New Democratic leader Jagmeet Singh continued his push to win progressive voters by promising that an NDP government would invest billions of dollars in affordable housing.
During a campaign event in downtown Ottawa on Tuesday, Singh announced that his government would build 500,000 new affordable homes over 10 years, starting with an immediate investment of $5 billion.
“Our priorities are the people behind me, the families who need affordable housing, the people who tell me that they cannot find a place to live,” he said.
Singh cited a report by parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux in June, which found that under the Liberals’ plan, spending on affordable housing is slated to fall as a percentage of the economy over the next decade. While the actual dollar figure is set to rise, Giroux found that federal spending on housing is set to decline from 0.13% of Canada’s GDP in 2017-18 to 0.11% in 2027-28.
“We hear Mr. Trudeau talk about there is a housing crisis with more of those pretty words,” Singh said. “You know, acknowledging the problem, but then when it comes to the actual solving of the problem, empty promises.”
However, Singh was hard-pressed to say where he would get $5 billion for affordable housing in the first year of his mandate and instead pointed to the Liberal government having found billions to pay for corporate tax cuts and the Keystone XL pipeline.
“When something is a priority, Mr. Trudeau seems to go out and do it,” Singh said. “But it hasn’t been a priority to make people’s lives better. We believe our priority should be investing in people, investing in housing, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Singh previously promised to hike taxes on corporations and the wealthy, close various tax loopholes and crack down on tax evasion, but he said that all revenues from those measures would be put into social programs, according to a report by The Canadian Press.