Poilievre Will Fire Gatekeepers And Build Homes

Toronto, ON - Conservative Candidate for Prime Minister, Pierre Poilievre, announced plans today to withhold federal funding from big city gatekeepers in municipal governments who block affordable housing and to pay a Building Bonus to municipal governments that let housing get built.

“I will require severely unaffordable big cities like Toronto and Vancouver to increase home building by 15% or lose some of their federal infrastructure funds,” said Poilievre. This penalty will not apply in any municipalities with a population of less than 500,000 people. “I will create a building bonus that pays municipalities $10,000 dollars for every extra home built, and I will require cities to pre-approve permits for high density housing and employment at the future stations of all federal funded major transit projects”.

The Problem:

Nine in ten aspiring homeowners say they are shut out of the market. In 2015, the average home cost $434,000. Seven years later the price has doubled to $874,100, with prices increasing 52% in the last two years alone.

“With so much land and so few people, housing should be cheap in Canada”, said Poilievre. “Yet our housing bubble is the second worst in the world”. According to Demographia, Vancouver and Toronto are the world’s 3rd and 10th most unaffordable markets - worse than New York, Singapore and London, England—places with more money and people and less land. This is a made-in-Canada problem.

What is causing it? Half the problem is artificial demand from the federal government creating $400 billion in new cash in the last two years and pumping it into the financial and mortgage system. Investors have borrowed the money, bought up homes and bid up prices.

The other half is lack of supply: “Canada has the fewest homes per capita in the G7, even though we have the most land with the fewest people. Why? Government gatekeepers are blocking supply” said Poilievre.

The CD Howe Institute calculates “Vancouver’s housing regulation costs are by far the largest in Canada, resulting in an extra cost of $644,000 for the average new house. Elsewhere in Canada – Vancouver, Abbotsford, Victoria, Kelowna, Regina, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa-Gatineau – homebuyers paid an average $230,000 extra on a new house because of limits on supply.”

In fact, right here in Toronto, the City Government just released a report for public consultation on their development charges, which proposes increasing them by 49% in one year. That is on top of Toronto area municipalities already collecting $5 billion more in taxes on new housing than they spend on infrastructure for new homes—costs that are all passed on to homebuyers.

The only solution politicians have offered so far is more government spending. Big city mayors demanded and received vast increases in federal housing dollars. The Federal government brags it has spent $40 billion more on affordable housing—after which house prices actually doubled. The recent federal budget promised yet another $10 billion—money that will go to the same municipal government gatekeepers who have caused housing inflation in the first place.

The government claims the money will incentivize faster permitting and supply; however, it offers to give municipal governments the money upfront with no guarantee of results. It funds process and bureaucracy without tying the number of dollars to the number of completed homes. “It is more money for nothing to the same big city politicians who caused today’s bubble” said Poilievre. “Rewarding bad behavior will only cause more of it”.

The Poilievre Plan: Fire Gatekeepers. Build Homes.

“The federal government must reward more building and punish gatekeeping,” said Poilievre. “Only carrots and sticks will get results”.

“Big city politicians care about one thing: money. They like to spend other people’s money—particularly when other levels of government collect it”.

“A Poilievre Government will make clear to big city politicians that they will not get what they want until the people get what they need: homes built”.

That means no more funding good intentions, bureaucratic procedures or promises of future actions. Instead, money will come after results are completed. A Poilievre government will:

  1. Require municipal governments of “severely unaffordable” big cities to increase homebuilding by 15% annually or have a portion of their federal funding withheld (municipalities with less than 500,000 people will be completely exempt) and bring in penalties for big city governments—those with over a half-million people—for egregious cases of NIMBYism and gatekeeping
  2. Grant municipalities $10,000 per home on all growth in their home building, paid out only after the units are built and occupied.
  3. Require municipalities seeking federal funds for major transit projects to pre-approve building permits for high-density housing and employment on all available land around stations.
  4. Sell sell off 15% of the federal government’s 37,000 buildings with covenants requiring they become affordable housing.
  5. Prevent the federal government from creating cash to fund government deficits. That will end the inflationary bubbles that the central bank has helped to create in the housing market.

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