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Supporting Calgarians through the Economic Recovery

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YYC MattersSupport Calgarians

​Participate in coordinated mental health and addiction solutions, and enable made-in-Alberta mortgage rules

 
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​Mental health and addictions

Mental health and addictions affect all Calgarians  our citizens and communities must be safe and supported.

  • Calgary has the highest rate of deaths due to overdose in Alberta
  • An average of four Calgarians die every week from a suspected overdose
  • Overdose deaths have happened in every community within Calgary

All orders of government must continue to work together  along with community members and local agencies  to address complex issues facing at-risk Calgarians. One means of collaboration is a multi-jurisdictional table that would bring all levels of government together to share information and work toward solutions.

Question: What is your party’s plan to address this crisis? Will your party commit to high-level federal representation on Calgary’s Mental Health and Addiction Strategy?​

Conservative Party

Mental health and addictions are two serious public policy challenges that Conservatives are committed to taking immediate action to address.

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Green Party

Greens will address the opioid crisis as a health-care issue, not a criminal issue, by declaring a national health emergency. Recognize that fentanyl contamination is why deaths are more accurately described as poisonings than overdoses.

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Liberal Party

Our Liberal government has worked to save lives turn the tide of this national public health crisis with a response that is compassionate, collaborative and evidence-based. ​

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NDP Party

The opioid crisis has impacted every part of the country, from the busiest big city downtowns to the most remote and smallest towns, and the effects of this crisis have been devastating.

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People's Party

The People's Party of Canada recognizes and respects the Constitution and the role of the provincial governments. It is important to recognize and support the changing needs of first responders in identifying the kinds of risks they face daily.

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Made-in-Alberta mortgage rules​

​Current national mortgage-eligibility rules, including “stress tests,” continue to hurt home-buyers in Calgary, particularly first-time home-buyers. Residential sales saw a 15% year-over-year drop in 2018. The building industry, representing 12% of Calgary’s workforce, has also been negatively affected by these rules. Rather than a one-size fits all approach for the entire country, Calgary City Council believes that these tools should be tailored to regional markets.

Question: Does your party support creating market- and regionally-specific mortgage rules?

Conservative Party

The federal government should be prepared to take a regional approach to mortgage qualification rules when necessary as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has done in the past.​

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Green Party

The Green Party is happy to examine market-specific and regionally-specific mortgage rules as a tool to address the housing affordability crisis.​

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Liberal Party

This policy helps ensure Canada maintains a strong and stable housing market in which borrowers do not take on too much debt. The mortgage stress test was developed by independent market regulators, and it is best administered by them, not politicians.​

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NDP Party

The housing affordability crisis is hitting cities all across the country. In cities like Vancouver and Toronto the high cost of housing has meant that young families struggle to afford their first home, if they can afford one at all.

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People's Party

Freeing our economy from these interprovincial trade barriers would help families and businesses. It would also increase competition, raise productivity, and unite our country.

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Expanded answers


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Question: What is your party’s plan to address this crisis? Will your party commit to high-level federal representation on Calgary’s Mental Health and Addiction Strategy?

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Mental health and addictions are two serious public policy challenges that Conservatives are committed to taking immediate action to address.

Our previous Conservative government created the Mental Health Commission of Canada and provided funding of $240M, and allocated $5.2M to support research on treating depression with a focus on suicide prevention. A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will build on this work and continue to take strong action to support those who face challenges and barriers related to mental health.

A Conservative government will protect families from the addiction crisis by:

  • Revising the Canadian Drugs and Substance Strategy to focus on helping more Canadians recover from addiction;
  • Invest in treatment and recovery centres, including recovery high schools and treatment centres. This will give those who suffer from addiction, their families, and those who have recovered, spaces where they can get the help they need and support each other;
  • Launch a national education campaign to warn children, youth, and teenagers about the dangers of drug use while highlighting the benefits to young Canadians of staying drug free; and
  • Partner with municipalities and school districts to help clean-up used needles in public spaces.

