Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Calgary Shepard.
I am the father of two young adult daughters who, in the not-so-distant future, with their effort and determination, like countless other young Canadians, will be entering the home-buying market. Similar to countless other young Canadians, my daughters are living at home, watching the never-ending stream of media reports saying housing in Canada is entirely unaffordable. Young Canadians looking to enter the market cannot do so on their own, nor should they bear the expectation that they should at this time, especially in my home city of Richmond. Even with hard work and saving up for a down payment, the reality is that many will still require parental support, something I will likely be blessed to be able to give my daughters, but something that is not available to everyone.
We see Canadians faced with a sudden expectation adjustment, one reminiscent of our Prime Minister's comment that this generation could be the first generation in many decades to be worse off than their parents. I, for one, would like to point out that the rampant, reckless spending and deficit spending prior to or after the pandemic and the types of policies being implemented by his government will pretty much guarantee that outcome.
The reality is that much-anticipated tax expansion and government programs will not address the affordable housing shortage or the underlying causes of our housing crisis. To the contrary, the tax burden imposed by reckless spending over the past six years, even excluding pandemic relief, will tie the hands of future governments and prevent them from tackling other housing priorities such as homelessness and poverty.
Home prices have skyrocketed over this past COVID year and the dream of home ownership is becoming more distant for Canadians to attain. The national average home price was a record $678,000 in February 2021, up 25% from the same month last year. In my home city of Richmond, single detached home prices are up 20% in the past year, averaging at $1.5 million, far above the rest of the country. I find it ridiculous and ironic that Canada, with the world's second-largest land mass and sparse population, has to suffer such a housing crisis. The difficulties Canadians face are certainly exacerbated by the government's mismanagement of supply in our housing markets. Its incompetence is not limited to only home ownership.
The Liberal government has done nothing to address the rental market as an affordable option for Canadians either. Increasing supply within the rental market would be a boon for renters trying to make ends meet in increasingly unaffordable conditions. The government's ideas so far do nothing to address the real issues affecting affordability in our real estate market, namely through the lack of housing supply. To top it off, the two-years-too-late Liberal budget failed to rule out the introduction of capital gains taxes on the principal residences of Canadians. Punishing those who have a home as a way to pay for the government’s current or future excessive and poorly managed spending does not help solve the housing crisis.
The Liberals' national housing strategy has been defined by funding delays and cumbersome, difficult-to-navigate programs. It has consistently failed to get funding out of the door in a timely fashion for the projects that need it most. The national housing co-investment fund is one of the worst-offending programs, as we have heard from the member for Vancouver East.
However, members do not have to listen to me on this. Housing providers across the country have called it “cumbersome” and “complicated”, which is slightly higher praise than what the Liberals received on their first-time homebuyer initiative, a program that has proven to be a fatally flawed, dismal failure. It was intended to help 20,000 Canadians in the first six months, but has only reached 10,000 in over 18 months. It did not accomplish its primary objective of improving affordability in high-cost regions. These changes will not help prospective buyers in Victoria, Vancouver or Toronto.
When the Liberals' only solution to affordable home ownership is to take on a share of a Canadian's mortgage, and when their solution is actively discouraged by brokers, the government should realize that it is time to change direction, not double-down on poor policy. The Liberals should be helping Canadians by giving them the tools to save, lowering their taxes and creating jobs. For example, by incentivizing the use of RRSPs, Canadians could leverage their own savings to purchase a home.
Once again, the bureaucratic, Ottawa-knows-best approach is hurting our communities. It goes to prove that the Liberal government consistently misses the concerns of Canadians, such as concerns over legislative and enforcement gaps that have allowed the drug trade to launder illicit money through our real estate markets; concerns over supply, funding and support program criteria for long-term care homes; and the concern to fix the shortfalls of the national housing co-investment fund, a program that housing providers across the country have voiced their criticism of, stating that the application process is too cumbersome and the eligibility criteria too complicated.
Canadians cannot afford more inaction. Only Conservatives are focused on ensuring Canadians are not left paying the price for Liberal mismanagement. Conservatives recognize the severity of the nationwide housing affordability crisis faced by Canadians.
I believe in a bold vision for my home of Richmond, one where every family who works hard and saves responsibly can achieve home ownership. I believe that the future of housing in Canada will be built on proper management of our nation's supply. Following consultation with my colleagues, I was pleased to learn that Conservatives share a belief in a nationwide plan to get homes built as part of Canada's economic recovery.
We believe in real action, not lip service, to address the consequences of money laundering and the negative impacts it has in our society. Our plan to secure the future will prioritize the needs of Canadians before foreign investors, provide meaningful housing solutions and put families in the housing market. Conservatives have advocated and will continue to advocate for improvements to mortgage policies, to the taxation system, to combat money laundering, to increase housing supply across the continuum, and to address rampant speculation and unfair profiteering.
Canada needs a plan to get our economy back on track, but over a year into the pandemic the Liberal government, like a ship that has lost its anchor, is still operating lost at sea. In response, we Conservatives have developed Canada's recovery plan that sets a course to secure Canada's future, including the modest dream of owning a home.