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Green Party Leader Elizabeth May Responds to Housing Survey

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, candidate for Saanich – Gulf Islands is the second candidate to respond to VRBA’s Housing Issues Survey. A PDF of her reply is here.

  1. GST New Home Rebate

Inflation has eroded the GST New Home Rebate introduced in 1991 so now less than 10% of Victoria residents qualify for the full rebate. Do you support adjusting and indexing the GST New Home Rebate to inflation?

Elizabeth May’s response:The Green Party supports home ownership. Green MPs support indexing the GST New Home Rebate to inflation. Inflation has eroded this rebate to the point where too many in our community no longer qualify for a full rebate. It no longer fulfills its purpose of helping new home buyers. Buying a home is turning into a pipe dream, especially for young families. The federal government promised to do its part to help maintain affordability. It is only fair to keep that promise.”

“The Green Party also supports indexing the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan to the Consumer Price Index in $2,500 increments, to make sure that it remains a useful tool for people buying their first homes. We will work to ensure that mortgage amortization rates meet the needs of home buyers. We will also consider broadening the eligibility for the HBP to include individuals who have experienced a life-changing event such as the death of a spouse or marital breakdown.”

2. Home Renovation Tax Credit

The benefits of a Home Renovation Tax Credit are:

  • Most effective way to improve energy efficiency in Canada’s housing stock;
  • Professional abatement of asbestos found in insulation, stucco, roof shingles, floor tiles, etc;
  • Generates tax revenue by requiring receipts, discouraging Canada’s underground economy;
  • Offers young people opportunities to learn a trade;
  • Creates skilled jobs in every community across Canada.

Do you support a Home Renovation Tax Credit?

Elizabeth May’s Response: “We will create sustainable jobs by reintroducing and expanding the Home Renovation Tax Credit, to create incentives for individuals and companies to make their homes and businesses more efficient and accessible.” 

“An expanded Home Renovation Tax Credit will also go a long way to end the underground economy in renovation without burdening lawful businesses. Since they require formal receipts, targeted tax credits are a great way to incentivize lawful business.”

“Further, the successful EcoEnergy program supporting retrofits for houses and buildings expired January 1st, 2011. The Green Party will revive the program and expand it by 50% to $600 million a year.”

“We will unleash an army of carpenters, electricians and contractors to plug the energy leaks that increase greenhouse gases and costs in older public buildings, including schools, universities and hospitals. These changes alone will reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent nationwide.”

“We will introduce a solar roof program, based on the successful California model.”

3. Capital Gains Tax Deferral

In the past 20 years, only 11% of Canada’s new housing has been rentals. Deferring capital gains tax can increase investment in rentals and affordable housing. Do you support deferral of capital gains tax on property sales when proceeds are reinvested in new rentals and affordable housing?

Elizabeth May’s Response:Greens advocate for innovative solutions to emerging challenges. It is shameful that Canada is the only country in the OECD that doesn’t have a National Housing Strategy. Together, through collaboration with federal, provincial, municipal and Indigenous governments, we can create a strategy that creates more affordable housing units, ends homelessness and provides adequate housing on and off-reserve to First Nations, Métis and Inuit. A capital gains exemption that seeks to stimulate investment in new rentals and affordable housing is an admirable policy idea that is worthy of consideration as part of a harmonized approach to affordable housing. The Green Party of Canada also advocates that there be no deemed GST on the rental of units built as condos for sale. Developers should be allowed to make a short term decision to rent, without being hit with GST from a deemed sale. Greens will further seek to restore the tax advantages for developers of purpose-built rental units. Green MPs will make federal housing policies a priority in a new Parliament.”

4. Regulatory Changes and Costs on New Housing

New homes are safe, healthy and energy-efficient. Additional new regulations and costs offer negligible benefits and continue to erode housing affordability for young families. Do you support making affordability the priority for changes to new housing?

Elizabeth May’s Response: “The Green Party is committed to affordable housing. Access to affordable, safe, and secure housing is an essential prerequisite to an equitable society. However, Canada is the only country in the OECD without a National Housing Strategy. Greens will implement a National Housing Strategy based on Housing First principles, quickly providing people experiencing chronic and episodic homelessness with the stable housing they need and ensuring access to additional supports as needed. Housing crosses all jurisdictions. To facilitate federal leadership, a Council of Canadian Governments – representing the provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous governments – would meet to consult with stakeholders and draft a comprehensive strategy.”

 “The Green Party is committed to stable and adequate annual funding for the construction of new rental housing. Our target is the construction of 20,000 new and 10,000 rehabilitated affordable housing units each year for the next decade. We invite you to read more about this strategy here.

“The Green Party believes that home builders must be consulted when regulatory changes increase the cost of homes. New changes relating to seismic and energy issues are being too broadly applied, needlessly raising the price of a new home. We need to apply regulations where they make sense and keep affordability in mind.”

 “Canadians are increasingly unable to access homes in major cities where the market has been inflated by offshore money. Greens will terminate the Harper Conservatives’ misguided Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program and ensure that people coming to Canada come to make their lives here – not just park their wealth and drive up the prices of housing in our communities.”

“Elizabeth May appreciates the leadership and participation of the Victoria Residential Builders Association in the Affordable Housing Round Table she organized as MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands. The Green Party looks forward to working with the VRBA to promote affordable housing goals.”

There are no responses so far.

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