Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre went after "big city gatekeepers" for "destroying the home ownership dreams of working-class youth," showing how red tape at a local level is "blocking the poor, the working class, and immigrants from the privilege of owning a home" in Canada.
In the video, Poilievre stands in front of a Vancouver home that is listed for $4.8 million. The modest home, Poilievre says, would have once been a "cute little house to live in for a working family" of two incomes, that has now become unaffordable, even if divided into six units.
"A realtor would tell you you could tear it down and build more units on it. The place next door appears to have about six units on a similar footprint of land. So let's say that you get six units right here. Well, that works out to $800,000 for every single unit just in land costs.
"But then, of course, you need materials and labour to build, and you'd need all the government permits and building approvals from City Hall. So that means that each unit is going to be over $1 million... for the privilege of living in a multi-unit housing situation. That would ultimately mean a mortgage for many people of $950,000. Who can afford payments on a $950,000 mortgage? Forget property taxes and utilities," he said.
Poilievre highlights that Vancouver has the third most unaffordable housing market on planet Earth, ahead of Manhattan, Los Angeles, London, and Singapore, "all places with more money and people, but less land."
"Why?" asks the Carleton MP. "Well, partly because the government in Ottawa has printed over $400 billion of new cash, much of which is funneled into the mortgage system and been borrowed out by wealthy investors who have borrowed it and bid up housing prices. But the other reason is local gatekeepers."
According to the CD Howe Institute, the governmental cost for every single unit of housing in Vancouver is $644,000. "That's the cost of getting your approval, getting the zoning change, getting the permit, and paying all the fees directly to the city and to the many consultants you have to hire to get it done.
"These government gatekeepers protect the wealth. They get wealthier and wealthier by the day as their limited and scarce property goes up in value.
"But the working class person who can't actually pay his or her bills, let alone save for a mortgage, finds their purchasing power go down and down.
"Their wages are actually worth less," he says.
Poilievre said that as prime minister, his government would "stop the central bank from printing cash for politicians to spend and the wealthy to borrow. That will deal with some of the over-demand."
"But on the supply side," he continues, "a Poilievre government would require municipalities like Vancouver to speed up building permits and reduce governmental costs associated with building things."
"My message to City Hall here in Vancouver is 'remove the gatekeepers, stop blocking the poor, the working class, and our immigrants from the privilege of owning a home here in this country.'"
"It used to be a right, and it should be again. If you're prepared to work hard, you should be able to own a house," said Poilievre.
"The system is broken. It protects the privilege. The cost of government is driving up the cost of living. We need to fix the monetary system to ensure it no longer inflates asset values out of reach. And we need to get the local gatekeepers out of the way so that we can build more homes.
"Stop printing money, start building houses. That's what a Poilievre government will do," he concluded.
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