It’s a familiar scene.
You walk into your local grocery store, ask for a can of soup, and they will hand you a bag of chocolates.
You’re told that it’s not a typical day for the company and you’re being given a sample.
But it’s a story you will hear again and again as we enter this election year.
It is a story that has been around for a while, and in a world where many Canadians are living with the prospect of a massive housing bubble, there is a common misconception that the government will keep people from buying homes.
But as the B.C. Liberals begin to make their first foray into housing policy in decades, the truth is that they will only be able to prevent a bubble if the federal government does its part.
A government that has the political capital to put more housing into homes is also in a position to take the lead in building affordable homes, which is the biggest challenge facing Vancouver and BC in 2017.
The provincial government has pledged $10 billion over the next decade to address the shortage of housing in Vancouver and surrounding areas.
But when it comes to building affordable housing, there’s a very big gap between what the provincial government says and what it does.
In 2017, BC government policy is largely driven by the Liberal Party.
That’s because the BC Liberal Party is a party that represents wealthy homeowners who have been lobbying the province for years.
But for a party of millionaires, the Liberals have not been particularly active on housing.
BC Liberal Party leader Christy Clark and BC’s Premier Christy Clark.
When the Liberal party was first elected in 2017, the party promised to build more than 3,500 affordable homes by 2021.
The party had promised to invest $20 billion over three years to build affordable housing.
The promise was later revised to just $15 billion over four years.
This money is meant to be used for building affordable and supportive housing.
It’s not meant to build new houses.
B.C.’s housing minister has acknowledged that the money has not been spent as promised.
“The money will go towards a number of things, including building affordable, supportive housing, and building new affordable housing,” said NDP MLA Sarah Doucette in an interview with CBC News.
So far, the province has only spent $5 million on affordable housing for families.
The Liberals are proposing to spend another $20 million.
In other words, the federal and provincial governments have only spent about $7 million of the money promised for affordable housing in 2017-18.
With all the money already spent, the BCP has pledged to build an additional 1,100 affordable homes over the three years, but not enough to meet the demand.
The Liberal Party has also promised to expand its affordable housing program, but that hasn’t happened.
While there are a few exceptions, many of the affordable housing that has come to Vancouver has been built on the back of the BC government’s promise to build 3,000 homes.
So far, no new affordable homes have come to market.
Despite these obstacles, the Liberal government has made it clear that they believe that there is an opportunity for housing to be built in the city of Vancouver.
In a recent meeting with the mayors of Vancouver and Vancouver Island, Premier Clark and Finance Minister John Horgan talked about a housing strategy that would focus on “building the foundation of a strong, resilient economy, building sustainable jobs, and providing for the needs of our citizens.”
There is no shortage of opportunity for Vancouver to expand the supply of affordable housing and provide affordable housing to people who have nowhere else to live.
There are plenty of opportunities for Vancouver.
If the BC NDP is going to win, it will need to convince BC’s wealthy homeowners to buy more affordable housing on their own.
As we enter the last months of the election campaign, we will be hearing again and a second time about the BCA Liberals promising to invest in housing for the future.
And when the Liberals take the helm of the province, they will be able put Vancouver’s housing shortage in perspective.