BC goes to the polls again May 14 so I took another look at the parties’ platforms to see what they have to say about one of BC’s major economic issues – the housing bubble.
I thought the BC Liberals might be on to something when I saw a section called “Building a Safe, Clean, Healthy and Affordable B.C.” However by “affordable” they don’t mean consumer and RE prices being in line with BC wages. Actually they are talking about taxes, which they correctly state are among the lowest in Canada. But since this is hardly making BC affordable for the average person today, I don’t see what it has to do with making BC affordable going forward.
“Over 1 million low-income British Columbians pay absolutely no income tax today in British Columbia— an increase of 400,000 since our government was elected.” Um, is a big increase in the number of low-income people paying no income tax a good thing or a bad thing? Want to think that over?
“The (forest) industry has been hit by unforeseeable impacts – the pine beetle epidemic, the U.S. housing crash.” The US housing crash was unforeseeable! Now you should just forget about what you thought Paul Krugman, Nouriel Roubini, Peter Schiff and others said. It was only in your imagination.
What the Liberals actually say about housing is that they spent some money on low-income units. Yawn.
On to the NDP. “We’ve seen deep cuts to programs and services that help at-risk children, income assistance rules that claw back modest earnings, and an ongoing crisis in affordable housing.” Aha! The NDP recognizes that housing is too expensive!
Well no. What they mean is that they think there isn’t enough non-profit and co-op housing and they will build more. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it misses the main issue.
“Strengthen and rebalance the Residential Tenancy Act and Manufactured Home Act to better protect tenants and landlords.” Sounds nice, but how do you better protect both sides at the same time?
The BC Green Party has basically copied and pasted their housing policy from the previous election, including this gem: “Mandate that BC Housing purchase existing units of market housing that are in current or stalled projects to provide an immediate and expanding pool of permanent below market and market rental housing.” They want to use your tax dollars to bail out developers!
I also think they are confusing the issues by titling the section “Homelessness and Housing Affordability”. These are distinct problems with distinct solutions.
The Greens say more about housing than the other parties but they can’t bring themselves to say that RE prices are simply too high. Their platform starts off by saying that BC needs more voices like Elizabeth May – who I think has actually talked about Canada’s housing bubble. So if she can do it, why can’t they?
And what does the BC Conservative platform say about housing? Nothing. I like that. As Mom said, if you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all.