Today's discussion:

Liberals are making their move on housing. Conservatives need to go bigger

Conservatives need to realize that the landscape has changed. For a long time they’ve had the upper hand on the housing file, which is arguably responsible for their meteoric rise in the polls. But now, it seems, the Liberals have woken up.

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Sean Speer

First of all, it is a positive development, as Steve says, that the different political parties are now competing with proposals to boost housing supply. (It would be nice to hear more about demand including adjustments to the Trudeau government’s empirically unrooted immigration targets but that’s for another day.)

As for Steve’s argument, I’m inclined to agree and disagree with him.

I agree that the CPC shouldn’t complicate the HST/GST reduction by placing conditions on it. Simple is better here.

Which is the same reason that I disagree with his assessment of the parties’s other proposals. The CPC proposal to reward and punish cities based on new homes built is clear, transparent and formulaic. The LPC proposal, by contrast, is subject to the whims of the minister who will approve or reject applications based presumably on some internal process that we don’t know much about. Simple is better here too.

26th September 2023 at 9:00 am

Why are we politicizing the housing crisis? It is not a matter of one party over the other, one going bigger than the other. Parties must work together for the good of Canadians. No party has the silver bullet. Dialogue, listening, working together is the best way through this crisis.

26th September 2023 at 9:04 am
Luke Smith

If Canada truly is in a housing crisis, then having the two major parties work to outcompete each other with more and more ambitious housing plans is only a good thing.

26th September 2023 at 10:27 am

not competition but focus on the benefit for the country, not personalities and party politics.

26th September 2023 at 1:52 pm
Alfred Napolitano

Good Day,

The federal government should only be asked and challenged about the demand side and leave supply to local governments and, capitalism. As for population increase we should demand or create a graphical representation of new NET permanent residents, temporary workers and temporary students. Without undertaking what is happening on the demand side is very frustrating. Anecdotally I sense that net immigration has been impacted by more people leaving than historic levels. I also see that our birth rate is down. So let’s see a clear picture. The feds should be challenged to provide a clear picture and forecast using clear terms. That is all we should be asking. We should not be demanding “help” which will certainly be vote buying and inflationary. We are playing into the federal government’s hand by asking them to help instead of being accountable.

Best regards,

26th September 2023 at 7:22 am
Stuart Thomson

This morning, Steve Lafleur gives the Liberal government some credit for its latest moves on housing and he makes the case that the Conservatives now need to go big or go home.

He also explains why he believes the feds should be involved in fixing housing issues, which are predominantly a municipal issue:

“Municipal governments have been unwilling to take these steps since they represent existing and not prospective future residents. This is why upper levels of government need to step in.”

26th September 2023 at 6:23 am
Alfred Napolitano

Good Day Again,

Perhaps I am from a different world but we should not be offering remedies without understanding the dilemma in clear and certain terms. Data is everything. Housing starts by year. NET immigration by year. Net temp workers and students. The feds should use some of their billions on management consultants on a deliverable that explains the dilemma. How can we fix what we do not know is broken? For example, what if these initiatives being discussed just throw money but doesn’t not ameliorate a bottleneck in construction?

26th September 2023 at 9:34 am

So why do we have to give incentives so builders will do rentals rather than condos?
Why don’t they build them on their own? Isn’t there money to be made? At first yes …but then….
After the government stops the subsidies the rental building will also stop.
RENT CONTROL is the elephant in the room along with red tape and excessive regulation.
Rent control is what halted construction way back in the late 70s. There were many buildings large and small being built.
Back then if a landlord raised the rent to an unreasonable amount you just moved. There were lots to choose from. You rented cheap, saved your money till you could afford your own place.
Then politicians saw a way to get votes and brought in rent controls.
Now a landlord is a villain if he needs to raise the rent to cover increased taxes and overhead.
He is forced by govt regulations to lose money. So sell or convert to a condo. No more rental.
That is what has happened over the years.
And it will continue to happen until the socialist policies are ended.
Politicians are loathe to address this for fear of losing votes after all that’s what started it in the first place.

So the government wants to control rent…the only real way to do this is for the government to build them and administer them. Better get real and start at it rather than subsidize future condos.
This is the soviet system and it sort of works for them.

26th September 2023 at 11:23 pm

Here in BC new seismic and energy efficiency requirements in the building code are adding greatly to building costs for multi-unit buildings. Since mitigating the impact of earthquakes and climate change are public goods there is certain logic in overtly subsidizing those costs. Seems like a good use of carbon tax revenues to me.

26th September 2023 at 2:19 pm