By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 0 Comments
The Conservative issued a bulletin on Wednesday morning to warn that Bill C-400, an NDP MP’s bill calling for a national housing strategy, would cost a minimum of $5.5 billion per year.
C-400, as a private member’s bill, can’t include “financial provisions” unless the government consents. According to the summary of the bill, its purpose is ”to require the Minister responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to consult with the provincial ministers of the Crown responsible for municipal affairs and housing and with representatives of municipalities, Aboriginal communities, non-profit and private sector housing providers and civil society organizations in order to establish a national housing strategy.” (With the Conservatives voting against, the bill was defeated Wednesday evening.)
So how does the Conservative party conclude that the cost is $5.5 billion per year? The party’s release cites “Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.” I enquired with the office of Human Resources Minister Diane Finley. Ms. Finley’s office directed me to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. CMHC did, in fact, publish a “backgrounder” on C-400. That backgrounder states “the proposed bill C-400 would cost Canadians over $5.5 billion per year in rental subsidies alone.” The backgrounder goes on for another 684 words, none of which explain that estimate.
So I asked the CMHC: How had this estimate been calculated? To what in the bill did it refer? And how often did the CMHC provide analysis of legislation and private members’ bills?
Wednesday night, the CMHC sent along the following. Continue…