Latest News

Candidates weigh in on housing crisis

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 11:24 PDT, Mon September 13, 2021

Last Updated: 10:57 PDT, Tue September 14, 2021

Candidates in the ridings of Richmond Centre and Steveston–Richmond East share their views on how to move forward

RICHMOND CENTRE

LAURA GILLANDERS

Green Party candidate

Why are you running in this election?

“The people in Richmond Centre deserve the choice of voting Green. I’m committed to using my voice and advocacy to help protect the incredible natural assets in Richmond. Rampant forest fires burn in the province and people everywhere are living in uncertainty about the future. Canada doesn't need a majority government in Ottawa right now, we need to be working together to fight climate change and get through this pandemic.”


Housing accessibility and affordability continue to be major concerns for Richmond residents. What is your personal solution?

“We are in a housing crisis with many contributing factors and overlapping consequences—speculation, commodifying, lack of supply, cost of land, cost to build, red tape, foreign ownership, and last but not least, money laundering. Yes, home ownership is the goal of many, but equally or more important is secure, affordable rental supply. I’m passionate about rental housing because that was the reality for my family. This isn’t the reality for most people.

Many issues contributing to the problems in Richmond need to be addressed at the municipal and provincial levels, but there is more the federal government can do. We need to restrict foreign ownership, which some parties are now promising to do for two years. I believe foreign investors should not be allowed to purchase single-family homes. 

We also need thousands of purpose-built market rental units in Richmond and in cities across the country. The national housing strategy provides incentives to developers to build rental units and we need to expand and increase that program. There could be incentives for municipalities to keep already densified housing stock such as duplexes and four-plexes, and we need better co-ordination of funding for the whole range of accessible housing projects such as co-ops.”


JAMES HINTON

People’s Party candidate

No responses were available by our press deadline.


WILSON MIAO

Liberal Party candidate

Why are you running in this election?

“We are a city known for its unique culture and diverse demographics. Over the past decade, I have noticed many issues that can be addressed and communicated to Parliament. Canada has provided me with many opportunities, and it is important for me to promote and uphold Canadian values. As a proud Richmond resident, I am here to represent the entire community. Regardless of your age, gender, race, or ethnicity—you can count on me to listen to your concerns, understand your perspectives, and bring your voice back to Ottawa.”


Housing accessibility and affordability continue to be major concerns for Richmond residents. What is your personal solution?

“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. A challenging housing market and high rent prices has made the dream of owning a home feel impossible for many Canadians—particularly young Canadians, who aren't asking for a free house; they're asking for a fair shot. We will build more affordable homes, introduce a rent-to-own program and a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights, support multigenerational living, and further support first-time buyers. Having worked in the real estate industry, I have seen the joy of helping young families find their first home. We are committed to supporting Canadians with home ownership. “


SANDRA NIXON

NDP candidate

Why are you running in this election?

“Two words: people and planet. It’s never been clearer that these need to be our priorities as a society. And our government needs to do better—much better—for both. 

People are hurting, and so is our planet. Our Richmond community (and our country) are living through a pandemic, housing/affordability crisis, and climate emergency, along with an inadequate health care system, deep inequities and systemic racism. 

We need fresh voices in Parliament to show up and speak up on these issues, and for the specific interests and concerns of Richmondites. Having worked at the grassroots and municipal levels on many of the issues facing us, I’m now ready to bring my community leadership and advocacy experience to work for positive change in Ottawa; for a brighter future for Richmond, and for all.”


Housing accessibility and affordability continue to be major concerns for Richmond residents. What is your personal solution?

“We're hearing from many Richmondites that finding a good place to live is increasingly difficult, thanks to skyrocketing rents, demo-victions and ballooning home prices. Parents are watching their kids move out of the community they grew up in, to the suburbs or even farther in order to find an affordable place to live. This is a complex issue and many different strategies are needed. 

