supply of housing.”
“The housing market is in a dire situation in Parry Sound – Muskoka. It is so bad that it affects other areas such as employment. Employees can’t commit to a job because they can’t afford a place where to live. Small and medium businesses experience workers shortage as a consequence of the housing crisis. Some are forced to close their business or cut down their operations. This is a pressing issue that I will tackle right away if I get elected.
I will work with the municipal and provincial leaders and invest in building new and tiny affordable homes. I will also participate in taking action against speculators and unlock home ownership for home first buyers.”
The New Democratic Party’s candidate Heather Hay said she would build on her party’s federal platform promises to build 500,000 affordable homes and waive GST on building affordable housing.
“Part of the problem is that many of the programs involve municipalities matching the funds available through various programs, and it furthers the urban-rural divide,” says Hay. “I would advocate for interest-free loans for rural communities so they can invest in affordable housing.”
Hay says she also stands by the federal NDP’s promises to create fast-start funds for local housing applications, increase home-buyers tax credits, add a 20 per cent tax to property purchases by foreign buyers, and have property bidders clearly and transparently listed.
The Green Party of Canada’s Mark Mantha says:
“The Conservative candidate suggests building 1 million homes. The NDP candidate suggests building 500,000. I commend and support that commitment. However, here is the situation.
The Districts of Parry Sound and Muskoka have worked very hard in maximizing the resources for housing. But it’s not enough. There are waiting lists and we are losing rental units three times faster than every unit made available. Our districts need help. Even before the pandemic, 1.6 million Canadians lived in unsuitable, inadequate, or unaffordable housing and an estimated 2.4 million households experienced core housing needs in 2020.
Redefine affordable housing using a better, updated formula, that accounts for regional variations across the country and for Parry Sound and Muskoka.
Re-focus the core mandate of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) on supporting the development of affordable, non-market and cooperative housing. Increasing the supply of market value housing does not work. The vulnerable are bidding on rent. It’s tragic. Yes, we can put the brakes on the climate crisis and finally have safe housing for everyone. If you resolve housing, you improve mental health with better food security and reduce pressures on healthcare. Services and support related to not addressing this is $7.5 billion. Taking care of people is cost-effective. Since people are more than a number or a statistic, it’s ethical, humanitarian and kind.”
The People’s Party of Canada’s candidate James Tole said there is a discrepancy between the availability of houses up for sale and the demand for them, so there is a shortage of housing and a big demand for them and that is driving up prices.
Note in terms of the PPC’s policy on housing and the housing crisis, there isn’t a specific policy on that. However under the economy, we have a policy on that and that is to eliminate corporate subsidies, lower business taxes, lower taxes all around for individuals as well, more money in the pockets of individuals, more money in the pockets of businesses will spur development. A high tax environment is bad for the economy.
So in terms of housing, that’s what we need to have. A completely different business environment, less tax, and less unnecessary red tape and legislation. So that’s the way forward. The PPC is not a party that throws taxpayers’ money at problems. We are all about freedom, fairness, personal responsibility, and respect. So more money in the pockets of individuals and businesses will spur development and will spur the building of new housing for people, but we are not for building subsidized housing at the taxpayer’s expense.
The National Citizens Alliance’s candidate James Fawcett said “In Parry Sound-Muskoka, and every municipality across the country, there has been a shortage of affordable housing across our lower to middle-class Canadians. When I had decided to get involved in the political scene, one of many things was affordable housing. I have a private members bill in hand started that would work with all parties in the federal level and provincial, working together as we should to help all Canadians.”
Independent candidate Daniel Predie Jr says:
“We first need to look at how many homes within our communities, which could actually house families, etc., are being utilized for businesses while actual buildings that could house businesses sit empty. Since 2009 billions of Canadian tax dollars have been downloaded from the federal level into provincial “trusts” for specialized programs like housing and transportation. Once downloaded the federal level has absolutely no control as to how this money was/is spent. We need to open the books and have a look at where this already downloaded money was actually spent. I believe we will find, absolute better control on downloading and spending, etc., it to be a good idea to actually look at the possibility of abolishing the provinces, Ontario as a pilot, while building upon trust, transparent and accountable, etc., relationships between the federal and local levels of governance [I truly hate to say governance here while knowing that we got for now privately incorporated political party businesses at the federal level and unverifiable electronically selected humans at the local levels]. The next thing is to hold to account, including ending and reversing, this legal exploitation of our immigration which is greatly impacting upon our real estate and rental markets.”
*With files from Mathew Reisler and Martin Halek