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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was military.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Conservative MP for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2021, with 42% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply June 8th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I am sure all hon. colleagues can agree that a principal residence is for living in and providing a family with a roof over their heads. That is the most important aspect of a principal residence. The fact the Liberals are saying they have done things to reduce money laundering is blatantly false. There are no regulations around beneficial ownership, and that is a critical gap that industry and economists alike have identified, as well as the fact that many of Canada's current FINTRAC anti-money laundering laws are failing to be enforced despite investments and much needed—

Business of Supply June 8th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Edmonton Manning.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to speak to this very important opposition motion on housing. Canada does have a housing crisis. Every day, citizens from my riding and across Canada come to me with heartbreaking stories on the challenges they face in putting a roof over their head. Many tell me they can no longer afford to stay in their homes, others share that they cannot find anywhere at all to live. I hear from young families who are forced to live far from their places of work, because it is all they can find and young people who are losing hope that they will ever be able to own a house of their own.

Nearly one in 10 Canadians experience hidden homelessness. One in seven Canadian households cannot find decent housing without spending 30%, or more, of their income. In my riding, in the greater Toronto area that number is drastically worse. The average Toronto household costs over $850,000 where Canada’s average is $562,000, with many Toronto buyers taking nearly 75% of their household income to cover home ownership costs.

The blatant truth is that there is not enough housing available and the housing that is available is simply too expensive. The critical shortage of housing and the corresponding skyrocketing of housing prices is a serious problem that is getting worse, and not one that will fix itself.

Economists at the big banks have been increasingly sounding the alarm over Canada’s housing market. Big bank economists do not typically use strong language on any topic, so when they do, we must take note and treat it with the severity that it deserves. In February, economists at the National Bank highlighted the warning signs of widespread price surges, vulnerable borrowers with high debt and uninsured mortgages.

A Royal Bank economist in late March stated that a policy response was required to address a housing market that has not had an “overheating of this scope since the late 1980s.” This position was further reinforced by Bank of Montreal economists who stated that “policy-makers need to act immediately” to respond to the “housing fire” that Canada is currently living through.

Canada’s national housing affordability crisis requires a comprehensive federal government approach combined with a sense of urgency that takes concrete action to implement it. Today’s opposition day motion calls on the government to do just that.

This crisis in Canada is a complex issue, but today I would like to focus on the three main areas that I think should be considered in any federal government approach: tax structure changes, including addressing vacant and non-resident foreign ownership, rampant housing speculation and money laundering; employment and the quality, not just quantity, of jobs; and longer-term thinking around the total cost of ownership of housing, and how targeted initiatives could make housing more affordable while also achieving our national goals around environment and climate change.

What is taxed, how it is taxed, and the information and documentation that is provided in support of those taxes are important tools that a federal government could use to influence the foundations of our economy, including the housing market.

Many of the housing market issues are associated with shortages in supply, with renters being disproportionately affected. Renter households are four and a half times more likely to be in housing need, largely due to a severe shortage in rental properties. However, often the shortage is because properties are being left vacant rather than there not being enough properties. One such example is the explosion in the use of properties for short-term rentals such as Airbnbs. There are significant tax advantages that currently, perhaps inadvertently, incentivize owners of vacant properties to use them as for this purpose rather than as housing for longer-term renters.

While tourism is certainly a key component of our economy, the ability for families to secure long-term rentals for housing must also be prioritized. Perhaps if the tax structures were altered to, as a minimum, level the playing field between the two usage types, more property owners would choose to offer their properties for long-term rentals increasing the available supply.

What is also affecting the supply of shelter is the extent to which owned properties are simply being left vacant. Many of these properties are non-resident, foreign-owned. A temporary freeze on this type of ownership would be a substantive measure toward increasing the supply. Furthermore, a review of the tax conditions on properties that remain vacant for extended periods of time would also be important to look into.

The real estate market has been extensively exploited by money laundering, further compounding the problem of both the supply and the cost of housing. It is estimated that $47 billion is laundered annually across Canada with a significant portion, with some estimates as high as 68% of that being in the real estate market.