First, we need to help renters right now who are struggling to pay rent. The NDP will provide renters with low incomes a rent subsidy of up to $5,000 per year to help pay rent as we emerge from the pandemic, and until the supply of good, affordable rental housing is increased. We also want to tighten the rules to prevent big developers from ‘renovicting’ families.

Second, the NDP is committed to building 500,000 new units of non-market, co-op, and social housing. This will involve re-purposing existing government-owned land, and giving planning resources, startup funds, long-term leases, and a break on GST to community non-profits who want to build affordable housing. I would also personally push for more units of supportive housing (such as temporary modular) that include other supports for particularly vulnerable people and families.

Speculation, including house-flipping, is a major reason house prices have gotten so out of reach for many people. The NDP want to impose a 20 per cent foreign home buyers' tax to help curb foreign speculation in our housing market. I also support the NDP plan to curb house-flipping by enhancing the capital gains tax.” 


ALICE WONG

Conservative Party candidate

Why are you running in this election?

“I am running for re-election for Richmond Centre because I still have plenty of energy, and serving the people of Richmond gives me even more. It gives me motivation to hear when our office is successfully able to assist a constituent. Likewise, I also diligently listen to everyone's concerns and thoughts about the direction our country is heading.”


Housing accessibility and affordability continue to be major concerns for Richmond residents. What is your personal solution?

“Let us recognize that one reason why housing is expensive in Richmond is because our city is a wonderful place to live. Since people recognize this, it boosts demand. My vision is for a wide range of available housing at different price ranges. As long as Richmond remains a great city to live in, there will always be high demand for our real estate, both to own and rent.

All three levels of government have a role to play in affordability. There are no single solutions, but there are options that will have a positive impact.  It is simple economics that if supply does not rise to meet the demand (partly caused by population increases), prices will rise. Federally, my preferred direction is to support policies that will help expand supply, and to encourage provincial and municipal governments to accommodate supply-friendly policies as well.  On the federal side, we can examine and implement recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering, which should reduce demand, especially in the Lower Mainland.”

STEVESTON–RICHMOND EAST


PARM BAINS

Liberal Party candidate

Why are you running in this election?

“I am passionate about serving the community I have been a lifelong resident of and am raising my kids in.

In my role with the Richmond Community Foundation, I witnessed the tremendous effort organizations make in our community, but I also saw the gaps in the support that they need to provide.

As a university instructor, I hear from young people, and they are concerned about how affordable life will be in the future.

I, quite simply, want people to enjoy their lives.

The only way Canadians can enjoy their lives is if they have the necessary support and services.

I will use my over 15 years of public policy experience to identify issues and foster relationships between the government and community of Steveston–Richmond East.”


Housing accessibility and affordability continue to be major concerns for Richmond residents. What is your personal solution?

“My personal solution is to champion our housing initiatives. I strongly believe every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home, and that's no different right here in Steveston–Richmond East. Our plan will help renters in Steveston–Richmond East achieve their goal of owning a home by:

• introducing a rent-to-own program to help renters become homeowners

• improving the First Time Home Buyer Incentive

• reducing closing costs when buying a home

• reducing monthly mortgage costs”


KENNY CHIU

Conservative Party candidate

Why are you running in this election?

“As the incumbent candidate I have been honoured to serve the people of Steveston–Richmond East, and I hope to continue serving this community after this election, as I have for nearly 30 years.”


Housing accessibility and affordability continue to be major concerns for Richmond residents. What is your personal solution?

“We have a housing crisis around Canada, but especially here in Richmond. The astronomical year-over-year increase in house prices is shocking and unsustainable. The supply of homes—to own as well as to rent—is not keeping up with our
growing population and too many foreign investors are sitting on properties as investments. 

