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Prof says governments have screwed up housing policy

That means buy a home or be homeless. But it’s hard to get a home.




Ian Lee, business professor at Carleton University, says governments at all three levels have messed up housing policy, each in their own way.

“There are reasons from all three levels, some deliberate and some accidental,” Lee said in an interview with Western Standard.

Federal fiscal policy has created a lot of “easy money” and low-interest rates, driving up prices, Lee said.

“We have a very good system of foreign investment creating a lot of new housing in Canada as we add immigrants and grow the population” and “Canada has become a very safe market for foreign investment,” but “not a great market for Canadians looking for choices around housing,” Adam Vaughan, the Parliamentary Secretary for Housing, recently said in a TV Ontario interview with Steve Paikin.

Lee said some provinces have failed too.

“Provincial governments have imposed rent controls, or have threatened to impose rent controls, and which caused investors, understandably, to exit the market. And now we have a shortage across Canada of rental properties,” he said.

That means buy a home or be homeless. But it’s hard to get a home.

“There are numerous policies at the municipal level across Canada, municipalities, GTA, City of Ottawa, Vancouver, where they’ve not only put very serious restrictions in their attempt to limit urban sprawl. Who goes to buy houses at the edge of any city? Young people because they don’t have a lot of money. And immigrants because when they come to Canada they don’t have a lot of money,” said Lee.

Lee added bedroom communities are burgeoning outside of Ottawa, where he lives, proving urban sprawl actually spreads under such policies.

“Most counselors are want to slow down the development, stop it and or slow it down. So they put lots and lots of barriers in front to slow it down. And they’ll say, well, we’re just being careful, we’re being prudent,” said Lee.

That is, until developers try to get a project going that goes through various city departments trying to get approval. 

“They’re making minor changes in one department, then we go over to another department that goes back to the first department. These are deliberate choices,” Lee said.

A 2018 Fraser Institute study showed it took one to two years for Ontario municipalities to approve building developments. In the Golden Horseshoe around Lake Ontario, the average regulatory cost per dwelling unit was over $48,000.

Lee used to manage mortgages for the Bank of Montreal. He said even when interest rates went crazy in the early 1970s and 1980s, the delinquency rate was only around one percent.

“The more money you have in equity in a property, the more likely you’re gonna pay your bill because you don’t want to lose your skin in the game. Delinquency is absolutely statistically correlated to down payment. Secondly, it’s absolutely statistically correlated to income. So all the rest is just smoke and window dressing and posturing.”

If Lee is right, governments have little to worry about. Canadians are making large down payments when buying a home, especially in expensive provinces like BC (22.5%) and Ontario (20.4%). Nova Scotia (18.54%), Alberta (15.15%), and Quebec (14.68%) were much lower.

Another surprise is that during the pandemic Canadians got more mortgages than ever.

“In the context of a negative economic shock, we would have expected a decline in the total number of mortgage borrowers. Instead, the total number of mortgage transactions averaged 276,401 in Canada over the last three quarters of 2020. This is up from 265,773 over the same period in 2019 and 231,064 in 2018.” read a recent CHMC report.

The dollar value of Canadian building permits fell to $9.5 billion in May, a record 14.8 % drop from the month before. A pullback was expected, however, after four consecutive months of new record highs and higher material prices.

Harding is a Western Standard correspondent based in Saskatchewan

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  1. Rose

    July 8, 2021 at 2:38 pm

    Left Coast…
    “Immigration causing Global Warming” is just a meme meant to mock the left.
    But a Trudeau solution would just slap a carbon tax on every immigrant. lol

  2. Rose

    July 8, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    Yes, I know the global warming propaganda is 100% fake. My comment was meant to highlight the hypocrisy using their own lingo & supposide concerns, verses what they’re actually doing. Certainly not to give credence to their global warming theory.

  3. Left Coast

    July 8, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    Rose . . .

    If Gorebull Warming was REAL . . . why would our “Betters” be in favor of Private Jets, 100 million dollar UN Conferences, and moving 10s of Millions of the earth’s Population to Northern Democracies?

    No one is immigrating to Japan, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia or dozens of other countries . . . just to countries where the “Free Stuff” is the best.

    I AGW was real . . . it would make much more sense to move the population south to REDUCE their effect on the Planet. But we know today that everything they do is to eliminate your Rights & Freedoms while reducing your ability to function independent of the Govt.

    If you read “Immigration causing Gorebull Warming” . . . you need to read again?
    AGW = Unproven Hypothesis after 30 years of Propaganda!

  4. Rose

    July 8, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    Revelation… Immigration causing Global Warming!!

