BY SHANE WENZEL
I like to read commentary by various writers on what they think will be most important occurrences in the upcoming year. I have a stack of “The Year Ahead” Maclean’s magazines, but also collect “The World Ahead” by The Economist.
I typically avoid Maclean’s the rest of the year because it noticeably caters to eastern Liberal politics. On the other hand, The Economist covers the entire world and prints facts rather than opinions. This time there is only room for my take on some factors that Maclean’s see for 2024.
The housing sector this year, which is the most talked about, challenged any possibility of cheers from me when they talked about the $4 billion government Accelerator Fund and the 100,000 homes they expect completed in three years. Personally, I am not sure how that can be accomplished. There are a number of “but only ifs” to go along with the program criteria. Words like a requirement for density-boosting guidelines, removing parking and exclusionary zoning called for by Trudeau & Co. who have never built 30,000-plus homes in a single year, makes the prediction around it rather naïve.
Where are the trades coming from? To my knowledge, no specific requirements for ‘experienced’ building trades is being requested and screened for by Immigration Canada! When Calgary was named along with Humboldt, Saskatchewan as ‘two example cities’ to watch, I decided someone needs a class in civics. Humboldt is a very nice ‘town’ of 6,000, but with much different needs than Calgary’s population of 1,640,000, which gained 86,000 plus newcomers in 2023 alone.
The writer’s prediction that a tiny-home movement “will sweep the nation” as one affordable housing option tells me this is someone who has not actually discussed any associated costs. Each “tiny home” requires their own underground utilities dug into deep trenches. The same holds for the idea of alley or coach homes also mentioned as possibilities. Too bad this kind of information is not released at the same time. After all, we taxpayers are paying for this.
From there, the politics showed even more as the chapters moved into ‘climate change.’ Apparently, public clean air shelters will be built by the government with high-grade filtration systems to contend with ‘smoke particles’ in the air if wildfires occur. Why not just utilize the ‘never used’ COVID encampments that are currently stored in a warehouse in Quebec? Better yet why not just create incentives for homeowners to upgrade their filtration systems?
A $50M (yes, million) evacuation centre is being built in northern Ontario on the Missanabie Cree First Nation, as an ideal template ‘they say’. It is opening this spring with recreational facilities, commercial kitchens and dining areas for its temporary visitors. I wonder if that is where the lithium and other ‘rare earth’ soils are scheduled to be dug for those two recently subsidized battery plants granted to Ontario? And is this centre for the First Nations group that have been holding up the dig?
These are not Maclean’s ideas, only their predictions made off government-stated policy. But seriously, everyone – it’s time to “stop scaring the kids.”