VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Green caucus is seeking clarity on what the government is actually trying to achieve through its housing policy measures. Despite media coverage this week, Ministers James and Robinson failed to give a clear response in Question Period.
“Government needs to be clear about what they are trying to achieve with these policies,” said Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party.
“The government has spoken about ‘moderating’ and ‘stabilizing’ the market without providing a clear definition or any indication of whether they want to reduce house prices or maintain them at their current point.
“People need to be able to afford to live where they work in order for us to have a healthy economy. The ultimate goal of these measures should be for local incomes to more closely align with house prices. The ratio of house prices to incomes needs to be 3:1 to be considered affordable, with 5:1 being considered severely unaffordable. In the City of Vancouver the ratio is at 37:1.
“This crisis is reverberating throughout our economy. We have long heard from our tech sector - which should be driving the future economic growth of this province - that they are struggling to attract talent due to the astronomical cost of living in our cities. If we fail to take action we risk massive opportunities to diversify our economy.”
Weaver asked Minister Robinson to articulate an outcome in Question Period on Wednesday. After not receiving a clear answer, Adam Olsen, B.C. Green spokesperson for housing, put the question to the Finance Minister, and again failed to receive a clear response.
“The government delayed taking action on the housing market in the Fall, instead promising a comprehensive housing platform in this budget”, Olsen added. “British Columbians have waited for action from their government for a long time - it's essential that the government is now upfront about what they are trying to achieve with their housing plan.
“We are in a housing crisis. Vancouver is one of the top four cities in the world most at risk of a housing bubble. Responsibly deflating the bubble is the right thing to do for our economy and for our communities.”
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