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Q&A: Barrie-Innisfil candidates chime in on housing situation

BarrieToday contacted Barrie-Innisfil candidates to hear what they have to say on a series of topics ahead of Thursday's provincial election

Editor's note: BarrieToday contacted all of the candidates in the Barrie-Innisfil riding to hear what they have to say on a series of topics ahead of Thursday's provincial election. Each candidate was asked to provide a 150-word response. Here is what they had to say about the housing situation. 

Benjamin Hughes, independent:

The housing situation is a supply and demand issue. Demand is very high, therefore adding to the supply is much needed.

With that in mind, if we add to much to supply while the Bank of Canada continues to raise interest rates and dampening demand we could find ourselves with too much supply and not enough demand.

So I would like to build more homes while keeping an eye on the demand.

Jake Tucker, Ontario People’s Front:

We officially support a Quality-of-Living Bill of Rights. 

Government ought to create a crown corporation to guarantee everyone who wants a good quality apartment gets one at a rental price based on the ability to pay. 

Homeless people who accept such cooperative style housing wouldn't pay until they acquire employment.

Pekka Reinio, NDP:

There are a number of steps that need to be taken to address the housing crisis in Ontario, including:

Removal of obstacles to building mixed-use homes within existing city limits. 

Reinstate rent controls.

Get more people into the skilled trades to meet the demand for more homes.

Help first time buyers with a downpayment.

Clamp down on investor-led speculation by increasing the Non-Resident Speculation Tax and introducing a Vacancy Tax on to speculators who pay the majority of their taxes outside the province.”

Grace Dean, Ontario Party: 

Give more freedom to property owners to build larger multi-unit residential dwellings.

Ontario settles around half of the immigrants who relocate to Canada. Secure the same right to set immigration policy as the Province of Quebec and use those powers to adjust immigration rates and settlement patterns with the ultimate outcome of reducing unsupportable housing demand in many of Ontario’s urban areas.

Establish an Ontario-focused foreign purchasing ban on residential homes.

Put into effect money laundering task force charged with rooting out corruption and instituting needed regulatory changes related to real estate sales and purchases.”

Bonnie North, Green:

Spending $10B to add more highways won’t create affordable housing or reduce pollution. Instead, it’ll make both problems much worse.

Among many things, Greens will build livable, affordable communities, that work for everyone, without recklessly paving over green space and wetlands. Greens commit to building 182K new, permanently affordable community rental homes, including 60K permanent, supportive units, over the next decade, and renew 260K community housing rental homes.

Moreover, we’ll reinstate rental controls on all units to regulate increases year to year.

We’ll develop and support alternative home ownership programs (eg. co-housing, tiny homes, & rent to own), to assist low & middle income first-time home buyers.

We’ll also develop a down payment support plan to assist low and middle income, first-time home buyers, and increase incentives, with streamlined application processes, for first-time home owners to add affordable rental units, to help them pay down their mortgages.

John Olthuis, Liberal:

The Ontario Liberal plan will double the pace of homebuilding next year, and keep that pace going until we’ve built 1.5 million new homes on places like poorly used strip malls, land held for speculation, and available government properties.

The 1.5 million homes include truly affordable homes like new social and supportive housing for people who need it. To help double the pace of homebuilding, the Liberal plan will create a new Ontario Home Building Corporation (OHBC) to finance and build new, affordable homes.

This OHBC will work with local communities, as well as not-for-profit and private housing partners to build and maintain affordable homes of all types, either as a primary financing source or builder. Any homes sold by the OHBC will be available only to first-time home buyers, and any proceeds will go directly back into creating more affordable homes;

Ban new non-resident ownership and put a tax on empty homes.