Local policies gain traction at federal Liberal convention

Saanich Gulf Island puts forward policies for Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance and affordable housing

Paul McKivett is the president of the Saanich-Gulf Island riding association.

The Saanich-Gulf Island riding association is earning notice in Ottawa as it had two policies selected at the recent federal Liberal policy convention in Winnipeg.

The Saanich-Gulf Island riding had their new Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance accepted, and is also behind the accepted Homelessness and Affordable Housing policy with the Victoria, Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke and Vancouver-Quadra riding associations.

To boot, both policies are among the 20 priority selections made in the plenary session.

It’s a big win for the Saanich-Gulf Island riding, which is without a seat in Ottawa, said riding president Paul McKivett.

“You’ve got a limited amount of time and 338 riding associations there, and we have two plenary, high-priority motions in from our region, and that’s without a sitting MP,” said the retired Saanich employee and longtime resident. “You really have to work extra hard at getting the attention from the national party when there’s 185 ridings with sitting members.”

McKivett has been with the Saanich-Gulf Island riding association since he moved to Saanich in 1969 out of high school. He spent 30 years in human resources with the District of Saanich, spent another six years on the Saanich Police board after that, and is a former president of the Gordon Head Residents Association.

“We probably haven’t had a policy adopted since more than 10 years ago when David Anderson was an MP, it gave us added clout,” he said.

In April, Victoria hosted a B.C.-wide policy convention for the federal Liberal Party. It was at that convention that five policies were selected from B.C. ridings and submitted to Saturday’s federal Liberal convention in Winnipeg, including Saanich’s new Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance model and Victoria’s Homelessness and Affordable Housing policy.

The previous government cancelled the ACCA, and the new policy aims to implement an ACCA that promotes investment in value-added processing and manufacturing, McKivett said. Essentially, it permits earlier tax breaks on equipment and other physical assets.

“We see this policy as having transformative economic potential,” McKivett said. “Canada has an abundance of natural resources… at the end of the day, this measure encourages petroleum, mining, logging and other resource-base industries, to go the extra step to manufacture products rather than exporting the raw resource.”

Following their April selection, the two policies were debated in workshops, which is where riding associations worked to amalgamate one homelessness and affordable housing policy, which is a direct response to the issues faced in the Lower Island right now.

“The housing policy will call on the federal government to increase the supply of affordable housing, including rental, by providing financial support, and to close tax loopholes for housing, as well as improve energy efficiency in newly built housing,” McKivett said. “We urge the government to be accountable with the number of homeless housed and those not yet settled into housing.”

Because the policies are selected in the plenary, the Liberal Party will be obligated to speak directly to the riding association if it doesn’t implement them in the next couple of years.

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

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