Mr. Speaker, the tax credit will only apply to those on the Canadian Register of Historic Places. Therefore, it will not be just anyone who happens to own a nice old house. It would have to be, obviously, one of the most significant properties in the country.
The 20% number is less than in the U.S. In the U.S. it is a 25% credit. This is a bit more modest. However, I also believe that there is a public interest and a public benefit that comes from preserving our built heritage. We all benefit from it.
It is not surprising that when a municipality moves to designate a heritage property, there is often enormous conflict, and property owners resist, because they are being told that we are effectively, as a state, expropriating part of their property. We are telling them what they can do with it. We are forcing them to keep it the way it is. We are forcing them to protect it, but they are going to have to bear the full cost of that. This is a way of modestly offsetting that and allowing some balance, some incentive, something that makes it a little easier for that property owner to bear, something that I believe will make it a lot easier for those who are seeking to preserve heritage across the country to get people to accept the notion that it is indeed something they should co-operate with in the public interest. I think that is why we see that so many municipal councils have agreed and support this policy. It will help them deal with problems.
If we look at the situation at Yonge and Roselawn in Toronto, the property owners had worked effectively with developers. They were trying to come up with a way to make it work. However, at the end of the day, the numbers did not work, the pro forma did not work for the property owners, so they demolished it.
I believe we have tried to strike the right balance. It is a little more conservative than the American tax credit, but nobody is getting rich off of this. Rather, it is something that will just provide a measure of offset for costs that we are asking private owners to bear to deliver in the public interest.