Canada’s Conservatives are committed to the people of Calgary getting the proper mental health supports that they need, and would welcome the opportunity to partner with the City of Calgary to do the same.​

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Greens will address the opioid crisis as a health-care issue, not a criminal issue, by declaring a national health emergency. Recognize that fentanyl contamination is why deaths are more accurately described as poisonings than overdoses. Drug possession should be decriminalized, ensuring people have access to a screened supply and the medical support they need to combat their addictions. Increase funding to community-based organizations to test drugs and make Naloxone kits widely available to treat overdoses.

Greens will also establish a national mental health strategy and a suicide prevention strategy to address the growing anxieties plaguing Canadians regarding inequality and affordability, the growing precariousness of work and housing, the climate crisis, social isolation, resurgent racial and ethno-nationalism and other harms and risks.

We hope to collaborate with municipalities closely and ensure that our strategies compliment each other. The Council of Canadian Governments will make a good forum for this.​

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Our Liberal government has worked to save lives turn the tide of this national public health crisis with a response that is compassionate, collaborative and evidence-based. Those on the front lines have lacked the resources to properly do their jobs, which is why we devoted an unprecedented $425 million towards emergency responses, treatment and harm reduction. A re-elected Liberal government will build on historic levels of investment in mental health services by adding them to Canada Health Act to guarantee that every Canadian - no matter where they live or how much money they make - has access to a full range of mental health services. A re-elected Liberal government will ensure that every Canadian can easily find a family doctor or primary care team and will ensure Canadians have the medicine they need at an affordable price by implementing universal pharmacare.

Too much red tape has stood in the way of those seeking help from opioids addiction, which is why we’ve taken steps to cut red tape and eliminate barriers to treatment. We’ve passed new laws to protect those who call 9-11 to report an overdose, ensured that Naloxone is available without a prescription and support programs to make it more accessible, made it easier for medical professionals to carry controlled substances and more.

Supervised Consumption Sites save lives, which is why we’ve approved over 40 across the country. Soon after coming to office we streamlined the process of setting up an SCS, and last year allowed cities and groups to apply directly to us to set them up. Before this, only provinces could apply. We’ve also provided emergency funding to support SCSs and OPSs threatened by the Ford government’s cuts.

To support the smaller cities, rural communities and remote regions increasingly affected by the opioid crisis, we are expanding access to naloxone kits and increasing the availability of opioid overdose response training. We will also support projects that offer new or expanded access to harm reduction services, provide opioid agonist treatment in underserved communities and help to connect people to health and social services.

Methamphetamine use is a growing problem across the country, particularly in the Prairie provinces. That’s why - in addition to investments through the Emergency Treatment Fund - we’ve devoted $31.3 million to address meth and other emerging threats. This includes programs to pilot new approaches to treating meth use, and projects that break down barriers to treatment for people who use drugs. As the spike in meth use has exposed our limited capacity to monitor and identify drug threats on a national scale, we’re investing in a national early warning system and enhancing our work to collect data.

Our investments are making a meaningful difference. But we know they’re not enough. What’s driving the unprecedented tragedy of this crisis isn’t substance use itself. It’s a drug supply tainted with powerful, lethal drugs like fentanyl. We heard clearly that access to a safe drug supply is essential to save lives. While we have made it easier for doctors to dispense prescription opioids in the context of treatment, we know we must look at other, “lower-barrier” options. Our government is embracing harm reduction, using all of the tools at our disposal to save lives. We’ve made several investments to provide access to a safe supply of prescription opioids, which will save lives and ensure quality control. Budget 2019 pledges $30 million to this end, and we announced additional funds in July.

Going forward, a re-elected Liberal government will invest an additional $700 million over the next fours years to expand community-based services, build more in-patient rehab beds, and scale up the most effective programs – such as extending hours for InSite and other safe consumption sites. We will also make drug treatment court the default option for first-time non-violent offenders charged exclusively with simple possession, to help drug users get quick access to treatment, and to prevent more serious crimes.

