Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau made a stop in Greater Victoria Thursday for the second day of the federal election campaign.
Joined by seven Liberal candidates at a Royal Oak construction site, Trudeau announced added incentives for the First-Time Home Buyers Incentive program, which provides Canadians up to 10 per cent off the purchase of their first home.
“We took a big step in the right direction but we know a lot of people are still struggling, especially in places like Victoria or Vancouver, where the cost of housing has skyrocketed due in part to housing speculation by foreign owners,” Trudeau said.
“So today, we’re announcing that a new Liberal government will expand the incentive to give even more help to people living in Victoria, the Greater Vancouver area and the Greater Toronto area.”
If relected, the value of a qualifying home will be increased from $500,000 to nearly $800,000 under the program. Trudeau also said a re-elected Liberal government would introduce a one per cent annual tax for residential property owners who are not Canadian and do not live in Canada, on top of local taxes already in place.
“Canadians living abroad or permanent residents in Canada will not be affected in any way,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau isn’t attending the Maclean’s/CityTV event in Toronto, choosing instead to spend Thursday in B.C. and Alberta, the latter hostile territory for the Liberal leader when it comes to the subject of oilsands development.
When asked why he wasn’t going to the debate, Trudeau just said he is looking forward to officially sanctioned debates in October, plus another French-language one hosted by TVA that he is scheduled to attend.
Trudeau will be using a new plane to campaign across B.C. and the rest of Canada after a wing on the original election plane was struck in Victoria by a bus used to transport journalists from the tarmac.
And Thursday was the fourth trip to Vancouver Island for Trudeau in less than a year. University of Victoria political scientist Michael Prince said Trudeau is spending so much time on the island because the party is hoping the Greens and NDP will split the progressive-left side, and allow the Liberals to scoot up the middle.
“Very interesting. Prime minister had a cabinet retreat in Nanaimo. Not only comes to surf in Tofino, but he’s come to Vancouver Island several times in the last two or three years,” Prince said.
That last federal Liberal elected on Vancouver Island happened in 2008. Liberal MP Keith Martin ran until he retired from politics. Since then, it’s been a drought for the party.
“It’s kind of the contrarian political culture. We tend to buck trends. If there is a liberal majority sweeping the country in 2015, we don’t elect any,” Prince said.
With files from The Canadain Press