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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Candidates In Owen Sound Debate Housing Issues

Owen Sound | by Claire McCormack  

Bruce Grey Owen Sound candidates talked about local and national issues on radio debate.

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound candidates outlined their plans to address an affordable housing shortage both in the area and nationwide in a debate held on Bayshore Broadcasting's AM 560 CFOS Wednesday.

All six local candidates outlined their plans to make homes more affordable and attainable.

Conservative Alex Ruff says his party has a four-point plan to make homes more affordable for Canadians, "First we're going to fix the mortgage stress test to ensure that first time home buyers aren't unnecessarily prevented from accessing mortgages and work to remove the stress test from mortgage renewals." Ruff says they plan to increase the amortization period to 30 years for first time home buyers in order to reduce monthly payments. He adds a Conservative government would "Launch an inquiry into money laundering in the real estate sector to root out the corrupt practices that inflate housing prices." Ruff's says his party's fourth point of its plan is to make surplus federal real estate available for development to increase the overall supply of housing.

Green Candidate Danielle Valiquette says federal support for co-ops, rental housing, social housing and support housing has languished, noting federal funding for affordable housing is needed immediately. Valiquette says the Greens plan to build 25,000 new units and 15,000 rehabilitated units annually for the next ten years. Valiquette adds "We will remove the GST off purpose-built rental homes."  

Liberal Michael Den Tandt says his party has introduced a measure to prevent foreign buyers from purchasing houses and driving up the prices.

"The first-time home buyers plan is simply a way to help young people and anyone who's buying a house for the first time, get into the market by paying up to ten per cent of the cost of the home."
He adds the Liberal home retrofit plan is offering $40,000 interest-free for energy related retrofits. Den Tandt points to the ten year National Housing Strategy, which he says aims to help 600,000 or more Canadians with the cost of buying a house and provide 140,000 new housing units across Canada by 2028.
"Our challenge is to make sure some of those dollars come to Bruce Grey Owen Sound because it's all too easy, as I've said many times, for us to be ignored."

Libertarian candidate Dan Little says the most efficient way to fix the housing situation is to fix our current banking situation.

"Interest rates have been artificially depressed for about the last decade and that is causing housing prices to rise faster than the rate of inflation itself. " Little says the Bank of Canada should be audited and its control over Canadians' money supply should be phased out completely.

"Liberate interest rates to be set by the free markets and we should see see housing prices start to even out and somewhat normalize," Says Little, who feels rent control should be abolished, predicting it would lead to the creation of rental units at lower average prices. He says his four strategies are,"Abolishing regulation, getting rid of burdensome building codes and strengthening our natural private property rights and fixing our broken central bank system."
New Democratic Party candidate Chris Stephen says the NDP is promising 500,000 affordable homes nationwide, immediate relief to renters with a rental benefit of up to $5,000. He says the NDP wants to re-introduce 30 year mortgages and double the first time home buyer's tax credit to $1,500. Stephen also says the NDP wants to crack down on foreign buyer speculation that he says drives up home prices.

People's Party of Canada candidate Bill Townsend says to leave it to the free market, "The answer is not for the government to give everybody a home and pay your rent."

Townsend says the problem is supply and demand. "The supply is too low," says Townsend, noting Canada needs to fix that situation. He says he agrees with Libertarian Dan Little about getting rid of regulations and allowing builders to create housing "If the supply is there and meets the demand, the price will fall."

The federal election is October 21st.

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