Tuesday, April 18, 2017 5:30 pm ·  0 Comments
The Oakville Chamber of Commerce hosted MPP Patrick Brown the leader of the Official Opposition as well as the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario at the Glenn Abbey Golf Club on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Attendance was 192 not including a full table of media, and the room was energized to hear the PC Leader speak.
Patrick Brown became the leader of the Ontario PC Party in May 2015 and is the MPP for Simcoe North.Prior to this he sat in the House of Commons as a member of the Conservative Party of Canada from 2006 to 2015. MPP Brown received his Law Degree from the University of Windsor.
Here is Patrick Brown’s speech that he gave on April 18, 2017:
The Oakville Chamber is a titan among the province’s and country’s local chambers.
Last year you renewed your Accreditation with Distinction – an honour received by less than 10 per cent of all Canadian chambers.
You represent well over 1,000 businesses, and you’re home to many of Canada’s business leaders, who both live and work in Oakville.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to supporting your local economy, and continuing to advocate on behalf of your membership for a more competitive and prosperous province.
WHY I’M RUNNING
For those that don’t know me, my name is Patrick Brown, and I am running to be the next Premier of Ontario.
I am running because I believe that individuals and families should have the opportunity to enjoy the highest standards of living.
I believe that Ontario should be Canada’s driving economic engine – a home to job creation.
I believe that Ontario is home to the world’s hardest-working, talented and innovative individuals who should be allowed to reach their full potential.
I see many of these incredible job-creators and innovators as I look around this room.
But after 14 years, this Liberal government has made it harder to get by.
We have become a “have-not” province.
Recently I met with the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers of Ontario. These are employers who represent thousands of jobs across the province, and want to continue to hire and grow in Ontario.
In our discussions, they told me that the number one concern of their membership is that Ontario is an uncompetitive place to do business.
Ontario families, young professionals and seniors are feeling a little like they’ve got “have-not” status, too.
They’re doing their part, they’re meeting their responsibilities, but for many, the only thing they can do is keep their heads above water.
For more still, they’re falling behind.
The Liberals have been in government for 14 years.
What has that meant for Ontario families, businesses and taxpayers?
Quite simply it is this, after 14 years:
Ontarians work hard.
Ontarians pay more.
Ontarians get less.
I don’t accept this future.
I want to be Premier of Ontario because we need a change.
I want Ontario families who work hard to pay less and get ahead.
Unfortunately, a lot of damage has been done.
Our province was once the economic engine of the country.
But we now lag behind.
Families and businesses suffer from unaffordable hydro rates, yet the government’s proposed scheme does nothing but add billions of dollars in future costs, while failing to address the root causes of rising rates.
On top of that, it was recently revealed that their scheme does nothing to help small and medium-sized manufacturers.
At the same time, unaffordable policies such as cap-and-trade are taking $2 billion out of the pockets of taxpayers each year, while exporting businesses and jobs from the province.
While the government continues to pledge balanced budgets, independent experts such as the Auditor General and Financial Accountability Office have called this into question.
And our debt, which has ballooned since the Liberals came into power, is set to reach a record $350 billion by 2020.
The province now spends more on debt-servicing costs than on post-secondary education, community safety, and five other ministries combined.
It’s no wonder that the Ontario Chamber of Commerce reported only one in five businesses is confident in the province’s economic outlook.
And what does this mean for the average Ontarian?
Ontario families, workers and taxpayers work harder;
Ontario families, workers and taxpayers pay more; and
Ontario families, workers and taxpayers get less.
Today I’d like to address Ontario’s out of control housing market.
For years the Ontario PC Party has been ringing alarm bells about the province’s affordability crisis– whether it’s hydro, the cost of owning a car, or today the cost of putting a roof over your head.
After 14 years of Liberal government, it’s widely acknowledged that the cost of housing has reached an unprecedented and unaffordable level.
Ontario families, who work hard, worry about how they will be able to afford their first condo or house.
It’s reached a crisis point.
Recently we saw that the average selling price for a home in the GTA jumped by 33 per cent from the previous year.
Oakville is a great community – strong schools, great jobs, still feels like a town. It’s a great place to raise a family – if you can afford it.
According to Remax’s Market Outlook Report, Oakville saw the highest hike in prices in 2016, seeing about a 25 per cent increase to an average cost of $1.1 million. Prices are expected expected to climb another 5 per cent this year.
So it should come as no surprise that I continue to hear from Oakville residents – people who grew up here or who live here now – and the constant message is “I can’t afford to buy the home I grew up in,” or that “my children can’t afford to buy the home I raised them in.”
This is not just what I’m hearing in the GTA – it’s impacting cities such as London, Niagara, Kitchener-Waterloo, Peterborough and Barrie.
I continue to hear stories of young couples and families losing bidding war number 2, 4, or even 9, feeling forced to overbid just to get into the market before prices go up again.
The dream of home ownership has become just that – a dream that’s out of reach.
BUDGET ASKS: HOUSING
The reality is that the government’s inaction and negligence have created a housing affordability crisis across the province.
Ontario families deserve to see credible action to address housing affordability in Ontario.
With the budget to be released on April 27th, we know there will be measures taken.
And while housing unaffordability remains a key concern, we must be mindful that over a quarter of Ontarians are dependent on the equity in their homes to fund their retirements.
There is no easy fix, but what we don’t need is speculative chatter, or poorly-thought out and hasty decisions.
