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Letter: Housing is a priority, Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam MP says before Budget 2023

Your support will have a significant impact on helping support my exceptional community, Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam MP Ron McKinnon writes to Chrystia Freeland.
Ron McKinnon is the MP for Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam.

Open letter to the Honorable Chrystia Freeland, PC, MP Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Ottawa, Ont.

Dear colleague,

As the Member of Parliament for Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam, I am pleased to express the priorities of my constituency for the 2023 budget.

As a result of my pre-budget consultations across several sectors and groups in Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam, including a public townhall, I want to emphasize that addressing housing affordability and availability is my community’s top priority.

Following every consultation, affordable housing is the most pressing issue for my constituents.

I seek the following investments in the upcoming budget:

1. Addressing Homelessness and Housing Affordability

  • Create mechanisms to bring forth a Community Land Trust tax policy. This policy empowers community land trusts across Canada by mimicking the ecological gift program, which has unlocked $1 billion in private equity for ecological preservation. The Canadian Chambers of Commerce backs the Community Land Trust initiative.
  • Invest in housing co-operatives, with all affordable units (under market value), with some rent geared toward income subsidies to increase housing affordability at any income level. That would help match our immigration levels to housing availability.
  • Invest in immediate housing for homeless, vulnerable, disabled and low-income Canadians.
  • Establish an endowment fund that goes toward operations to help non-profits use shelters at the market rate.
  • Ensure that our immigration levels do not surpass our housing availability.

2. Seniors

  • Continue the path toward implementing national standards on long-term care and ongoing funding to whoever is delivering it.
  • Deliver on our goal of Pharmacare – perhaps a co-pay of 20 per cent or 50 per cent and complete consultations with all provinces.
  • Continue work with the provinces and territories to recognize foreign credentials Canada-wide.
  • Increase OAS and GIS by 10 per cent for all seniors — not just seniors aged 75 and older.
  • To meet unforeseen emergency needs, ensure greater flexibility in accessing RRIFs, LIFs and other RRSPs.
  • Create a Nurse Retention Fund to support provincial governments in sustaining our nurse workforce, which could help develop mentorship programs for new graduates and young nurses.

3. Business and Commerce

  • To tackle labour force shortages and ensure that it does not hinder our economy, we must increase the acceptance of Temporary Foreign Workers, and Permanent Residents.
  • Create more opportunities for Canadians to train in sectors with labour shortages, such as skilled trades or health care.
  • Place a greater focus on home-grown companies when awarding contracts and purchases.
  • To support supply chains, transportation and infrastructure, increase the capacity of the Vancouver Port Authority such as the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project.
  • Place a focus on economic recovery built through a focus on the private sector and responsible financial management.
  • Work with payment processing industries to achieve reductions in interchange fees for merchants, as well as fair, transparent services, to protect against fraud.
  • Continue to invest in communities across Canada by supporting the building of new public transit or other public infrastructure projects.
  • Enact a more competitive tax system, including regulatory policies positioning Canada as "open for business" in a free marketplace.
  • Expand EI to include periods of rest required by employees due to short-term health problems.

These requests resulted from careful consideration and extensive consultations with the community, stakeholders and experts.

Your support will have a significant impact on helping support my exceptional community.

Yours sincerely,

- Ron McKinnon, MP for Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam