Forward by CREA President Pauline Aunger

In recent polls conducted by EKOS Research, Ipsos Reid and Abacus Data the three major political parties are neck-and-neck.

With a race this close, anything can happen.

I'm proud to be part of a profession that is politically engaged — the 2015 CREA membership survey indicates that 84% of REALTORS® vote in federal elections!

In an effort to connect with REALTORS®, the leaders of all three major political parties have answered questions relevant to our industry.

Please take this opportunity — and the summer — to get to know your local candidates and the party leaders; because once the campaign hits high-gear, it will be a sprint to the finish line.

CREA will have resources available to help Boards, Associations and PAC Reps engage candidates during the election campaign, so stay tuned.

On behalf of the CREA Board of Directors and staff, I wish you a fun, safe and prosperous summer.

Your President,

Pauline Aunger


Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

One cornerstone of a strong economy is a strong, stable housing market. To that end, how can the federal government continue to support Canadian homeownership, especially for first time buyers, a significant percentage of whom borrow from their parents to buy a home?

Our Government is a strong supporter of home ownership. We recognize that for many Canadians, owning a home represents both the achievement of a key life goal and the most important investment of their lives. We have a record of providing targeted support to first-time home buyers. This includes the introduction of the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit (Budget 2009) to provide up to $750 in tax relief for first-home buyers and increasing the limit under the Home Buyers' Plan from $20,000 to $25,000 (Budget 2009) to help first-time home buyers cover their down payment.

Our Government also introduced the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA), which provides aspiring homeowners with the most flexible savings vehicle ever offered. In our most recent Budget, we doubled the amount that Canadian savers can contribute to their TFSA. Our Government has also delivered other landmark tax-saving initiatives, like slashing the GST and introducing the Family Tax Cut. As a result of our Government's action, Canada has one of the best job creation records in the G7, is consistently ranked among the best countries in the world to do business, and the federal tax burden is at its lowest level in a generation. This strong economic management has created a stable and confident environment for both real estate investment and home ownership. We will continue to look at ways to support aspirational homeowners enter the market.

PMO Office

left to right: Gary Simonsen, CEO, CREA; Cliff Iverson, President-Elect, CREA; Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Pauline Aunger, President, CREA; Beth Crosbie, Past President, CREA; and Andrew Peck, Vice-President, CREA.


How can the federal government support small-business people, like REALTORS®, to ensure their businesses thrive?

Our Government has taken significant measures to support small businesses – including REALTORS® – in the last few years.  We cut the federal small business tax rate to 11 percent in 2008 and have passed legislation that will cut it further to 9 per cent by 2019. We have also reduced the red tape burden faced by business by more than $32 million per year, saved business owners more than 750,000 hours of red tape compliance, introduced the Small Business Job Credit to provide relief to small businesses on Employment Insurance premiums paid in 2015 and 2016, and increased the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption.

Why is the financial literacy of Canadians important to the Canadian economy and how can we help to continue to educate Canadians about it?

A strong and stable financial system depends on the ability of its users to make informed decisions. We appointed Canada's first Financial Literacy Leader to mobilize and collaborate with Canadians all across the country. We have entered a partnership with Canada's banks to establish a five-year Financial Literacy Partnership Fund of $10 million to fund community-based, financial literacy projects and would welcome the opportunity to leverage the knowledge and networks of Canada's REALTORS®.


Leader of the Official Opposition Thomas Mulcair

Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Official Opposition

Why is the financial literacy of Canadians important to the Canadian economy and how can we help to continue to educate Canadians about it?

Financial literacy allows Canadians to make the best economic choices for their families, which can have important benefits for the entire economy. For example, a family that doesn't understand the risks associated with a variable rate mortgage relative to a fixed rate mortgage can lose their home if interest rates increase. If this happens to hundreds or thousands of families it could have disastrous effects for the Canadian economy. This is just a single example; financial literacy is incredibly important to issues ranging from buying a house to planning for one's retirement. While industry groups have made efforts to boost Canadians' financial literacy, it's clear that all levels of government have a role to play. For the federal government, our focus needs to be on helping Canadians better understand the tax code and the housing market. This is work that MPs and their constituency offices should be doing every day.

How can the federal government support small-business people, like REALTORS®, to ensure their businesses thrive?

New Democrats understand that small business people like CREA members drive economic growth and job creation in Canada. 98% of all businesses in Canada have fewer than 100 employees. They contribute 40% of Canada's GDP and created almost 80% of all new private sector jobs between 2002 and 2012. Yet, the Conservatives have ignored Canada's small business owners in favour of supporting wealthier, more profitable corporations. We understand that we need to reduce taxes on small business people to kick-start job creation. That's why I have announced that an NDP government will cut the small business tax rate to 9% and make it easier for small business owners to deal with government programs and departments.

One cornerstone of a strong economy is a strong, stable housing market. To that end, how can the federal government continue to support Canadian homeownership, especially for first time buyers, a significant percentage of whom borrow from their parents to buy a home?

Housing prices are skyrocketing and forty percent of first time buyers say they can't afford to buy a home without parental help. In big cities like Vancouver and Toronto, middle-class families are being priced right out of their own housing market. The NDP plan to address affordable home ownership includes enacting legislation to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing. We will also review current programs and policies to ensure they are effective and will allow first time buyers to afford to own their first home. More details on the NDP's plan to help first time homeowners will be released at a later date.


Leader of the Liberal Party Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party

One cornerstone of a strong economy is a strong, stable housing market. To that end, how can the federal government continue to support Canadian homeownership, especially for first time buyers, a significant percentage of whom borrow from their parents to buy a home?

The federal government has a key role to play in helping Canadians realize their dreams of homeownership.

This starts with restoring a sense of confidence in the housing market. Since 2006, when 40-year mortgage insurance was introduced, we have seen this Conservative government dramatically change the rules on three separate occasions. For home buyers – especially first-time home buyers – it becomes very difficult to plan when the rules are constantly changing.

The government of Canada should also examine existing home buyer support measures to determine if they are still fair and effective. If inflation has eroded the value of the measures, for example, then steps should be taken to update them.

How can the federal government support small-business people, like REALTORS®, to ensure their businesses thrive?

Investing in community infrastructure is something the federal government can do to help support small business people, like REALTORS®.

Not only does this boost productivity by ensuring that people can travel between their homes and their jobs with ease, but it attracts young families and others who want to live and work in livable communities.

I am also a believer in a robust business culture – one that encourages and rewards investment and growth. Competitive and fair corporate tax rates help make that happen.

Why is the financial literacy of Canadians important to the Canadian economy and how can we help to continue to educate Canadians about it?

Improving the financial literacy of Canadians is vital to our economy and should be a priority for all orders of government. The implications are greater than many might think: financial literacy directly impacts the volatility of the housing market, as well as the health of the entire financial sector.

But financial literacy is not just about understanding compound interest rates. It is also about understanding everything that affects Canadians financially. Right now, there are tax benefits, like the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit, that many people don't know about. Our plan for real change will mandate the Canada Revenue Agency to inform Canadians about all unclaimed tax benefits so they can take advantage of them – including those benefits that will help Canadians buy their home.

The private sector also has an important role to play in educating Canadians about financial literacy. Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to planning to buy property. That is why so many Canadians rely on the advice of professionals, such as REALTORS®, to help them find a home that they can afford.


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