Budget 2017 fails to address Victoria’s housing crisis
Middle class families continue to wait for expected relief
March 22nd, 2017 - 7:16pm
Victoria, BC – Member of Parliament of Victoria Murray Rankin said today’s budget recognizes that the federal government must invest in affordable housing but doesn’t deliver the immediate help Victoria needs.
“Victoria desperately needs federal investments in affordable housing,” said Rankin. “We need assurances that help is on the way to get shovels into the ground immediately.”
“The housing money in today’s budget doesn’t start flowing at all until next year and only 9% of the housing funding announced today will actually be available before the next election,” said Rankin, “Victoria has the lowest rental vacancy rate in Canada and we urgently need more market and non-market housing built to increase supply and stop spiraling rent costs.”
Overall, Rankin said the budget doesn’t deliver on expected relief for middle class families and Canadians who are struggling to get by. “While there is a lot of talk about how life is more unaffordable for middle-class families, we are not seeing much action on solutions,” said Rankin.
“Take an issue like childcare, which has been priced out of reach for too many parents in Victoria. Just 15 cents of every childcare dollar announced today will actually be invested before the next election—and more than half won't come until the next election year. That doesn’t do anything for families struggling to find affordable childcare in Victoria this year,” said Rankin, “It’s also about choices. If the government kept their promise to close tax loopholes, they could double that childcare money and get it flowing to parents right away.”
Question marks still hang over key infrastructure projects that require federal help. Rankin says he was looking for funding for the Belleville International Ferry Terminal, a project that is critical to Victoria’s growing tourism sector. “There was no announcement in today’s budget but I’m hoping we will receive some good news in the next few weeks.”