Posts Tagged ‘politics’
Bloomberg’s Jeremy Van Loon writes about how exceptionally high housing prices in Vancouver, driven at least in part by the heavy immigration of well-to-do Chinese, is becoming a political issue.
James Hankle, a 50-something software engineer sporting blue jeans and a Green Party T-shirt, is explaining his fix for Vancouver’s runaway property prices when he’s interrupted by an eavesdropping passerby: “Stop allowing people from China to buy our houses and leave them vacant,” she says and walks away.
Despite British Columbia’s aversion to pipelines and affection for pot, housing affordability has pushed both aside as the number one issue raised by area residents in the run-up to Canada’s election this month. It’s not completely surprising given that Vancouver has become North America’s most expensive city.
Surging purchase prices have triggered protest movements like #donthave1million, started by a group of young professionals frustrated at being shut out of home ownership. They complain of having to delay starting families as they remain bunked in with roommates, often into their 30s and beyond.
The affordability issue speaks to broader campaign themes: the difficulty young people face getting established in the labor market, the economic anxieties of the middle class, growing concerns about income inequality, support for families with children. Residents also increasingly point fingers at wealthy Chinese immigrants and investors whose lavish embrace of the Pacific metropolis of 2.5 million has inspired reality TV shows with such gaudy names as “Ultra Rich Asian Girls in Vancouver.”
Vancouver, with its C$2.23 million ($1.7 million) average price tag for a detached home is playing an unusual role in the national election to be held Oct. 19. British Columbia is the only place where all four national parties are competitive — the Conservatives, Liberals, New Democrats and Greens — and, given the tightness of the race, its choices could spell the difference. As of now, the New Democrats and Liberals look likely to take some seats away from the Conservatives in the region, according to poll aggregator ThreeHundredEight.com.
The Globe and Mail‘s Campbell Clark writes about how, in Toronto’s suburbs, the NDP is dropping out of contention.
A lot of this election has already been decided in Toronto’s suburbs. A lot of it remains to be decided there, too.
The so-called 905 is where the Orange Wave crested, the place where Thomas Mulcair’s NDP needed to make inroads if it wanted to keep climbing into a clear lead, but didn’t. It’s where Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have rebounded. And it’s where Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have proved resilient.
It is now a region with a mostly two-horse race between the Conservatives and the Liberals. And a small shift, perhaps 5 per cent of voters, can have a big impact on who wins the national election, flipping 30 or 40 seats one way or the other. In election math, that’s like sweeping Alberta or British Columbia. In 2011, Stephen Harper won a majority by winning the 905.
There are other places with potential to alter the national race, of course, notably in British Columbia’s three-party dynamic and in Quebec, where an NDP slip could resuscitate the Bloc Québécois and revive the Conservatives. But even before the NDP slid in Quebec, its hopes faltered in Toronto’s suburbs.
In August, as the campaign began, the New Democrats were riding high in national polls and still targeting breakthroughs in the 905, notably in “inner” suburbs of Mississauga and Brampton just west of Toronto’s city limits – areas where they surged in the 2011 campaign. Mr. Mulcair made early campaign stops in those places. But now, as October begins, their real hope for a gain in the west side of the 905 is in one riding, Brampton-East.
“For a while there, the NDP was in the race in the 905, but they’ve dropped off significantly,” said pollster and political strategist Greg Lyle, president of Innovative Research Group. In the GTA suburbs, the NDP fell from from 32 per cent just before the campaign to 16 per cent in late September, according to his firm’s surveys.