NDP leader pitches affordable housing plans

By Geraldine Grones

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has proposed three measures he said will help build 500,000 new affordable housing units across Canada over the next 10 years.

Singh called on the federal government to stop applying GST to the cost of building new affordable units, provide a subsidy to renters who spend more than 30% of their income on housing, and increase first-home buyers’ tax credit from $750 to $1,500.

Singh said these measures are part of a broader NDP housing plan that will be released later. He is running in the Feb. 25 by-election in Burnaby South, where he said affordable housing is the top issue.

But his housing announcement is aimed more broadly at trying to win back progressive voters from the governing Liberals in urban centres across the country, according to a report by The Canadian Press.

"We need to get serious about this [housing] crisis," Singh said, accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of delaying the roll-out of the bulk of promised housing funding until after the Oct. 21 federal election. "Mr. Trudeau is not serious about this crisis. He likes to talk about it but his actions don't back this up."

Toronto MP Adam Vaughan, the government’s point man on housing, said the Liberal government has spent nearly $5.7 billion on housing.

"I don't think there's a government in the history of this country that's been invested in housing the way we have," Vaughan said outside a Liberal caucus retreat in Ottawa. "The NDP can talk about housing. We're busy building it."

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