And all of this – investments, regulations and new approaches – is guided by harm reduction, because we know it saves lives. But not everyone does. As you know, the Harper government fought Canada’s first SCS, all the way to the Supreme Court - where they lost. In Ontario, the Ford government stopped opening new sites during a review, before slashing funding to several sites last fall. In Alberta, Jason Kenney calls SCSs “drug sites.” And in the face of the greatest public health crisis in Canada’s history, Andrew Scheer has no ideas at all, beyond opposing the measures we’ve taken to save thousands of lives, and justifying it with misinformation.

We are committed to continuing to work with all orders of government to address the ongoing opioid crisis and to treating additions as a public health problem, and not a moral one.​​​

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The opioid crisis has impacted every part of the country, from the busiest big city downtowns to the most remote and smallest towns, and the effects of this crisis have been devastating. Thousands of families have tragically lost parents, partners, siblings and children to the out-of-control opioid crisis. Despite the crisis situation and the harm that opioids and addiction have caused, the Liberals have failed to act, refusing to call a public-health emergency or hold drug companies to account for the role they played in fuelling the crisis. There are too many lives on the line not to act and a New Democrat government will take concrete steps to better address mental health and addictions.

To recognize the seriousness of the crisis we will declare a public-health emergency and make sure the provinces and municipalities have the supports they need. We’ll also work with all levels of government, experts and Canadians to end the criminalization and stigma of drug addiction, so that people struggling with addiction can get the help they need without fear of arrest, while getting tough on those who profit from and traffic in illegal drugs. We’ll work with the provinces to support overdose prevention sites and expand access to treatment on demand for people struggling with addiction.

New Democrats know that there’s a lot more to do to modernize our health system for today’s needs. Mental-health support is an enormous unmet need across the country; a third of Canadians struggling with mental-health challenges who have expressed a need for counselling weren’t able to get it. Please know that New Democrats will work to make sure mental-health care is available at no cost for people who need it - and most importantly that it is available when they need it. We are committed to working in partnership with the provinces, municipalities, and Indigenous communities to improve access to mental health and addictiontreatment services – including an evidence-based action plan to prevent suicide, backed by dedicated federal resources, fully implementing the New Democrat motion on suicide prevention passed by the House of Commons.

We need to respond to mental health, addiction and poverty issues with a healthcare response. That’s why when we talk about improving and expanding Canada’s universal health care, we must talk about universal access to mental-health supports and services. Safe, accessible support for mental health is key if we are going to build a society that believes in eliminating the stigma around mental health and providing care for those who need it.

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The People's Party of Canada recognizes and respects the Constitution and the role of the provincial governments. It is important to recognize and support the changing needs of first responders in identifying the kinds of risks they face daily. It is important to have meaningful consultations with subject matter experts it these fields.

It is up to the provinces to implement reforms in line with the more efficient and less costly mixed universal systems of other developed countries. Throwing more federal money at the problem is not the right approach. On the contrary, it is part of the problem. Provincial governments will never make the tough decisions if they can always blame Ottawa for not sending enough money. We must end the current confusion over who does what and who is responsible for the problem.

A People’s Party government will:

  • Replace the Canada Health Transfer cash payments with a permanent transfer of tax points of equivalent value to the provinces and territories, to give them a stable source of revenue. In practice, Ottawa will give up its Goods and Services Tax (GST), and let provincial and territorial governments occupy this fiscal room. In 2019-20, the GST is expected to bring in $40 billion in revenues, the same amount currently transferred by Ottawa.
  • Establish a temporary program to compensate poorer provinces whose revenues from the tax will be lower than the transfer payments they used to receive.
  • Create the conditions for provincial and territorial governments to innovate. They will be fully responsible for health care funding and management, and fully accountable to their citizens for the results, while Ottawa will respect the Constitution and stop meddling.

The People’s Party of Canada recognizes and respects the Constitution and the role the provincial government plays in both Health and Addictions.