Canada’s Conservatives will increase the rate of home construction to build a million homes over the next three years and make homes more affordable by: 

• reviewing the extensive real estate portfolio of the federal government—the largest property owner in the country with over 37,000 buildings—and releasing at least 15 percent for homes

• requiring municipalities receiving federal funding for public transit to increase density near the funded transit

• encouraging Canadians to invest in rental homes by allowing the deferral of capital gains tax when selling a rental property

• banning foreign investors from buying homes here if they are not planning to live in or move to Canada

• encouraging foreign investment in affordable purpose-built rental housing for Canadians

• providing more Canadians with a path to home ownership by making it easier for more families to get a mortgage”


FRANÇOISE RAUNET

Green Party candidate

Why are you running in this election?

“I am deeply concerned about the future that we are leaving for our youth. The ecological emergencies (climate change, ocean acidification, deforestation, etc.) that are threatening ecosystems, causing more frequent extreme weather events, and killing off species are caused by decades of overconsumption and mismanagement of our precious natural resources. Not only is our GDP-obsessed global economy killing the planet, it seems designed to channel wealth to the top five per cent while average workers struggle harder and harder to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads. This cannot continue.”


Housing accessibility and affordability continue to be major concerns for Richmond residents. What is your personal solution?

“Having grown up in Vancouver, I have watched as more and more of my school friends move away in order to make a life that they could afford for their growing families. The affordability crisis, for both renters and those hoping to one day buy, has made finding adequate housing nearly impossible for the average worker. I know people who have been working for over a decade who still can't afford to rent an apartment without having roommates.

I think that the housing crisis is complex, and the solutions require a combination of policies attacking the problem from different angles. First, we need a massive investment in public housing—co-ops, social housing, and transitional and supportive housing. I believe we also need to place greater limits on housing speculation and money laundering in the real estate sector, which is driving up prices for locals as money from outside our region moves in and invests in real estate and rental properties. I also believe that we need to allow municipalities more autonomy. The fact that business property taxes must be paid by the small businesses that lease them (instead of the investors who own them) is an example of how provincial legislation prevents municipalities from using every tool at their disposal to deal with the housing crisis.”


JENNIFER SINGH

People’s Party candidate

Why are you running in this election?

“We are a party that believes in freedom—freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of thought.”


Housing accessibility and affordability continue to be major concerns for Richmond residents. What is your personal solution?

No response was available by our press deadline.


JACK TROVATO

NDP candidate

Why are you running in this election?

“I am committed to advocating on behalf of the constituents of Steveston–Richmond East for a fairer, greener, more just society that makes life a little easier for working Canadians and that is focused on a hopeful vision for a better tomorrow. I will do so by constantly challenging the status quo of our current economic, social, and political policies and by establishing new ones that serve the common good of all Canadians. These are challenging times for a lot of people.”


Housing accessibility and affordability continue to be major concerns for Richmond residents. What is your personal solution?

“New Democrats believe that it’s time to help people. We have an ambitious plan that will make a difference in every community in our country—because finding a good, affordable place to live shouldn’t be like winning the lottery. It’s time to relieve the stress and worry that people feel by choosing to make it easier to rent and buy a home.  

A major part of the long-term solution to the problem is to ensure that more affordable rental units are built across the country. One in three Canadians is a renter. In many cities, what few affordable apartments there are get snapped up quickly, and people end up living in inadequate housing or (are) simply forced to spend a huge chunk of their income on rent.  

A New Democrat government will create at least 500,000 units of quality, affordable housing in the next 10 years, with half of that done within five years. In order to kick-start the construction of co-ops, social and non-profit housing and break the logjam that has prevented these groups from accessing housing funding, we will set up dedicated fast-start funds to streamline the application process and help communities get the expertise and assistance they need to get projects off the ground now, not years from now. We’ll mobilize federal resources and lands for these projects, turning unused and under-used properties into vibrant new communities.”

See more canada news

See All

See more international news

  See All
© 2021 Richmond Sentinel News Inc. All rights reserved. Designed by Intelli Management Group Inc.