How Calgary fits into parties’ promises

As part of the build-up to the upcoming federal election, the City of Calgary has published a new edition of its Cities Matter survey.

Since 2011, Mayor Naheed Nenshi (on behalf of Council and the City) has surveyed candidates and parties during provincial elections to better understand their positions on municipal issues.

CREB®Now delves into some of the issues surrounding Calgary and the responses provided by Canada’s major political parties.

Affordable Housing The Green Party is targeting the construction of 20,000 new and 8,000 rehabilitated affordable housing units each year for the next decade as part of their response to the question of affordable housing. The Liberals, meanwhile, are promising $125 million per year in tax incentives to increase and substantially renovate the supply of rental housing across Canada. The NDP propose the creation of an Affordable Housing Act, which would “recognize housing as a right and lead to the development of a national housing strategy that will prioritize housing for the most vulnerable in our society.” The Conservative Party suggests spending more than $2.3 billion per year over the next four years to help provide “affordable, sound and suitable housing.”

Public Transit The Liberals are promising $1.5 billion in funding for the Calgary’s Green Line – part of a $20-billion investment in transit nationwide – which largely mirrors the $1.53 billion that Conservatives are willing to contribute. The NDP propose a transit plan that would invest more than $1.3 billion annually over 20 years in funding for public transit. The party is also promising to increase transfers to Calgary through existing Gas Tax Fund. The Green Party, meanwhile, suggests dedicating one percentage point of GST (approximately $6.4 billion per year) to municipal infrastructure in general, including public transit.

Public Infrastructure Through the existing Gas Tax Fund, NDP’s infrastructure plan would see Calgary receive approximately $1 billion for core local infrastructure over the next 20 years, in addition to existing transfers of approximately $1.6 billion. If re-elected, the Conservatives aim to invest roughly $85 billion over the next 10 years in federal, provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure. The Liberals want to increase infrastructure investment to $125 billion – nearly double the current $65 billion – over the next decade, reaching an additional $9.5 billion within 10 years. The Green Party is promising to make municipalities “full partners” in the allocation of funds, and invest an additional $6.4 billion in infrastructure.

Flood Mitigation Preferring to stay away from numbers, the Green Party is promising to invest in “comprehensive response plans for flooding and other extreme weather events” in Canada. The Liberals are calling for a portion of the $125-billion infrastructure investment to go to flood-mitigation projects, while the NDP is promising to increase funding to the New Building Canada Fund – specifically targeted for disaster mitigation infrastructure – by $400 million. In its disaster relief plan, the Conservatives promise to continue to cover up to 90 per cent of “eligible” expenses for disaster recovery as requested by provinces and territories.

The Calgary Economy To help spur the local economy, the Conservatives are willing to cut the small business tax rate from 11 per cent to nine per cent over the next four years. The NDP, meanwhile, are promising to introduce a new Innovation Tax Credit, restore the tax credit for Labour Sponsored Venture Capital and restore funding to Canada’s research granting councils. To help diversify Calgary’s economy, the Green Party wants to create federally funded $1-billion-per-year Green Technology Commercialization Grants to accelerate emerging technologies. The Liberals want to invest $200 million more annually to create sector-specific strategies that support innovation and clean technologies in the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy, and agricultural sectors. The party also wants to invest an additional $100 million more per year in organizations that have been successful at supporting the emergence of clean technology.