Federal Election: Housing Affordability and Climate Change Top of Mind in BC
In the most unsurprising of events, the writ has been dropped and Canadians will head to the polls on September 20 to vote for their next Member of Parliament. BC is certain to be a significant battleground for political parties. It's no coincidence that party leaders Justin Trudeau, Erin O'Toole and Jagmeet Singh have already spent significant resources travelling to BC in the past few months. According to 338canada.com, as of August 17 only 21 of BC's 42 electoral ridings are considered "safe" for the incumbent party, with the other half being an uncertain two- or even three-way race.
This means that as campaigning (officially) begins, candidates will be listening to the issues that British Columbians are keen to talk about. A recent Angus Reid survey found that housing affordability, along with climate change, are the two issues British Columbians care about the most.
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) are taking advantage of election season to highlight the policy solutions that Canadians and British Columbians are looking for. CREA has developed an election website, www.REALideas.ca, which focuses on these election issues:
- Home supply and infrastructure. Two thirds of Canadians who don't own a home want to some day. Unfortunately, two thirds of Canadians also believe it has become harder to buy a home in the past year. Creating bilateral agreements between Infrastructure Canada and the BC Government, along with other provinces, would work towards addressing the shortage of housing supply while improving quality of life. Within a BC context, BCREA is also calling on the next federal government to tie transit infrastructure investments to increased density around transit nodes.
- National housing roundtable. Establishing a national housing roundtable with all levels of government, along with builders, REALTORS® and civil society organizations would help ensure every Canadian has a place to call home.
- Affordability and debt reduction. Increasing the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) withdrawal limit from $35,000 to $50,000 and reintroducing the 30-year amortization for insured mortgages for first-time homebuyers would provide more young Canadians the opportunity to enter the housing market while saving and investing for their futures.
- Climate change resiliency. Providing more incentives for voluntary energy retrofits to the existing building stock can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, providing more leadership in mitigating climate change risks and preparing for disaster recovery from wildfires and floods could assist with BC's current and future natural disasters.
Once all the party platforms are released, we will write a post comparing the different promises affecting the real estate sector in BC. To keep updated with BCREA's and CREA's election publications, visit the Lobbying and Legislation page on REALTOR Link®.
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