Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Maple Ridge on Monday to discuss housing.
He highlighted 2019 federal budget investments in housing affordability while at the Willow townhome complex, 24086 – 104th Avenue, where units range from $600,000 to $700,000.
Dan Ruimy, the Liberal MP in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge riding who is seeking re-election, mentioned housing before introducing Trudeau.
He brought up the launch of the national housing strategy last year.
“A $40-billion 10-year program which will remove more than half a million families from housing needs, cut chronic homelessness by 50 per cent and change the face of housing in Canada,” Ruimy said.
“When we include everyone, we become stronger as a nation.”
Trudeau spoke about the rising cost of housing and the pressures that puts on young people.
“When you work hard and save, you should be able to own a home,” he said.
“These projects do more than give people an address. They change lives.”
Trudeau added that the federal government, as part of its 2019 budget and national housing strategy, is increasing the amount people can withdraw from their RRSP account for down payments on homes, to $35,000 from $25,000.
“We can’t just treat the symptoms of sky-high housing prices.”
Trudeau said larger down payments allows for lower monthly payments.
He also said the federal government will also continue to work with municipal and provincial governments to address housing supply issues, as well as make efforts to curb money laundering and tax evasion.
In addition, the federal government will be launching an expert panel to enable governments across the country to work together to tackle housing issues.
On Sunday, Trudeau introduced former TV news anchor Tamara Taggart as the Vancouver-Kingsway riding’s Liberal candidate in the fall federal election.
Trudeau accused Andrew Sheer’s Conservatives of hoping to continue Stephen Harper’s policies by giving tax breaks to the wealthy while cutting programs for the middle and lower classes.
“They still think the way to create economic growth for everyone is to cut programs and give advantages and benefits to the wealthiest,” he said. “Well, that doesn’t trickle down to anyone and it didn’t work for 10 years.”
Trudeau pitched the upcoming election as an opportunity for all Canadians to step up and start talking about the kind of country they want to leave for their children and grandchildren.
“Do we want to invest in the middle class — shine on the world stage,” he asked, before warning that Canada “is seeing the rise of populism, aggressive, fear-based politics, just like the rest of the world.”
He also announced that a by-election will be held May 6 in the electoral district of Nanaimo–Ladysmith.