Green Party of Canada

On August 21, Metro Vancouver sent letters to Canada’s four largest political parties with the seven questions you will see on this website. Responses have been requested by September 27.

 Letter to Green Party of Canada


Metro Vancouver’s 5-Year Outlook 2019 – 2023


Questions

 

If elected, will your party commit to providing permanent, predictable, and sustainable funding sources for infrastructure projects to meet the needs of a growing population in Metro Vancouver?

  • Learn more

    Metro Vancouver is responsible for providing services that keep half of the population of British Columbia healthy and safe, including clean water and air, solid and liquid waste management, regional planning and parks. But with another 35,000 more people moving here ever year, Metro Vancouver’s services and infrastructure are under pressure.

    Like other local governments, Metro Vancouver relies primarily on property taxes, user fees, and transfers from senior orders of government to fund its infrastructure projects. But with only 10 cents of every tax dollar coming to municipalities, funding is severely limited.

    Federal funding programs do exist and help local governments build, maintain and upgrade critical infrastructure. However, the criteria for these programs are often inconsistent and timelines can change dramatically with a change in government. This uncertainty undermines long-term planning and often results in delays and cost increases to essential projects.

    Local governments require more predictable funding sources for necessary, non-discretionary infrastructure projects. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, for instance, is calling on federal parties to commit to a permanent doubling of the Gas Tax Fund transfer to local governments, which would provide local governments with a direct source of funding so they can plan for the future.

  • Response

    Yes. Successive governments have skirted the issue of ensuring municipalities are properly consulted and funded to fulfill their responsibilities. No one wants to reopen the Constitution, but it is time to give the municipal order of government the tools and support required to provide the fundamental services relied on by the vast majority of Canadians. With only 10 cents out of every tax dollar flowing to the municipal order of government, vast inequities in our governance structures and financial stability have been created. If these responsibilities are downloaded to municipalities, then revenue sharing agreements need to be reviewed to ensure that they have the funds to successfully fulfill those responsibilities.

    If elected, a Green government will:

    • Institutionalize federal transfers to municipalities through the creation of a Municipal Fund, renaming the Gas Tax funds, which were delinked from gas tax revenue years ago. Ensure a doubling of current funding to ensure predictable and reliable funding to municipalities.
    • Allocate one per cent of GST to housing and other municipal infrastructure on an ongoing basis to provide a consistent baseline of funding.
    • Make changes to the Canada Infrastructure Bank to reduce interest rates to municipalities on loans for infrastructure projects.
  • Metro Vancouver Recap

    Fully committed

    The Green Party would institutionalize federal transfers to municipalities through the creation of a Municipal Fund – renaming the Gas Tax funds, which were delinked from gas tax revenue years ago – to ensure a doubling of current funding to provide predictable and reliable funding to municipalities.


If elected, will your party commit to contributing at least 40% of the costs of infrastructure projects such as wastewater treatment plant upgrades?

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    Metro Vancouver’s Liquid Waste Services face a host of regulatory requirements from other orders of government, including federally mandated upgrades to wastewater treatment plants.

    Current projects include upgrading the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant to secondary treatment at a cost of $1.9 billion. Such projects also come with prescribed timelines for completion – 2030 for Iona – yet Metro Vancouver and local governments often don’t have the necessary revenue sources to complete such improvements on their own.

    The New Building Canada Plan was instrumental in securing funding for the Lions Gate Wastewater Treatment Plant, now known as the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant, but that fund will be eliminated in 2023-2024. A new federal commitment to contribute at least 40% of the cost of infrastructure projects is necessary to complete future projects on time.

  • Response

    Yes. Successive governments have skirted the issue of ensuring municipalities are properly consulted and funded to fulfill their responsibilities. No one wants to reopen the Constitution, but it is time to give the municipal order of government the tools and support required to provide the fundamental services relied on by the vast majority of Canadians. With only 10 cents out of every tax dollar flowing to the municipal order of government, vast inequities in our governance structures and financial stability have been created. If these responsibilities are downloaded to municipalities, then revenue sharing agreements need to be reviewed to ensure that they have the funds to successfully fulfill those responsibilities.

    If elected, a Green government will:

    • Institutionalize federal transfers to municipalities through the creation of a Municipal Fund, renaming the Gas Tax funds, which were delinked from gas tax revenue years ago. Ensure a doubling of current funding to ensure predictable and reliable funding to municipalities.
    • Allocate one per cent of GST to housing and other municipal infrastructure on an ongoing basis to provide a consistent baseline of funding.
    • Make changes to the Canada Infrastructure Bank to reduce interest rates to municipalities on loans for infrastructure projects.
  • Metro Vancouver Recap

    Fully committed

    Would keep the 40% share of cost-sharing for new construction in place.


