You might call it the national housing “showdown.”
This coming Sunday in Ottawa representatives from the five political parties and five major housing-focused groups square off in what’s sure to be contentious debate on trending housing election issues such as homelessness, affordable housing, home ownership, housing affordability, rental costs and the right to housing.
While the party leaders won’t be there, candidates for the five major parties will debate, taking questions from both the moderators and the live audience.
Given the makeup of the panel, it should get heated. Representing the Liberals will be longtime Toronto housing advocate Adam Vaughan, Spadina-Fort York (Ontario). Likely sparring with him with be outspoken Conservative candidate Pierre Poilievre, Carleton (Ontario). The rest of the political side of the panel (it’s Ontario loaded) includes Angella MacEwen, NDP, Ottawa West-Nepean (Ontario), Geneviève Nadeau, Bloc Quebecois,Gatineau (Quebec) and Angela Keller-Herzog, Green Party of Canada, Ottawa Centre (Ontario).
Debating with the politicos will be spokespersons from the Canadian Real Estate Association, the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, the Canadian Home Builders' Association, and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada. The event being sponsored by this coalition of national housing associations.
The discussion will be moderated by Toronto Star columnist Heather Scoffield, La Presse Bureau Chief Joel-Denis Bellavance, and Canadian Press journalist Jordan Press.
As reported by Jenny Febbraro, a recent CBC poll revealed that despite Canada’s strong economic growth, affordable housing remains a top-of-mind issue for the majority of voters. With the rising costs of basics such as food and gas, Canadians are reeling from the anxiety to afford life in general.
Housing prices are out-of-reach right across the country. Data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) shows prices have jumped 38.5 per cent in the past three years alone in Charlottetown. By comparison, prices rose 25.3 per cent in Toronto, 21.6 per cent in Ottawa and 33.3 per cent in Victoria.
Recent data gathered by the Canadian Rental Housing Index revealed, for example, that Toronto renters who earned $45,498 a year are dedicating 40 per cent (or more) of their earnings to monthly housing costs. Live outside the downtown core, in York or Peel region, and those middle income earners are paying an average of per cent 44 and 38 per cent respectively.
If you want to attend the debate in person, here’s how to register. The three-hour debate starts at 5.30 p.m.
Housing has become a key campaign topic for the federal election with the major parties recently setting out their plans to improve affordability and supply.