Calgary Shepard MP takes Ottawa Liberals to task

by Ephraim Vecina on 22 Jun 2018

The Ottawa Liberals’ actions are running counter to their earlier promises of becoming advocates for middle- and lower-class Canadians’ rights to housing, according to Calgary Shepard MP Tom Kmiec.

In a recent opinion piece for the Edmonton Journal, Kmiec noted that the Liberals’ decision to veto “on two separate occasions, motions before Parliament’s finance committee that would have studied the effects of the most recent, and drastic changes to federal mortgage rules known as B-20,” is sending a message that the party does not care about the day-to-day living costs of the average Canadian.

Kmiec, who is also a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, championed both motions. He argued that far from improving the Canadian home buyer’s situation, the Liberals and the OSFI have instead pushed this market segment to the breaking point via B-20.

“Six months into 2018 and the harmful effects of these new mortgage changes have already been realized. A recent CBC article reported that over 100,000 Canadians would fail the stress test, and that 50,000 Canadians would be blocked from purchasing a home,” Kmiec wrote. “Imagine tens of thousands of Canadians having homeownership yanked from their grasp. That is the reality that these changes have created.”

Read more: Wage anxiety to continue undercutting Canadians’ spending

Fresh data from Mortgage Professionals Canada further supported this point, Kmiec said. In a recent study, MPC reported that up to 20% more mortgages have been denied by the biggest lenders since the implementation of B-20. “This huge dip in economic activity has caused the Bank of Canada to post the lowest mortgage growth in Canada since 2001.”

“Regulation for the sake of regulation, or worse, misplaced regulation, is not good public policy. Regardless of the intentions behind these new mortgage changes, the impact has been catastrophic,” he added. “The Liberals have introduced over a dozen regulatory changes to mortgage rules in three short years, which evidently are not achieving much in terms of improving affordability or stability in the market.”

It is this eagerness to micromanage the market without even the benefit of a close study of the potential effects that has brought the market to its current stated, Kmiec stated.

“When market indicators show home sales plummeting as much as 20%, and huge segments of the population being forced out of the housing market, logic would indicate that further study is warranted,” he lamented. “That’s precisely what I have asked for: an opportunity to study the effects that the B-20 mortgage rules on Canadian families. Sadly, the Liberals aren’t in favour of getting more evidence.”

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