BY GREG SAKAKI
The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada is on Vancouver Island today as part of a ‘bring it home’ tour, and is sharing his ideas about how to get more homes built faster.
Pierre Poilievre will be holding an evening rally in Black Creek on Tuesday, Sept. 12. En route, he started his day with a visit to Western Forest Products in Ladysmith and then coffee on Nanaimo’s Commercial Street.
He talked about his party’s housing plan, which includes permitting density at transit stops and selling off federal buildings and land to “build, build, build.” Some of the housing plan is focused on larger cities, but smaller cities like Nanaimo could still benefit from federal leadership on incentivizing home-building and faster permitting, Poilievre said. It’s government that’s slowing down construction, he suggested, including city councils that bow to NIMBYism and limit housing stock.
“It’s the permitting, delays, development charges, taxes, lawyers, consultants and all that. It’s not land, labour or lumber…” he said. “Home-building is hugely profitable if you can get a permit. There’s tens of thousands of workers ready to go, there’s thousands of companies ready to build, but they’re sitting around waiting to get approval to do so.”
Addressing the housing crunch might be a long-term process, but Poilievre said there are some short-term measures that will help. He said the current federal government’s budget deficits and failure to limit inflation have led to interest rates that are forcing people who might otherwise take on a mortgage to instead remain part of a low-vacancy rental market.
“My common-sense plan is cap spending, cut costs to balance the budget and bring down interest rates for potential home-buyers and mortgage holders,” he said.
Poilievre’s visit to the Island comes just a few days after a Conservative Party convention that political pundits say was noteworthy for its show of party unity. Poilievre said Conservatives are united in their goals to address Canadians’ needs, and he said as leader, he’s tried to focus “relentlessly” on those needs.
“How do we restore a Canada where hard work earns a powerful paycheque that buys good food, a decent home and retirement in a safe neighbourhood?” he asked. “I always tell the team, forget about everything else, don’t worry about personality conflicts and old rivalries and focus on that goal.”
The rally in Black Creek is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Coastal Black Estate Winery.