Green Party Urges Federal Government to Move on Affordable Housing
Green Party leader Annamie Paul was in Toronto on Tuesday discussing the urgent need for the federal government to take action on affordable housing. “We need to declare housing and homelessness as national emergencies,” Paul stated. The Green Party leader joined the other major parties by noting the need to strengthen regulations to “end foreign investment” and “predatory practices in commercial real estate.” Paul also called on the government to “redefine” what affordable housing means with an updated formula, and to build and acquire 300,000 “deeply affordable” non-profit housing units.
Blanchet Outlines Plan to Reduce Pesticides in Food Production
Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet was in Pont-Rouge, outlining the Bloc Québécois’ plan to reduce the use of certain pesticides in food production. Specifically, Blanchet stated the Bloc Québécois would pursue a four-point plan in parliament, including:
- An independent investigation into the links between Health Canada and “pesticide multinationals” with the aim of developing tighter regulations;
- Reform the system for licensing pesticides;
- A four-year, $300 million R&D programme to develop non-chemical alternatives to pesticides; and
- The phase-out of neonicotinoids and, eventually, glyphosate.
O’Toole Outlines Plan to Protect Pensions
Erin O’Toole was back in Ottawa on Tuesday announcing the Conservative Party’s plan to protect pensions. O’Toole announced that, if elected, the Conservatives will change existing laws to prevent executives from paying themselves bonuses while a company is restructuring unless the pension plan is fully funded. According to the Conservative’s platform, they will also aim to secure the pensions of workers by:
- No longer forcing underfunded pension plans from being converted to annuities; and
- Requiring companies to report the funding status of their pension plans more clearly.
The commitments are part of O’Toole’s broader strategy to appeal to unions and ‘working Canadians.’ “As Prime Minister,” O’Toole stated, “I will stand up for workers and introduce the necessary measures to protect hard-earned pensions.”
Trudeau Announces Affordable Housing Plan
Following both the New Democrats and Conservatives releasing their housing plans last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Hamilton on Tuesday announcing the Liberal Party’s housing plan. The Liberal plan pledges to:
- Commit $1 billion in loans and grants to develop and scale up rent-to-own projects with private, not-for-profit, and co-op partners;
- Introduce a tax-free First Home Savings Account, allowing Canadians under 40 to save up to $40,000 toward their first home, and withdraw it tax-free to put toward their purchase, with no requirement to repay it;
- Double the First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit, from $5,000 to $10,000; and
- Reduce the price charged by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation on mortgage insurance by 25 per cent.
The Liberal plan includes a commitment to “build, preserve or repair” 1.4 million homes in the next four years, and to make $4 billion available to help cities accelerate their new housing plans. The Liberals also pledged to ban “new foreign ownership of Canadian houses for the next two years” and “expand the upcoming tax on vacant housing owned by non-Canadians to include foreign-owned vacant land within large urban areas.”
Singh Pledges to End For-Profit Long-Term Care
New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh was in Mississauga on Tuesday highlighting his party’s commitment to end for-profit long-term care in Canada. “First and foremost,” Singh said, “a New Democrat government would remove profit from long-term care...we would start there, and make it public...we need it to be publicly delivered.” The New Democratic Party platform also commits to ban any new for-profit care homes; develop national care standards; and boost wages for long-term care workers.
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