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British Columbia: Housing, immigration and election smear campaigns

Post-election, five Canadians pinpoint the most pressing issues in their province for Prime Minister Trudeau’s re-elected minority government to tackle.

While party standings are largely unchanged in B.C., the Liberals won Richmond’s two seats from the Conservatives. That is most surprising and cause for concern. It appears pro-Beijing forces launched an aggressive smear-campaign on social media against the two Conservative incumbents for speaking out against Beijing’s human rights abuses. Chinese-Canadians dominate Richmond’s population. That community is divided on whether to support the People’s Republic government, particularly since many have roots and connections to Hong Kong. The new Trudeau administration must investigate foreign government’s attempts to influence Canadian elections.

Second, the lack of housing affordability has profound social consequences. All three leading political parties have promised to increase the supply of housing to make it easier for young Canadians to buy a home. For example, the Liberal party promised to cut the federal mortgage insurance rate by 25 percent for home buyers with down payments of less than 20 percent; create a new tax-free savings account for first-time home buyers; increase the rebate on closing costs for first-time home buyers and more. But even with such incentives, home ownership remains a distant dream for too many.

Lastly, the federal government needs to address the backlog in the refugee system, as John Bandstra, Dena Nicolai and others who help sponsor and then assist in settling refugees are asking for. “Many refugees have been approved,” Bandstra says, “but it takes years for them to actually come to Canada because of the lack of personnel and resources to process these refugees.” Nicolai supplies some staggering numbers. In 2020, the Canadian government set a target of resettling 31,700 refugees, but due to pandemic travel restrictions only 9,155 arrived. Currently, the private sponsorship of refugees system alone has a backlog of over 50,000 cases; this is unprecedented and results in increasingly vulnerable situations for the waiting refugees. Canada can and must do better.


Read other letters to the Prime Minister here: Ontario, Alberta, Québec, Nova Scotia.

Author

  • Nick Loenen

    Nick is an occasional contributor, a former Member of the Legislative Assembly and long-time CC supporter. He lives in Richmond, B.C.

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