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Open up the House so Canadians can get a home

Last week, Conservatives called on the Prime Minster to return early from the summer recess so Parliament could tackle the issue of Canada’s housing shortage.

It is unlikely the PM will do so. He and his party have no solutions on housing—they’re the ones who created the cost-of-living crunch that’s driving the housing crisis in the first place.

Interest rate hikes resulting from made-in-Canada Liberal inflation has many Canadian families unable to pay their mortgages.

Fewer and fewer Canadians can afford to buy a home.

The average home price is now $700,000, over $1 million if you live in Toronto or Vancouver.

Prior to the Trudeau Government it took 25 years for the average family to pay off a mortgage. Today, it takes 25 years just to save up a down payment.

Homelessness is on the rise.

The Liberals have invested nearly $40 billion in their National Housing Strategy but, as with most things this government does, they talk a big game, spend a lot of money, achieve nothing because they didn’t actually have a plan, and then blame everyone else but themselves for their failures. 

To add to the problem, the Trudeau Government continues to bring in record numbers of foreign students, asylum seekers, and other immigrants, all of whom require housing.

Canada should be a desirable place for people to attend university, we need skilled immigrants to help our economy, and we should do our part to help the world’s most vulnerable. However, if we fail to set these folks up for success when they come here, we really aren’t helping them, or ourselves.

The reality is a significant portion of those struggling to find housing are foreign students, new immigrants, and asylum seekers.

It is therefore absurd that Mr. Trudeau has tasked Sean Fraser, whose failed leadership drove our immigration system into the ground, with fixing housing.

The massive failures of Canada’s broken immigration system—a topic I have discussed with some regularity in this column—aside, we are about to have a massive influx of some 900,000 foreign students, alone. All of them will need a place to stay.

Like those who arrive here seeking asylum (be it legitimately or not)—and those refugees the Liberal Government brought over and unceremoniously dumped without ensuring or providing the necessary supports to set them up for success in Canada—foreign students (and even some Canadian students) have been sleeping in homeless shelters.

Homeless shelters were designed for the homeless. The lack of affordable housing and shortage of available beds in shelters means those vulnerable folks are then forced back out onto the streets.        

To be fair, housing is a multi-jurisdictional undertaking, but real leadership at the federal level could see access to housing improve, if just a bit of common sense and some clear metrics were applied to the problem.

  1. First and foremost, we need to balance the budget. We must stop printing and borrowing money. By getting Canada’s finances under control we can reduce the inflation the Liberal Government has caused. This in turn will lower the cost of living, including housing.
  2. Reduce red tape (at all levels of government) that makes it harder to get houses built. Conservatives propose to withhold funding from municipalities who don’t get affordable housing built, while at the same time rewarding those that do with additional funds as a “building bonus”.
  3. Sell surplus federal properties for affordable housing. Some 6,000 surplus government buildings could be turned into affordable homes for Canadians.

These are all practical, common-sense solutions to addressing the housing crisis.

Only a new Conservative government will fix housing. It’s time for Justin Trudeau and the Liberals to move out so Canadians can move in.