  5. Left Coast

    July 8, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Ian Lee is a bright guy and much of what he says makes sense . . .
    But I question the entire “Immigration” question . . .
    Much of Canada has been transformed in the last 50 years to a completely different place.
    If you came back to Toronto or Vancouver today after being away 50 years you would not believe what you were seeing.
    In the Lower Mainland some of the best Farmland on the Planet has been paved over for warehouses & housing projects. As City Councils follow the UN 2030 density guidelines people are packed into smaller & smaller spaces costing more & more dollars as Govts regulate & tax everything. Has life gotten better for the people, hell no, today every criminal gang on the planet operates in the region.

    Then factor in the constant drum-beat of the Global Warmists . . . why would it make sense to move Millions of People from Temperate Climates to Northern Countries like Canada where their Karbon Footprints are increased 1000s of times. The Govt then spends their tax dollars trying to Cut Emissions?

    Our feckless Politicians and our Corporate FakeStream Media never ask any of these questions . . . as our quality of life declines and our children are indoctrinated in Govt Schools.

  6. K

    July 8, 2021 at 10:09 am

    UN Agenda 2030. You will own nothing and you (won’t) be happy.

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Chu wants meeting with Gondek ‘to tell the truth’

Mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek told a city hall press conference she will not swear Chu in, when council meets for the first time on Monday.




Embattled Calgary Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu wants to sit down with incoming mayor Jyoti Gondek to plead his case about a sexual incident 24 years ago.

Gondek said Thursday she will refuse to swear in Chu during the first council meeting on Monday.

“I want her to hear the whole truth. I will provide that to her,” Chu told reporters at a press conference.

Chu also offered to sit down with other incoming council members — most of whom are calling for him resign — to explain his side of the story.

“I always work with anybody but they have only heard media reports … some of which has been untruthful,” said Chu.

“I will sit down in private with them and answer any question they have.”

He added he thought it would be a judge who does the swearing-in.

“I was duly elected by the people of Ward 4. I told the truth,” he said, adding was surprised at the amount of support he has received from Ward 4 voters in e-mails and letters.

Chu said this would be his last election as he was a proponent of term limits for councillors at three terms.

“The Sean Chu situation continues to get more disturbing,” Gondek said prior to the press conference.

“This is a travesty for the young woman that was courageous enough to come forward … she needs to have this taken seriously, and he needs to resign in order for that to happen.

“[Chu] can absolutely show up. He won’t be sworn in by me.”

In his only interview so far, Chu had told the Western Standard on Tuesday he had no intention of resigning, but did apologize to a woman he had a sexual encounter with 24 years ago.

Since then, pressure has mounted with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Gondek, most of the incoming council, and even local Conservative MPs all saying Chu should resign.

At the press conference, Chu apologized to the woman who was involved in the original incident and his family.

“My daughter is crying a lot. My children are going through a lot,” Chu said, asking for his family’s privacy.

“I’ve had CTV camping out at my house.”

Chu confirmed other details he told the Western Standard during the exclusive interview on Tuesday.

City of Calgary officials confirmed Chu won the election race in Ward 4 by a mere 52 votes after allegations surfaced last week of his involvement in August of 1997 with a girl who was just 16 at the time.

“This was nothing but a political assassination,” said Chu.

Chu, who has represented Ward 4 since 2013, also fired back at some media reports which he claims were completely wrong.

Chu, then a serving Calgary Police Services officer, said he met the unidentified girl at a pub near Macleod Tr. and 94 Ave.

At some point in their interaction, Chu caressed the girl’s leg, an incident that later earned him a letter of reprimand on his file.

Chu said the girl seemed interested in him so when he was off duty he changed into civilian clothes and went back to the pub to meet the girl.

The evening continued with Chu and the girl eventually heading to his home.

Chu “categorically” denied media reports that a gun was produced during the evening at his home. He said he checked his service weapon in at the police’s traffic office when he signed off duty.

He said at the home, the two had consensual foreplay before she asked to go home.

Chu also addressed a 2008 fight with his wife that ended with police responding and seizing a firearm.

The incident happened in February 2008, when Chu was running in a provincial election for the Progressive Conservatives in Calgary-Buffalo.

He said his wife ran to a neighbour’s after a verbal argument. Chu said his now ex-wife never intended to call police, but the neighbour did.

After consultation with the Edmonton Crown, no charges were laid.

“This was at the lowest point of my life,” Chu said, adding he sought mental health help after it.

“I have never threatened or harmed my wife or children.”

Chu served as a Calgary police officer from 1992 until he was elected in 2013.

During the investigation, Chu underwent a lengthy lie detector test asking him questions about consent and if a weapon was used. Chu said he passed all the tests.