Nearly half of all real estate companies are not complying with key aspects of the FINTRAC anti-money laundering regime and Canadian authorities are failing to prosecute these financial crimes. Compliance and enforcement of Canada’s anti-money laundering must be a priority. Additionally, the introduction of beneficial ownership to increase transparency would be a significant measure that would increase the availability of housing supply and in turn reduce housing prices.

Finally, tax changes that would temper the rampant speculation in the housing market should also be explored. The purchase of properties for the sole purpose of “flipping” is contributing to the rapid price increases. Perhaps, the practice of “flipping” should be viewed in the context of a business operation and not as a principal residence.

Clearer residential requirements, including rules that disallow multiple principal residences within a certain period or time frame without supporting justification, such as a move for work, could all be important tax changes that should be considered, again to increase the housing supply and cool the drastic pricing increases.

While cost of housing may be a critical piece in the accessibility to a place Canadians can call home, it is not the only one. A steady and reliable income is as important on the path to home ownership. With over 30% of the Canadians precariously employed, addressing the housing crisis must include measures to increase not only the quantity, but also the quality, of jobs.

The last area that must be considered in addressing housing affordability is the standard and quality of available housing. The cost of a home is more than just the purchase price. It is also the annual recurring cost of heating, cooling, maintaining the house and much more. Significant technological advances offer much greater energy efficiency, lower carbon footprints and greater resilience against climate change events.

However, building codes lag far behind and government housing investments do not demand compliance with these higher standards. While a tax incentive to retrofit existing properties may be beneficial, the advantages of all-new builds meeting the highest possible standards and the corresponding contribution to home affordability should not be overlooked.

The national housing crisis must be urgently addressed. It requires real action to review detrimental tax treatments, address money laundering and rampant speculation, and support long-term environmental and sustainable thinking. Today’s opposition motion puts forward important actions that will give more people a real chance at securing a decent and affordable roof over their head, and in turn, secure Canada’s future. I urge everyone in this House to support this critical motion.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2021

Madam Speaker, money laundering is extensively exploited in Canadian real estate, and we have estimates that more than 50% of real estate companies are not complying with anti-money-laundering regulations. Furthermore, we are one of the few G7 countries that does not have laws around beneficial ownership.

I am wondering this. Could the parliamentary secretary give us any insight into whether or not this government is actually going to work towards enforcing Canada's anti-money-laundering regulations and implementing beneficial ownership to reduce money laundering in Canada?

Housing June 8th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a housing crisis, and the government has failed to act. In my riding and the GTA, housing prices are up by 25% in the last year, with the average household cost now over 33% higher than in the rest of Canada. Money laundering is extensively exploited in Canadian real estate, leaving many properties vacant. In Toronto alone, approximately 40% of condos are vacant, driving all prices up.

Will the government support our opposition day motion and urgently act to address Canada’s national housing crisis?

Business of Supply May 31st, 2021

Madam Chair, perhaps when that plan is available, the minister could table the conditions under which the border must reopen.

Business of Supply May 31st, 2021

Madam Chair, perhaps the minister could table the value of the lost U.S.-Canada trade.

The U.S. is rapidly opening its economy and has a plan to do so. What conditions must be in place for the Canada-U.S. border to reopen?

Business of Supply May 31st, 2021

Madam Chair, the closure of the Canada-U.S. border has had a drastic impact on Canada-U.S. trade. Could the minister provide us with the value of the trade that has been lost due to the border closure over the last 14 months?

Business of Supply May 31st, 2021

Madam Chair, this is critical. If the governor of Michigan is successful in shutting down Line 5, could the minister provide us with the plan that ensures the 540,000 barrels will be delivered by other means?

Business of Supply May 31st, 2021

Madam Chair, could the minister tell us when he will be meeting with the Governor of Michigan?

Business of Supply May 31st, 2021

Madam Chair, that has not been the case. The approach is not working.

The unilateral revoking of the Enbridge Line 5 easement remains unresolved, threatening the delivery of 540,000 barrels a day of petroleum products from Alberta and Saskatchewan that supply over 53% of Ontario's crude oil and 66% of Quebec's. This line is critical.

Has the Minister of Foreign Affairs met with the governor of Michigan?