If elected, will your party maintain and expand funding levels and priorities of the national housing strategy?

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    With approximately 10,000 people on the BC Housing waitlist and a growing population, Metro Vancouver estimates it will need more than 5,500 new rental units every year for the next 10 years in order to meet critical demand for affordable housing across the region. This includes lower-end market housing, subsidized housing and social housing.

    In the 1970s and 1980s, the federal government was a major partner in the development of affordable housing across the country, ensuring rents remained affordable. But, with the federal government’s withdrawal from the affordable housing space in the 1990s and 2000s, the supply of affordable housing hasn’t kept up with demand.

    The recently implemented National Housing Strategy has been a major step towards addressing the housing affordability crisis felt acutely in Metro Vancouver, but more can and must be done to build up supply.

  • Response

    If elected, Green MPs will:

    • Appoint 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.
    • Increase 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.
    • Include new and existing housing as eligible infrastructure for funding purposes, allowing the Canada Infrastructure Bank to support provincial and municipal housing projects.
    • Provide financing to non-profit housing organizations and cooperatives to build and restore quality, energy efficient housing for seniors, people with special needs and low-income families.
    • Restore 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.
    • Create 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.
    • Re-focus the core mandate of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporate (CMHC) on supporting the development of affordable, non-market and cooperative housing, as opposed to its current priority of supporting Canadian lenders to de-risk investment in housing ownership. With many housing markets demonstrably overvalued, and home ownership rates among the highest in the world, individual home ownership should not be the preoccupation of a public service housing agency and a national housing strategy.
  • Metro Vancouver Recap

    Fully committed

    The Green Party plans to increase the National Housing Co-investment Fund by $750 million for new builds, and boost the Canada Housing Benefit by $750 million to provide rent assistance for 125,000 households.


If elected, will your party increase the CMHC’s grant programs in order to more fully expedite the building of more affordable housing?

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    Metro Vancouver Housing provides safe and affordable rental homes to more than 9,000 people on 49 sites across the region. Many of these housing sites were built with the help of previous federal government funding programs.

    The current Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) programming, under the National Housing Strategy, prioritizes low-interest loans over grants for affordable housing. While these loans are important for financing projects, they force housing providers to allocate revenue to repay loans instead of investing in new affordable housing

    Grants would reduce the risk taken on by housing providers and would let them provide more affordable housing at a much faster pace—something desperately needed in the Metro Vancouver region if we are to address housing affordability.

    Without an expedited building of affordable units in Metro Vancouver the prosperity, economy and livability will be severely impacted.

  • Response

    If elected, Green MPs will:

    • Appoint 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.
    • Increase 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.
    • Include new and existing housing as eligible infrastructure for funding purposes, allowing the Canada Infrastructure Bank to support provincial and municipal housing projects.
    • Provide financing to non-profit housing organizations and cooperatives to build and restore quality, energy efficient housing for seniors, people with special needs and low-income families.
    • Restore 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.
    • Create 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.
    • Re-focus the core mandate of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporate (CMHC) on supporting the development of affordable, non-market and cooperative housing, as opposed to its current priority of supporting Canadian lenders to de-risk investment in housing ownership. With many housing markets demonstrably overvalued, and home ownership rates among the highest in the world, individual home ownership should not be the preoccupation of a public service housing agency and a national housing strategy.
  • Metro Vancouver Recap

    Did not commit

    The Greens would refocus the CMHC’s core mandate to support development of affordable, non-market and cooperative housing. The Greens would also restore tax incentives for 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. By creating a Canada Co-op Housing Strategy, the Greens believe this would update the mechanisms for financing co-op housing, in partnership with CMHC, co-op societies, credit unions and other lenders.


If elected, will your party commit to at least doubling the $2 billion Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund in consultation with local governments?

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    Metro Vancouver is already experiencing the effects of climate change with hotter summers and warmer, wetter winters. These seasonal changes in weather patterns are anticipated to result in extended drought periods, an increase in rainfall intensity and a one-metre rise in sea level by 2100.

    It is essential to ensure Metro Vancouver’s infrastructure is resilient to the changing climate and other potential disasters. If we don’t prepare, this level of environmental change will significantly affect the quality of life in the region and have severe financial impacts for residents, businesses and governments.

    The federal Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund currently commits $2 billion nationwide to resiliency projects and upgrades, but this is not enough to meet the needs of all communities across the country. This could result in worthy projects being postponed, putting communities at risk.

