Housing- A Need for All

October 2021 Editorial – Vernon Morning Star

Housing is an essential need that we all have but persisting shortages of housing stock and other challenges contribute to housing insecurity for many Canadians. Across Canada, including right here in the North Okanagan-Shuswap, housing shortages undermine the ability of Canadians and communities to achieve maximum security and growth.

I continuously hear from residents of our region how the absence or cost of housing affects their lives and communities. In Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike, it is getting harder and harder for people to secure housing in the communities they wish to live in. Employers who provide our communities with goods and services cannot hire workers they need because of housing shortages.

Shortages of supply predictably drive up the cost of a commodity or essential need such as housing. Like most of Canada, our region is not lacking in space or availability of natural resources with which to build, but housing shortages persist.

To break this logjam, all levels of government need to work together to support construction of new homes to meet the needs of citizens, present and future.  Tangible results can be achieved through partnerships and collaboration to remove barriers currently preventing new builds that Canadians need.

As your Member of Parliament, I am committed to working towards positive housing results for our region and in reviewing housing-related campaign promises of the Trudeau government, I see some potential opportunities that we can work with and see some points that require questioning.

The proposed Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights aimed at ensuring processes of buying homes are more fair, open, and transparent can benefit prospective homebuyers if it is properly balanced through thorough examination. Trudeau’s promise to increase powers of federal regulators to intervene in markets in response to price fluctuations must be thoroughly questioned and developed to avoid another “Ottawa-knows-best” failure.

Striking the right balance in legislation is so important because missing the mark could make matters worse for Canadians. Despite introducing the National Housing Strategy in 2017 and committing over $70 billion to the initiative, the Trudeau government is still short on results that Canadians desperately need. All the federal political parties agree that better housing outcomes are needed, and I hope Mr. Trudeau will provide MPs adequate opportunities to thoroughly review these proposals because we must get them right the first time.

I am often told that reducing, not increasing, government processes and red tape will stimulate new builds and I believe this is an important point that the federal government must understand and respect. Whatever housing programs and resources that Ottawa proposes, I will be advocating for approaches that support construction of new homes by providing supports and reducing red tape so that builders can focus on building.

Whether I am in Ottawa or the North Okanagan-Shuswap, I will continue to work with all levels of government to achieve effective housing solutions for our communities.