Premier Jason Kenney described the allegations as “appalling,” but said he didn’t think there was any way for the province to remove a councillor who hasn’t been convicted under the Criminal Code.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard

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WATCH: Vancouver restaurant served closure order for non-compliance with ‘Public Health Act’

“The operator is intentionally allowing the congregation of unvaccinated individuals at the establishment,” wrote the closure order.




Another BC restaurant has been ordered to close its doors in the name of public health.

“I’m a mother of four,” restaurant owner Rebecca Matthews pleaded with health officials and police.

Corduroy Restaurant — nestled in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood — has been offering service to customers without checking their vaccination status against COVID-19.

Under the BC Vaccine Card, people are required to show proof-of-vaccination against COVID-19 in order to access a variety of settings, such as dining.

In response to Corduroy having potentially committed the crime of serving unvaccinated customers, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH) sent environmental health officer Ryan Hammel — accompanied by Vancouver police — bearing a closure order for non-compliance on Wednesday.

“The operator is intentionally allowing the congregation of unvaccinated individuals at the establishment,” wrote the order, whilst listing off several more “health hazards,” such as “failing to comply with the Face Coverings Order.”

The closure order — signed by VCH medical officer, Dr. Michael Schwandt — says the establishment must remain closed until authorized by a medical officer.

Matthews told the Western Standard health officials showed up at her restaurant on Tuesday morning to “investigate some complaints.”

On Wednesday, Hammel served the closure order.

WATCH: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVQ1f8nhN2m/

“They wouldn’t even discuss anything with me,” said Matthews.

“We reduced our hours, we started doing counter service … these are all things that are — according to the provincial health orders — considered safe.”

Matthews said she’s looking into the closure order to determine how best to proceed.

“I have a family, but at the same time we still want to create a space for people that don’t have anywhere else to go … so we’re just trying to navigate the next steps in the best way for everybody, including my family. Our plan is not to just go away,” she said.

Wednesday is not the first time Corduroy has taken a hit for defying provincial health orders, as its license was suspended six months ago for offering in-person dining, when no such thing was permitted.

During a September 20 staff forum, the Chief Medical Health Officer of VCH, Dr. Patricia Daly, said vaccine passports in settings such as Corduroy’s are not intended to prevent transmission.

“The vaccine passport requires certain people to be vaccinated to do certain discretionary activities such as go to restaurants, movies, gyms … not because these places are high risk,” said Daly.

“We’re not actually seeing COVID transmission in these settings, it’s really to create an incentive to improve our vaccination coverage.”

A Go Fund Me has been set up for Matthew’s by a verified third party to cover legal fees so Corduroy can “continue to stand up for the rights of their patrons, their medical privacy and choice.”

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard

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Gondek appoints controversial Carter as chief of staff

He received $130,000 in severance for his six months as chief of staff for Alison Redford.




Incoming Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek has appointed Stephen Carter, formerly Premier Alison Redford’s chief of staff and Naheed Nenshi campaign manager, as her own chief of staff.

Carter masterminded Gondek’s campaign and saw her come from well back in early election polls to an eventual easy victory over rival Jeromy Farkas.

Carter in February also threatened to sue the Western Standard when it published a story about a former Calgary city councillor filing an official complaint with Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer alleging Gondek used third-party funds to pay for a city-wide brochure mail-drop.

Almost immediately after publishing, Carter threatened Western Standard News Editor Dave Naylor with a lawsuit. He tweeted:

“That was quick: Ok. You will be getting a letter from our lawyer shortly. Straight to Jono? Does he defend you as well?”

We told Carter that any further correspondence should be directed to our lawyers. 

He then took to Twitter to brag about his impending lawsuit to shut the Western Standard up. 

Carter never followed through on his threats.

Carter was once famously referred to as “Chief of Stiff” by the Calgary Sun after he become embroiled in a scandal where he didn’t pay his bills.

The Sun reported a company owned by Carter, Carter McRae Events, “owes more than $600,000, most of it to the University of Calgary, and hasn’t coughed up a cent in court-ordered judgments.”

He resigned from Redford’s staff and received $130,000 in severance for his six months work.

Stephen Carter (photo credit: Calgary Sun)

“If that’s the full amount, that’s still pretty eye-popping,” said Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith at the time.

“A six-figure severance for six months worth of work? An employee who voluntarily leaves should not get severance at all. This certainly doesn’t happen in the private sector.”

Carter, who had been Redford’s strategist in the 2011 Tory leadership race, became her chief of staff when she took office in October of that year.

He was also the mastermind behind Nenshi’s unexpected election victory 11 years ago.

Gondek also announced Amie Blanchette as deputy chief of staff, Catherine Seymour as operations manager and Allison Bates as communications advisor.

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