VANCOUVER — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is releasing platform pledges he insists will make life more affordable for families in British Columbia — especially when it comes to the sky-high cost of housing.
Singh announced Wednesday that an NDP government would take new federal actions and put forward the funding necessary to help tackle money laundering and speculation in the housing market. The efforts, he said, to address the housing crisis would build on some of the real-estate measures the province has introduced in recent years.
“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.
“Many people can’t even find a place that they can afford to rent.”
He said he would dedicate a unit of the RCMP to track and fight money laundering. The NDP would provide $20 million — and $10 million specifically for B.C. — that would include paying for the staffing costs of officers.
Singh said New Democrats would also create a national beneficial ownership registry to ensure that property ownership cannot be hidden behind numbered companies. B.C. became the first province to establish such a registry this year.
He also vowed to establish a 15 per cent national tax on foreign buyers to deal with housing speculation, on top of the 15 to 20 per cent tax already levied in some parts of B.C. The tax would apply to buyers who aren’t citizens or permanent residents.
Singh is running for re-election in the Vancouver-area riding of Burnaby South.
“People are faced with a lot of costs of living — it’s getting more and more expensive,” he said.
“Salaries aren’t keeping up, but costs are rising.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2019.