 It is up to the provinces to implement reforms in line with the more efficient and less costly mixed universal systems of other developed countries. Throwing more federal money at the problem is not the right approach. On the contrary, it is part of the problem. Provincial governments will never make the tough decisions if they can always blame Ottawa for not sending enough money. We must end the current confusion over who does what and who is responsible for the problem.

A People’s Party government will:

  • Replace the Canada Health Transfer cash payments with a permanent transfer of tax points of equivalent value to the provinces and territories, to give them a stable source of revenue. In practice, Ottawa will give up its Goods and Services Tax (GST), and let provincial and territorial governments occupy this fiscal room. In 2019-20, the GST is expected to bring in $40 billion in revenues, the same amount currently transferred by Ottawa.
  • Establish a temporary program to compensate poorer provinces whose revenues from the tax will be lower than the transfer payments they used to receive.

Create the conditions for provincial and territorial governments to innovate. They will be fully responsible for health care funding and management, and fully accountable to their citizens for the results, while Ottawa will respect the Constitution and stop meddling.

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Question: Does your party support creating market- and regionally-specific mortgage rules?

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The federal government should be prepared to take a regional approach to mortgage qualification rules when necessary as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has done in the past.

A new Conservative government will introduce four new measures to make it easier for first-time

homebuyers to buy a home:

  • Fix the mortgage stress test to ensure that first-time homebuyers are not unnecessarily prevented from accessing mortgages and work with OSFI to remove the stress test from mortgage renewals to give homeowners more options;
  • Increase maximum amortization periods on insured mortgages to 30 years for first-time homebuyers to lower monthly payments;
  • Launch an inquiry into money laundering in the real estate sector and work with our industry partners to root out corrupt practices that inflate housing prices; and
  • Make surplus federal real estate available for development to increase the supply of housing.

Calgarians need real solutions that address barriers to home ownership, not pre-election gimmicks like the “First Time Homebuyer Incentive” which does not address the needs of Calgary home-buyers affected by the stress test.​

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The Green Party is happy to examine market-specific and regionally-specific mortgage rules as a tool to address the housing affordability crisis. Greens will also introduce other means for making housing more affordable, such as:

  • Appointing a Minister of Housing to strengthen the National Housing Strategy so that it meets the needs for affordable housing that are unique to each province, and oversee its implementation in collaboration with provincial ministers. This recognizes that housing is provincial jurisdiction. The target would be 25,000 new and 15,000 rehabilitated units annually for the next 10 years.
  • Increasing the National Housing Co-investment Fund by $750 million for new builds, and the Canada Housing Benefit by $750 million for rent assistance for 125,000 households.
  • Creating a Canada Co-op Housing Strategy that would update the mechanisms for financing co-op housing, in partnership with CMHC, co-op societies, credit unions and other lenders.
  • Including new and existing housing as eligible infrastructure for funding purposes, allowing the Canada Infrastructure Bank to support provincial and municipal housing projects.
  • Restoring tax incentives for building purpose-built rental housing and provide tax credits for gifts of lands, or of land and buildings, to community land trusts to provide affordable housing.

We believe that these measures will help stimulate the recovery of Calgary’s building industry while simultaneously making housing more affordable.​

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This policy helps ensure Canada maintains a strong and stable housing market in which borrowers do not take on too much debt. The mortgage stress test was developed by independent market regulators, and it is best administered by them, not politicians. The Superintendent of Financial Institutions has said they will continue to monitor whether the stress test is appropriately responding to current market dynamics, and we support the regulator in that work. The stress test is like a vaccine that protects the health of the most important investment Canadians make in their lives: their home. Failing to protect these investments creates instability, which led to the financial crisis in 2008.
The Trudeau Government did what previous federal governments were unwilling to do. It put forward a funded, comprehensive, long-term plan to deal with both housing affordability and affordable housing. That plan is working.

