So, with the NDP’s release of its campaign platform on Sunday, everybody’s ‘fessed up about their housing plans.
The Conservatives have voted in Cabinet to extend several important existing policies. This is good news generally, but those programs don’t do much for either existing co-ops or for building new ones.
The Liberals have announced their Green mortgages, plus grants for co-ops to help offset the costs. Linking housing and greenery is certainly innovative and seems sensible. I read someplace that buildings account for about a quarter of total greenhouse gas emissions, so knocking that down seems like a good idea. They also promise 30,000 new units, including co-ops, and refits to another 30,000. Nice numbers.
The NDP is offering to ramp up spending on co-ops and social to 1% of federal expenditure over the next ten years. That’s consistent with their long-standing commitment, unique among the major parties, to co-ops and affordable housing.
To your correspondent’s way of thinking, the most interesting thing about all this is that it represents the latest up-tick in federal interest in housing policy and supply. Not so long ago, the NDP were alone in putting housing in their platform. Now both of the other major parties are doing so. The Liberal commitment exceeds their promises last time around. The Conservatives hadn’t any previous commitment to beat, so in mathematical terms, this latest campaign represents an infinite improvement.
One could, I suppose, be cynical about all this and make jokes about whacking the dinosaur on the tail and waiting for its brain to register the impact, but this seems needlessly grumpy. Let’s hope, whoever is elected, we can build some new co-ops. It’d be about time.