pot

Mortgage stress test could become election issue

The Conservative Party of Canada plans to make the mortgage stress test a hot button issue in time for next year’s election, but explaining such a convoluted issue to Canadians could pose a challenge.

The party’s Deputy Shadow Minister for Finance tabled two motions this year to study the impact of the stress test, known as B-20, but they were both rejected by the Liberals. Nevertheless, MP Tom Kmiec has vowed to put the mortgage stress test on the agenda in time for the Oct. 2019 federal election.

“It will be an election issue, absolutely,” said Kmiec. “I’m willing to use procedural tools to get this study done. I’m not necessarily saying to get rid of B-20 completely; I’m saying take a look at the data and then make a decision on it. I’m asking the Liberals to provide any internal documents they have showing why the mortgage rules were introduced in the first place.”

Kmiec has started a website to pressure the Liberals into studying B-20’s effects. He claims that he was initially told B-20 wouldn’t be examined in the absence of more data, however, much has since come to light about Canadians being shut out of the housing market.

Kmiec is dogged, to be sure. He participated in the electoral reform committee’s filibuster.

“If it comes down to it, I’m happy to use up every two-hour time limit on every single committee until we agree to do a mortgage study,” said Kmiec. “I’m not asking for the moon, either. All I want are a few meetings in Ottawa where we can invite people with data who can then tell us what’s happening with the market.”

But communicating the message will doubtless be challenging for the Conservatives. Ron Butler of Butler Mortgage can attest to how difficult buying homes has become this year, but too few Canadians have born that brunt for the impact to truly be understood.

However, given that mortgage renewals are subject to the same stringent B-20 qualification rules, Butler believes it is still possible to make Canadians understand how detrimental the stress test is.

“It won’t be hot button, but if it’s messaged right, it could be,” he said. “If it’s presented properly as a group of themes about the incompetence, in terms of the ability to handle the file—why has Mexico settled NAFTA already and Canada hasn’t? Why did we buy a pipeline that got shut down? It’s a good thing to add to the general list of incompetence. On its own, it isn’t a hot button issue, but if you want to weave it into a tapestry of every day, practical fiscal management, it could work.”

 

by Neil Sharma01 Oct 2018, www.canadianrealestatemagazine.ca

Saskatchewan pot retailers face lottery draw

Private retailers will be allowed to handle pot sales - if they're lucky enough to be chosen by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority lottery

Potential marijuana retailers in Saskatchewan will be chosen by a lottery as the province has opted to allow private outlets to handle pot sales, according to the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA).

Both wholesaling and retailing of cannabis will be conducted by the private sector and regulated by the SLGA, said Gene Makowsky, minister responsible for SLGA. 

The SLGA plans to issue about 60 cannabis retail permits in about 40 municipalities and First Nation communities. 

The federal government has stated that marijuana sales will be legalized as of July 1, 2017, which is when Saskatchewan’s first cannabis outlets are expected to open.

Retailers will be selected based on a lottery and licences should be awarded by March 1. Winning retailers will be allowed a single marijuana outlet in any community.

“Our government is being diligent to ensure the sale and regulation of cannabis in Saskatchewan strikes a balance between public safety and access for consumers,” Makowsky said in a news release.

Municipalities and reserves will retain the right to refuse permits for marijuana retailers.

WI Staff Western Investor

February 5, 2018