What is important is that there’s feedback from across the housing sector.
We need to engage industry experts, those on the ground floor – not just discussions behind the closed doors of the Premier’s Office.
That is why last week the Ontario PC Party put forward recommendations on the housing file for the Liberal government to include in the budget.
These recommendations are based on extensive consultation, with policy experts, industry leaders and everyday Ontario residents.
ADDRESS HOUSING SUPPLY
First, we are asking the government to address supply of housing.
While there were 18,500 homes on the market for sale in January 2007, a decade later there are only 15 hundred and 24 homes.
The shortage today is very concerning.
Unless changes are made, it will only get worse.
New census data from Statistics Canada shows that populations in Toronto and surrounding municipalities are growing. Between 2012 and 2015, Ontario’s population was expected to increase by 533,000 people. However, only slightly more than 267,000 housing starts took place during the same period.
It’s a major problem that housing supply is at record-low levels – and much lower compared to a decade ago. It’s resulted in home prices that are simply out of reach for many families and first-time homebuyers.
Addressing shortage of supply also means reducing the red tape that builders face.
Part of the problem is permit approval times. In Ontario, it can take over 18 months to get municipal approvals for standard, single-family and multiple-dwelling projects that do not require rezoning.
Here are some examples:
Aurora – it will take 19 months
Ajax – 19 months
Toronto – 17 months
And Hamilton – 17 months
These delays pose another challenge: costing developers thousands of dollars in employee salaries, interest on loans and other items – costs which are passed onto buyers.
By encouraging the building of new homes and addressing red tape that continues to hinder development, this is a key step towards addressing housing unaffordability in Ontario.
We also must see a commitment to address demand by collecting accurate data on vacancies and speculative purchases.
There has been a lot of discussion about homes being snapped up by investors or speculators.
However, a lack of accurate and reliable data makes it difficult to determine if or how speculative vacancies may be affecting housing markets.
Stats Canada data paints an incomplete picture.
More data is needed before moving ahead.
That is why we’re asking for better data collection and analysis of Ontario’s housing market.
We want to ensure an evidence-based solution to address the underlying problems in our housing market, not the typical Liberal “tax-to-fix” approach.
ASSESS LAND PORTFOLIO
Third, we are asking the government to immediately assess its housing and land portfolio.
The government assumes land in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area through a number of ways – lands purchased for projects that never came to fruition, properties escheated to the crown, and social housing that is in disrepair.
This very well could be land that could be released to the market to help ease supply concerns, and is something the government should consider.
STRIKE GOVERNMENT PANEL
I have always believed that there’s no monopoly on a good idea, and that the experts on the ground know best how to solve the challenges faced.
That is why we are asking the government to establish a panel of industry experts to address housing unaffordability in the province.
MPP Ernie Hardeman, PC Critic for Housing, last week tabled a motion in the Legislature on this issue.
The panel should be appointed within 30 days, and would consist of professional planners, mortgage professionals, realtors, municipal representatives and young professionals, among others.
The panel would report back with their short and long-term recommendations within three months.
MARCHING TO THE BEAT OF OUR DRUM
Later today Minister Sousa is meeting with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Toronto Mayor John Tory.
We are glad to see the government recognize the urgency of addressing housing unaffordability.
And it’s good to hear the Premier speak from the same song page as us following the PCs announcing our housing measures for the government to include in the budget.
For instance, following we called on the government to address red tape that is addressing supply – now Premier Wynne is questioning what is preventing builders from using land set aside for development in the Golden Horseshoe.
Like I say – there’s no monopoly on a good idea.
With that said, we are disappointed the government continues to ignore our advice on the rental housing market.
To date, the Premier’s wild speculation and constant stream of policy rumours have started to affect the rental market – and hurt real people.
Neither tenants, landlords, not builders know what to expect.
First the government says they are “so close” to introducing rent control legislation…
The next day they said there may bring forward some rent control measures in the upcoming budget.
All of this is purely speculation until action is taken.
As a result we’ve begun to hear stories of landlords and owners, in a bid to get ahead of new rules, doubling rents.
And it discourages landlords from investing in new supply, which we desperately need.
The Liberals need to stop sitting idle on this issue and stop exercising loose lips.
That is why last week we called on Premier Wynne to release her rental-housing plan immediately. Not in the budget, not next month. Immediately.
Despite all the challenges facing our province, Ontario is still Ontario.
We are still home to the most talented, hardest-working, and compassionate people.
Our province is still a home of equal opportunity – where anybody who puts in the work and sweat should be able to achieve their dreams
And, I know that given the right circumstances, Ontario will once again be a place where people want to create good-paying jobs, and where good-paying jobs want to stay. Where young families can afford to own a home.
Ontario residents wouldn’t dream of giving up on our great province, and they don’t expect their government to give up on it either.
But in order for that to happen, we need a government that will work hard for a better future.
And, only the Ontario PC Party represents change for the better.
That is why I am running to be the next Premier of Ontario.
I am running because life’s harder with the Liberals.
I am running because I believe that Ontario can do so much more to help people to make life a little easier, a little more affordable, for families.
Because I believe that Ontario residents should be treated with respect, beginning with respect for their hard-earned dollars.
Because I want Ontario families who work hard to pay less and get ahead.
And that, my friends, would be better.
Better for families.
Better for seniors.
Better for businesses
Better for Ontario.
I am Patrick Brown and I am running to be the next Premier of Ontario.