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BC  

Housing, kids top agenda

British Columbia's New Democrats say their quest to make life more affordable for residents involves making the largest-ever investments in housing and child care.

In its speech from the throne on Tuesday, the minority government says its ultimate goal is affordability for B.C. residents.

The speech outlining the government's plans, read by Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon, says it will move to address housing demand and stabilize B.C.'s out-of-control real estate and rental markets.

The government plans to take measures to ensure people who seek to profit from B.C.'s real estate market will also contribute to housing solutions.

The speech says legislation will be introduced to crack down on tax fraud, tax evasion and money laundering in B.C.'s real estate market.

It says the government will start the journey this year to affordable, quality child care by moving to convert unlicensed spaces to licensed, regulated care allowing more parents to benefit from savings provided by the government.

"Safe, affordable, licensed child care will become B.C.'s standard, giving parents the peace of mind they need and quality care they can rely on," Guichon said in the legislature. "We begin this year by making a difference in the cost of child care for tens of thousands of families with the largest investment in child care in B.C. history."

The speech says the greatest challenge to affordability in B.C. is housing.

"Young families wait longer to have children, or give up their dreams of home ownership because they cannot afford to pay for both," Guichon said. "Businesses cannot grow when the skilled workers they need are shut out by the high cost of housing. Renters are afraid of eviction or unexpected rent increases that will force them to relocate when prices are sky high and vacancies hover at record lows."

The speech says the results of real estate speculation are evident across B.C. with distorted markets, high prices and empty homes.

"Your government believes that people seeking to profit from B.C.'s real estate must also contribute to housing solutions," said Guichon. "Safe, decent housing is a right that is under threat by speculators, domestic and foreign, who seek windfall profits at the expense of people who work, live and pay taxes in B.C."

The speech says the government will pursue its innovation goals with plans to create 2,900 new technology related spaces at colleges and universities throughout B.C.



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