Removing barriers to build more homes, faster in Saint John
Thank you, Wayne, for your words, but thank you also for your extraordinary work for the people of Saint John. It really is a pleasure to be able to do so much with you here over the past many years. Donna, Mayor Reardon, thank you so much for your welcome as well, thank you for your leadership as we’ve come together with this announcement today. I want to thank the assembled councillors, Mayor Merrifield, other officials who are here.
This is really about all of us coming together to respond to the challenges that communities and individuals are facing right across the country. I had the opportunity to sit down with April, one of the residents of this building just earlier, and she talks about how challenging it was to find an affordable place to live, but also how much over the past months she’s been able to develop her independence, her sense of building a strong future through having a safe and, quite frankly, excellent place to live that is also affordable, because that really matters.
And this building we’re in here today is a recipient of federal partnership through the Affordable Housing Fund that delivered this excellent building, along with the work that the mayor and the province did on this. Just last week, Wayne, you were here with the mayor as well for a rapid housing announcement over at Barrack Green that is showing what we can do, especially to help the most vulnerable. We know there’s real challenges around homeless populations here in the city and across the country that we need to continue to step up on, and those are two different programs. And today we’re here to announce a third program, a really big one.
It’s the Housing Accelerator Fund. These are agreements we’re signing with now 22 cities across the country to accelerate the construction of homes, to build more homes, faster. It’s a matter of reducing barriers, speeding up processes in cities, increasing densification, working together, not only to make announcements like this one, but also to deliver a new way of building homes faster.
We’re here today for the 22nd Housing Accelerator Fund announcement across the country. We’ve worked very, very hard with the City of Saint John to come to an ambitious proposal that’s going to increase densification, that’s going to accelerate the processes in terms of building more housing more quickly. They’re looking at freeing up public land for housing. They’re looking at all the different things that are going to, not just make individual projects happen, but change the way all housing is built in this community and, by extension, right across the country.
We signed the Housing Accelerator deals with cities who were willing to step up and be bold and ambitious about meeting the growth that Canadians want and need, both in population and in our economy, and that’s exactly why I’m so happy to be here. It’s about building a better country for everyone in which people can have that building block and that pathway towards greater and greater success by having a secure and affordable place to live.
We know that people are worried that the promise of Canada doesn’t hold the way it used to, that promise that every generation should be able to succeed even better than the one before because of the work that we’ve done over generations and generations. People look at the challenges the world is facing right now, and the challenges we’re facing in our communities right across the country, and they’re worried that maybe that idea and that promise of progress doesn’t hold anymore.
Well, that’s why we’re working so hard to secure that promise, to make the kind of investments that are going to create an even better country and even better opportunities for everyone. It’s hard work, but the way it gets done is by rolling up our sleeves and doing it together. And that’s why I’m so pleased to be here with the mayor and the municipality on this one. There’s other programs we’ve worked very closely with the province on, including, for example, accelerating the construction of apartment buildings. We’ve removed the GST on the federal side, we encourage New Brunswick to match what the other Atlantic provinces have done and also remove the GST on the provincial side to make sure that the math works to build more and more rental homes, rental housing across the city, across the province, and, indeed, across the country.
A lot of work still to do, but we will be there to do it in partnership, by working to build a better future.
Canada is the best country in the world. We’re going to keep working together to make it even better.