Singh announces plans for British Columbia’s housing crisis

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has released several platform pledges that he said will make life more affordable for families in British Columbia, especially when it comes to the high cost of housing.

Singh announced on Wednesday that an NDP government would take new actions and put forward the funding necessary to combat money laundering and speculation in the housing market. He said that the efforts to address the housing crisis would build on some of the real-estate measures that the province has introduced. He styled his announcement as a “New Deal for BC.”

“Money laundering and speculation are driving up the cost of housing, and it means that it’s simply unattainable, unimaginable for far too many Canadians to ever own a place,” Singh told reporters in Vancouver.

Singh vowed to dedicate a unit of the RCMP to track and fight money laundering. The NDP would provide $20 million, including $10 million specifically for BC, to pay for the staffing costs of officers.

He said that his plan includes a national inquiry into money laundering. The BC inquiry has yet to set hearing dates, but the federal government has been approved to participate.

Singh said that New Democrats would also create a national beneficial ownership registry. Corporations, trusts and partnerships would have to disclose who owns them, which he said would allow tax authorities, police and regulators to crack down on tax evasion, fraud and money laundering.

Singh also promised a 15% federal tax on home purchases by foreign buyers to deal with speculators, on top of the 15%-20% taxes already levied in some parts of BC. NDP estimates that it will raise $320 million in the first full year of implementation, according to a report by The Canadian Press.

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