Green Party pressuring B.C. gov't to define 'success' in housing policy

In the wake of the release of the latest B.C. budget last week, the Green Party has urged the provincial government to provide specifics on how it will determine if its 30-point plan is successful in addressing the housing affordability crisis.

“Public policy is there to design and reach an outcome, and the public deserves to know the direction government is trying to take us,” Green Party leader Andrew Weaver said, as quoted by CBC News. “What outcomes is the government actually looking for with the plan it's putting forward? We’ve been stonewalled ... and that’s troubling.”

Weaver added that without clear goals, market risk will intensify.

“Let the air come out slowly so the market can stabilize over time. This is what we’re hoping to see an outcome with, but we’re not getting any direction in that regard,” he explained.

Read more: B.C.’s real estate taxes to impact activity in southern areas

In the budget, Finance Minister Carole James introduced an assortment of housing-related taxes, most notably an increase of 3% to 5% on the property transfer tax for properties over $3 million and a “speculation tax” on vacant homes in metropolitan markets.

James has yet to provide specific statements to both reporters and the Green Party regarding the government’s precise goals.

“We’re looking to moderate the market,” she said. “People will always want to live in B.C. But we want to make sure there are houses for people who live and work here.”

However, left undefined were the measures the government would be using to define affordability or what would make officials consider revising these new taxes.

“We’re going to be watching this housing plan closely. There may be changes that need to occur ... this tax is the first in the country, so we’re going to monitor it as we go along,” James noted.

 

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