Housing may be the topic you’re most likely to hear discussed at the local coffeeshop or see on the neighbourhood Facebook page, but it’s not dominating question period.
It may seem like a slam dunk political issue for either the government to solve or the Opposition to make some hay out of, but housing affordability is a multi-jurisdictional issue that doesn’t lend itself to easy answers. And, when those answers do come, they often take months or even years to have a tangible effect, while Canadians wait anxiously.
New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh is the only federal politician actively campaigning on the issue of housing affordability. However, Singh’s interest in the issue may stem from the fact that he plans to run for a seat in a yet-to-be-called by-election in British Columbia’s Burnaby South riding, where, the party says, two in five people struggle to afford housing.
While the Liberal government unveiled a $40-billion national housing strategy last year, it’s mainly focused on tackling homelessness and housing low-income Canadians. Other than reducing mortgage fraud in Vancouver and Toronto, it doesn’t have much to offer current or prospective homeowners battling a hot market. And The Canadian Press reported on Monday that even the government’s plans for a watchdog and adjudication system to oversee the strategy are likely to be watered down.