Conservative 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 New Democratic Party of Canada

Metro Vancouver’s 5-Year Outlook 2019 – 2023



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?

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    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

    New Democrats believe that Canadians should be able to count on the federal government to invest in infrastructure to make a real difference in communities across the country, not to pad the bank accounts of investment firms.

    Our vision is one in which communities can afford to build the infrastructure they need to thrive, from roads and bridges to community centres and child care centres, and everything in between. These investments will create good jobs in every part of the country. To get there, we will partner with provinces, territories, First Nations, and municipalities to deliver reliable public infrastructure funding that puts people – not profit – first. By using Community Benefit Agreements, we will guarantee that good jobs, training, apprenticeships, and support for local businesses are part of every infrastructure project.

    When it comes to moving around, public transit should be a convenient and affordable option that makes your commute easier, all while taking cars off the road, cutting emissions, and reducing gridlock. New Democrats understand that getting our communities moving is critical for our economy and our quality of life. That’s why we’ll put in place a permanent, direct, allocation-based funding mechanism for modern public transit across Canada for the long run. We’ll also step up investments now to help cities transition their bus fleets to electric and to expand affordable rail and bus options in all parts of the country. And for municipalities that make it a priority, a New Democrat government will work with them towards fare-free transit to ease commutes and make life more affordable.

    As the impacts of climate change are felt across the country, New Democrats believe that all levels of government must step up to help communities cope with the impacts of extreme weather. That’s why a New Democrat government will expand federal funding to respond to disasters and support communities by proactively adapting their infrastructure to withstand floods, forest fires, and other extreme-weather events. We will also partner with Canadians and communities to make serious investments in making buildings more energy efficient to help families save money and fight climate change.

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

    The NDP believes in a fair and balanced share of cost allocation leaving a smaller and more manageable portion for municipalities to assume. By working with Canada's municipalities, the federal government has now adopted a 40% share of cost-sharing for new construction. We don’t intend to change this formula.

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

    Yes, a New Democrat government will create 500,000 units of quality, affordable housing in the next ten years, with half of that done within five years. This will be achieved with the right mix of effective measures that work in partnership with provinces, municipalities and Indigenous communities, building capacity for social, community, and affordable housing providers and co-ops, and meeting environmental energy-efficiency goals. This ambitious plan will create thousands of jobs in communities all across the country, and help Canadians get the affordable housing they need. Our federal investment will begin with $5 billion in additional funding in the first year and a half of a New Democrat government.

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

    Yes, the National Housing Strategy’s focus on loans rather than grants needs to be reversed. Our federal investment will begin with $5 billion in additional funding in the first year and a half of a New Democrat government.

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

    Yes, Canadian families are already living with the impact of climate change – for too many, climate-related disasters like flooding have turned lives upside down, destroying homes and neighborhoods – with no end in sight. New Democrats have a bold climate plan that will confront the climate crisis and help our communities protect themselves from the impacts of climate change, like flooding and forest fires. We won’t leave Canadians to deal with these disasters by themselves – it’s time to step up.

    We’ll expand federal funding by $2.5 billion to help communities respond to disasters and strengthen infrastructure to withstand floods and other extreme weather events. We will sit down with provinces, territories and local governments to ensure that the Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund meets the needs of communities.

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

    We’re committed to improving regulatory standards for air, marine and rail emissions to help Metro Vancouver fight against air pollution and climate change.

    We need to make sure every child can play outdoors in the fresh air without choking on hazardous fumes or smoke. Polluted air and unsafe drinking water hit the most vulnerable communities the hardest, deepening injustice and compounding decades of environmental discrimination.

    As a first step, it’s time to enshrine in law the right to a healthy environment. Our federal Environmental Bill of Rights will ensure that all communities can enjoy a guarantee to clean water, land, and air, and will set the stage for the adoption of serious measures to curb climate pollution.

    Recognizing that protecting our oceans is also an important part of fighting climate change, a New Democrat government work to reduce emissions from shipping and fishing, prevent ocean acidification, and reverse the loss of coastal blue carbon ecosystems, such as salt marshes. We’ll also protect ocean biodiversity by expanding well enforced marine protected areas.

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

    Conservation is a vital way to protect ecosystems and preserve biodiversity. We’re committed to protecting at least 30% of our land, freshwater, and oceans by 2030 and to backing those protections with the funding and enforcement in order to achieve this goal. We’ll also work with other levels of government to develop a system of urban national parks – to advance our conservation goals while connecting more Canadians to our natural heritage. And we will work with the provinces to develop a national approach to tree-planting, using responsible reforestation to help lower our carbon footprint.