  • Response

    If elected, Greens will:

    • Makes changes to the Canada Infrastructure Bank to reduce interest rates to municipalities on loans for infrastructure projects.
    • Institutionalize federal transfers to municipalities through the creation of a Municipal Fund, renaming the Gas Tax funds, which were delinked from gas tax revenue years ago. Ensure a doubling of current funding to ensure predictable and reliable funding to municipalities.
    • Allocate one per cent of GST to housing and other municipal infrastructure on an ongoing basis to provide a consistent baseline of funding.
  • Metro Vancouver Recap

    Did not commit

    The Greens intend to change the Canada Infrastructure Bank to reduce the interest rates for loans that municipalities have taken out for infrastructure projects; to institutionalize federal transfers to municipalities through the creation of a Municipal Fund; rename the Gas Tax funds; and allocate one per cent of GST to housing and other municipal infrastructure on an ongoing basis to provide a consistent baseline of funding.


If elected, will your party commit to improving regulatory standards for air, marine and rail emissions to help Metro Vancouver and others fight against air pollution and climate change?

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    Metro Vancouver is in the process of implementing a regional climate strategy—Climate 2050—that will guide climate change policy and action in the region over the next 30 years. Metro Vancouver’s Board has also committed to becoming a carbon neutral region by 2050.

    In order to achieve these ambitious goals, greater federal regulations are required to address greenhouse gas emissions on a national level. This includes strengthening regulations around emissions from air, marine and rail modes of transportation as they contribute over one-third of the region’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Response

    The transportation sector produces over a quarter of Canada’s climate pollution and this is growing. A Green government will develop a national transportation strategy with a goal of reaching zero-carbon public ground transportation everywhere in Canada by 2040.

    To get there, Canada needs regulations to shift from gasoline-powered transportation. Greens will:

    • Ban the sale of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by 2030.
    • Require all passenger ferries to convert to electric or hybrid systems by 2030.
    • Develop a Green Freight Transport program to address greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in partnership with the freight industry, shipping companies and delivery businesses.
    • Maximize emissions reductions in all transportation through the use of sustainably produced biofuels, made from waste wood by-products and used vegetable oils, where electric and fuel cells not viable, as is the case for fishing, mining and forestry equipment.
  • Metro Vancouver Recap

    Fully committed

    The Green Party intends to develop a national transportation strategy with a goal of reaching zero-carbon public ground transportation in Canada by 2040.

    The Greens highlighted a number of proposed actions, including:

    • Banning the sale of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by 2030;
    • Requiring all passenger ferries to convert to electric or hybrid systems by 2030;
    • Developing a Green Freight Transport program; and
    • Promoting the use of biofuels.

If elected, will your party support the acquisition and protection of regional parkland and ecological conservancy areas?

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    With Metro Vancouver adding 35,000 people every year and the number of park visitors rapidly increasing, our regional parks are quickly reaching their capacity. In order to maintain livability for current and future generations, we need to ensure a vibrant and robust regional parks system.

    Between 2009 and 2014, over 1,600 hectares of sensitive ecosystems across the Metro Vancouver region were lost—the equivalent of losing four Stanley Parks over five years. Ten percent of the region is made up of sensitive terrestrial ecosystems that could still be protected.

    But in the face of escalating land costs and development pressure, acquiring new parkland and ecological conservation areas has become increasingly difficult. Although the Canada Nature Fund in 2018 committed $500 million for ecological conservancy activities, local governments were not identified as eligible participants.

    With a limited ability to raise funds, Metro Vancouver will need support from other orders of government if we are to protect these sensitive areas and preserve parkland for current and future generations. This has been highlighted in Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks Land Acquisition 2050 Strategy where Metro Vancouver outlines the need for partnership and collaboration with the federal government in order to acquire park lands.

  • Response

    Greens look forward to working with regional actors through the Council of Canadian Governments in order to meet our target of protecting a minimum of 30 per cent of freshwaters, oceans and land by 2030.

    We will increase funding to federal departments to dramatically ramp up the development and implementation of endangered species recovery plans required by legislation, placing tight deadlines on completion, and invoke emergency powers of the federal government to protect species when provincial governments fail to do so.

    We will also commit $100 million annually over the next four years to create Indigenous-led protected and conserved areas and fund stewardship of these lands and waters by Indigenous guardians.

  • Metro Vancouver Recap

    Fully committed

    The Green Party has committed to protecting a minimum of 30 per cent of freshwaters, oceans and land by 2030 and intends to work with regional stakeholders through the Council of Canadian Governments to meet this target.

    They have committed to increasing funding to federal departments to dramatically ramp up the development and implementation of recovery plans for endangered species that are required by legislation.

    The Greens would also commit $100 million annually over the next four years to create Indigenous-led protected conservation areas.