Vancouver’s housing crisis goes national

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VANCOUVER – Vancouver’s housing crisis could impact federal election as a barrage of stories emerged from local media amid a three-way election race in British Columbia and a close race to across the country.

Polls show the NDP, Liberals and Conservatives are in a tight race in Metro Vancouver. Meanwhile, reports detailing a Liberal candidate’s story of house reversal and special developer loans are likely to resonate with voters in the beloved city, observers say.

“I think this will cause some level of public rage,” said Andy Yan, municipal program director at Simon Fraser University. “It’s going to fuel public interest fires.”

High prices, housing availability and anger at their cause have long been issues in Vancouver, and concerns have grown over the past week.

On Tuesday, the CBC ran an article about British Columbia giving an 18-year interest-free loan to a developer to buy a social housing complex in the city in 2008. The company has pledged to build new market homes and build new homes. ” include a social housing component of 234 units.

Thirteen years later, according to the CBC, only 54 social housing units have been built. It took three years for the broadcaster to get the documents through the FOI process.

On Monday, after a five-year wait for documents under similar legislation, the Vancouver correspondent of the South China Morning Post published an article detailing a secret study conducted by Revenue Canada in 1996. It showed wealthy migrants had bought 90 percent of luxury homes in Metro Vancouver. while declaring extremely low income.

Both of these stories came after local radio station News1130 revelations last week that Vancouver Granville Liberal candidate Taleeb Noormohamed had knocked down 21 homes within a year of their purchase since 2005 and sold at least 42 homes. in Metro Vancouver during the same period. period.

While not all of the stories relate to actions of the federal government and go back years, they are likely to have some influence given the housing anxiety experienced by many voters in Vancouver, Yan said. .

“This is going to fuel a complication of people’s insecurity in terms of housing, economic insecurity and really their general feeling of the country,” he said. “All over the country you see this kind of anxiety age.”

Vancouver-based polling firm Research Co. released poll results Tuesday showing housing was already the second most pressing issue for voters in British Columbia. Housing is a top concern for 20 percent of British Columbians, according to the survey.

The poll has the Liberals at 28 percent support in British Columbia with both the NDP and Conservatives at 32 percent.

(The results were based on an online study conducted August 28-30 of 1,000 adults with a plus-minus margin of error of 3.1% 19 times out of 20.)

Research Co. president Mario Canseco said the results suggest that to win in Vancouver, parties must connect with voters about their housing strategies.

Canseco said the poll also shows a trend of various concerns across the country. Jobs and the economy are more of a concern in Alberta, he said, while in Quebec, health care is a big concern.

“Gone are the days of a national campaign where you had a big global problem that you could talk about everywhere,” he said. “There is a message you can use if you are campaigning in downtown Vancouver that is essentially different than what you might have in Calgary or elsewhere. “

In 2015, the Liberals saw a big increase in seat-rich Vancouver, from two to 17 MPs in the province, most elected in the city. The Conservatives, who also lost the government in the election, lost 11 seats.

In 2019, the Liberals lost six seats while the Conservatives won seven.

University of British Columbia associate professor of political science Gerald Baier said Vancouver currently has the largest pool of dangerous seats west of Ontario, meaning the city could again play a role in what Canada’s next government will look like.

“When the numbers are counted, it will depend on what happens in a province that is really competitive between the three parties,” Baier said, adding that British Columbia has sent an “eclectic mix” of MPs from all over the world. parties, with the exception of the Bloc Québécois, in Parliament in 2019.

The three main parties have published housing platforms promising more affordable housing in the country. The Liberals have promised to help first-time homebuyers and ban foreign buyers for two years, among other policies.

The Conservatives also promised a two-year ban on foreign buyers and promised to strengthen money laundering laws. The New Democrats have proposed introducing 30-year mortgages and a 20 percent foreign buyers tax.

Yan said that so far he had not been impressed with what the parties were proposing on housing affordability. Local income detached from the housing market is a major problem that policies fail to address, he said, along with a lack of stable financial options for retirement.

He said if people didn’t need to rely on buying a home as a retirement plan, they would be more comfortable renting.

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