In the broader housing market, over 700,000 new housing units have been built since the start of 2016. At the same time, to address growing challenges of housing affordability in Canada we launched the new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive in September 2019, a tool that more than 85 per cent of first time buyers have said could be useful to them​. During this campaign we also recently committed to an expansion of the initiative so that certain regional markets where housing is most expensive are able to participate equally in the program. Unlike gimmick proposals from other parties, the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is a bold effort to help Canadians achieve homeownership. The Incentive allows homeowners to reduce the size of their mortgage by up to 10 per cent of the house price, and lower their monthly mortgage payments without increasing down payments. More than 120,000 first time home buyers are expected to be helped as a result of this new initiative.

We have also the Trudeau Government expanded the Home Buyers’ Plan, increasing the program limit from $25,000 to $35,000 to help those seeking to build a down payment have more leverage and opportunity.

We also recently committed to address the impact of foreign speculation, which drives up housing costs, by putting in place a consistent national speculation and vacancy tax for non-resident, non-Canadians.

Federal measures to tighten stress testing requirements have contributed to the reduction of house prices by 2.5% ($12,000) in Calgary.

In the affordable housing sector, in the last four years, the Trudeau Government committed more than $13 billion to specific projects, which is already building will result in more than 40,000 new homes, nearly 230,000 repaired homes, and hundreds of thousands of families benefitting from rental support. Those are real results we have achieved, thanks to immediate investments in housing, starting with our very first budget.

Because of the National Housing Strategy, and associated investments, housing providers across the country will be able to build on these results. From 2018 to 2028, the National Housing Strategy is expected to reduce housing need for more than 500,000 families, protect affordability for 385,000 housing units, build 125,000 new homes, and repair another 300,000. And 300,000 Canadians will benefit from the new, portable Canada Housing Benefit that will launch just months from now in April 2020, which will help save renters an average of $2,500 per year.

Two key elements of the National Housing Strategy are the National Housing Co-Investment Fund and the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, both intended to help increase supply in the housing market. The $13.2 billion National Housing Co-Investment Fund, aimed at building 60,000 new homes, and repairing another 240,000, is designed to invest in a range of housing options, from shelters to community housing to affordable homeownership. The Rental Construction Financing Initiative is a $13.75 billion program targeting the construction of 42,500 new homes. We are committed to the full implementation of both programs.

Moving forward, we are also committed to the implementation of the new Canada Housing Benefit— starting in 2020—, as well as Phase II of the Federal Community Housing Initiative. Additionally, we are committed to further the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing. This includes the appointment of a Federal Housing Advocate as well as the creation of a National Housing Council.

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The housing affordability crisis is hitting cities all across the country. In cities like Vancouver and Toronto the high cost of housing has meant that young families struggle to afford their first home, if they can afford one at all. The Liberals promised to help but their promise turned out to be nothing more than empty talk. Not only have they failed to make housing more affordable their new rules are hurting families and homebuyers. Unlike Liberals, New Democrats are in it for everyday families, not wealthy corporations and the rich, and we’ll work with the provinces to find innovative ways to make life – and housing - more affordable for everyday families.

We’ll re-introduce 30-year terms to CMHC insured mortgages on entry-level homes for first time home buyers. This will allow for smaller monthly payments, freeing up funds to help make ends meet for young families. We’ll also give people a hand with closing costs by doubling the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit to $1,500. For Canadians who are open to innovative paths to home ownership, we’ll provide resources to facilitate co-housing and ease access to financing by offering CMHC backed co-ownership mortgages.

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Freeing our economy from these interprovincial trade barriers would help families and businesses. It would also increase competition, raise productivity, and unite our country.

A People’s Party government will:

  • Reassert the authority and leadership of the federal government on internal trade.
  • Use section 91(2) of the Constitution, which gives Ottawa exclusive power to regulate matters of international and interprovincial trade, to force provinces to apply the principle of mutual recognition where applicable. This principle means that if a worker, product or service meets regulatory standards in one province, then other provinces will trust that they meet their own standards.

Appoint a Minister of Internal Trade whose sole responsibility will be to conduct studies, raise public awareness, counteract the influence of special interests that benefit from interprovincial barriers, and put pressure on provincial governments to get rid of them.​

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