Townhouse construction in the Lower Mainland. Premier John Horgan wants to expand supply of family residences and rental housing across the province. (Black Press files)

B.C. VIEWS: John Horgan on housing, child care

Premier faces costly urban issues, including marijuana legalization

Black Press legislative columnist Tom Fletcher sat down with Premier John Horgan to talk about his plans for 2018. Video of the interview is below, with a transcript of the premier’s comments on the NDP government’s plans for housing and child care.

TF: You made an aggressive campaign promise about housing. How is that going to look in 2018?

JH: We’ll have a comprehensive housing strategy that will involve the whole continuum of housing, not-for-profit, purpose-built rental housing, market housing.

We’re not building the housing. The public has to understand it’s not about government building 100,000 homes. It’s about government working with the development community, working with municipalities who regulate land use and implement changes in policy to help build more spaces or more density. We need to work together on this, and if we don’t, we’re going to continue to have a crisis.

We’ll be addressing the demand side as well, addressing the speculation in the marketplace. Monies from elsewhere have come into our housing market and distorted it to the point where people in the community can’t afford to live there. We need to address that, and it’s not going to be as simple as waving a magic wand or snapping your fingers. It’s going to be a sensitive intervention, but we need to correct the challenge we have where people are vacating the cities rather than making them vibrant.

TF: You have a similarly aggressive plan regarding child care. Same question, what can we expect in 2018?

JH: We’ll have a better program if we have federal participation, but we will have a program regardless. And I think some people have characterized that as, ‘well if the feds don’t show up, there will be no child care plan.’ We need to address this. This was the number two issue when I talked to people in the election campaign. First and foremost in the Lower Mainland it was housing, and across B.C., families can’t find someone to care for their kids. And if you can’t find someone to care for your kids in an affordable, safe environment, you’re going to stay home. That removes talent and innovation from the market and from the economy, and it makes it more difficult for families to get ahead. So I want to deliver on this commitment and I’m going to do it with or without the federal government. It’s going to be a key part of our budget in February.

[Finance Minister] Carole James and [Minister of State for Child Care] Katrina Chen are working diligently to make sure we’ve got the building blocks in place. We’ve already added to the number of child care spaces, another 3,500 spaces were announced across the province just a few weeks ago. We have a long distance to go, but it’s a program that I believe is [overdue]. We need to deliver child care for our citizens. That’s what jurisdictions in Scandinavia and other European countries have done as a matter of course.

TF: On the pending marijuana legalization, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth tells us that there are 18 separate provincial laws that have to be changed. Is this going to consume the whole spring session of the legislature, or interfere with things like housing and tax changes?

JH: I’m hopeful that’s not the case. Mike is responsible for shepherding through this revolutionary change in our cannabis laws and regulations here in B.C. This is a direction from the federal government, and that leaves us the responsibility of regulating distribution.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

CANNABIS: Surrey mayoral candidates talk legalization

Opinions on managing legal marijuana wildly vary among Surrey’s mayoral hopefuls

Change continuing theme for White Rock mayoralty candidates

Concerns over city direction voiced in Chamber and BIA-organized forums

Delta council to send ‘golden handshake’ back for public consultation, review

Although the benefit is going for review, outgoing council members will still receive the money

Clover Valley Beer Festival will return to Cloverdale next summer

Organizers announce early bird tickets available for three beer festivals

CANNABIS: No pot shops opening in Surrey anytime soon

‘There’s simply too many questions that need to be answered to ensure we get this right,’ says Surrey’s public safety director

Rick Mercer says pot is ‘excruciatingly boring’

Comedian hopes Canadians will move onto something else once marijuana is legalized

2 charged for feeding B.C. bear Tim Horton’s timbits

Court documents show that Randy Scott and Megan Hiltz have both been charged with feeding or attempting to feed dangerous wildlife.

Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set for parole bid after 25 years in prison

Bernardo’s parole hearing at the Bath Institution is expected to attract numerous observers

Feds aiming to select preferred design for $60B warships by end of month

Defence insiders say the government wants to select a design by the end of the month from among three options submitted by several of the largest defence and shipbuilding companies in the world.

B.C. city wants control over its cannabis advertising rules

Without a say, towns and cities risk Washington-State-style flood of advertising, proponent says

Defence cautions against mob justice in Calgary child neglect trial

Jennifer and Jeromie Clark of Calgary have pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death

Feds eyeing options to expedite pardons for minor pot convictions

Internal discussions have focused on an application-based process for speeding up pot pardons

U.S. pot firms urge Trump to dominate North American marijuana industry

Cannabis producers claim the U.S. is “rapidly losing” its competitive advantage to Canada

Battle resumes over speculation tax on B.C. vacant homes

Opposition calls it ‘fake’ tax that is reducing housing supply

Most Read