MP Report: Hitting the housing crisis head on

Murray Rankin is MP for Victoria

While the Liberals talk a good game, they don’t seem to grasp that Canada’s housing crisis is here and now, not a “maybe next year” problem.

Liberal budgets include the appearance of generous investments, but it’s so much less when spread out across Canada and dribbled out over too many years. They won’t even deliver tomorrow what we really need today.

Canada needs a better plan.

What the Liberal budget offers are opportunities for some to use more of their savings contained in RRSPs to help buy a new home. It won’t help very much in Victoria where housing prices, more than financing costs, are out of reach for people of modest means. And that does nothing to increase the supply of affordable housing in the rental market, where the need is more pressing.

Like too many other Liberal promises, funding for new rental housing faces a long road, and there are few effective incentives to incent the market to deliver affordable units. Since the last election they have only managed to put up 500 units across the entire country. In Vancouver alone, almost twice that number of social housing units opened up in 2018 alone, with help from the province and the city. Almost 3 times that many more market rental units were completed over the same period. That’s how little impact the Liberals have had, and the best they can promise is to extend the slow walk for another 10 years.

Victoria’s needs are not so different from Vancouver’s. New construction – in market rentals and new condo projects – is fast reshaping Victoria’s skyline. For those who need something more affordable, regional and provincial players are already at the table, waiting for the federal government to cough up its share. They can’t wait for a post-election funding promise or a timeline that will see their kids approaching retirement before the Liberals finally deliver.

READ ALSO: Victoria MP Murray Rankin will not seek re-election

We need a better plan.

The NDP aims to build 500,000 units, not 500.

We need to be creative and to be bold. We need more co-op housing; we need new forms of accessible, affordable housing for those with disabilities – and legislation to mandate that standard. We need to tackle the appalling lack of decent housing for First Nations communities. We need to establish a more equitable tax regime that makes investments in affordable housing more cost effective. And we need a commitment to helping make our housing stock, new and old, more energy-efficient so we can reduce operating costs for owners and renters and reduce carbon emissions at the same time.

Here’s what our plan looks like:

• Support social and coop housing working with all levels of government

• Adopting strategies to address homelessness, paying special attention to the needs of indigenous peoples

• Assisting low income households to improve household energy efficiency

• Ensuring accessibility standards for all forms of disability are met in social housing

• Implementing a national strategy to ensure adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians, in partnership with provinces, municipalities, Indigenous communities, nonprofit and civil society organizations, including those that represent groups in need of adequate housing.

I hear constantly from people in our community that we are facing a crisis. It is past time to get serious about Canada’s housing crunch.

Murray Rankin is MP for Victoria.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

Saanich Peninsula Branch of Royal Canadian Legion leaves North Saanich after 90 years

Branch will temporarily operate out of SHOAL Centre for Seniors

City frustrated as truck lodged under bridge one week after Victoria installs new signage

Dozens of trucks and buses have hit the E&N Rail bridge on Hereward Road

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Comox 442 Squadron carries out two sea rescue missions north of Vancouver Island

Submitted by Lt. Alexandra Hejduk Special to Black Press 442 Transport and… Continue reading

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

‘The project is proceeding’: Horgan resolute in support of northern B.C. pipeline

B.C. premier speaks as talks scheduled with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Most Read