Connect with us


Housing affordability lies at the very heart of inequality

Government land-use regulations a principal source of this inequality Canada’s housing affordability crisis is a matter of considerable concern, especially…



Government land-use regulations a principal source of this inequality

Canada’s housing affordability crisis is a matter of considerable concern, especially for young people trying to buy a house. The worst problems are in the Vancouver and Toronto markets with their excessive land-use regulation.

Extensive international research associates stronger land-use regulation with diminished housing affordability. Vancouver and Toronto are experiencing substantial net migration of people to other markets in British Columbia and Ontario, where housing tends to be less costly. But housing affordability is deteriorating in markets subject to similar regulations.

This is illustrated in Demographia Housing Affordability in Canada, a report just released by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. It rates housing affordability in 46 Canadian markets (census metropolitan areas or CMAs).

Vancouver has a median price to pre-tax household income ratio (median multiple) of 13.3, which has more than tripled over the past half-century. In Toronto, the median multiple is 10.5, a near tripling since 2000.

Vancouver and Toronto are the third and 10th least affordable among the 92 markets in eight nations: Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Other B.C. CMAs now rated severely unaffordable (median multiples of 5.1 or more) include Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna, the Fraser Valley, Kamloops and Chilliwack.

Besides nearby Toronto, severely unaffordable Ontario markets include Hamilton, Oshawa, Cambridge, Peterborough, Kitchener-Waterloo, Barrie, Guelph, St. Catharines-Niagara, Brantford and London. Further away, Belleville and Kingston are also severely unaffordable.

During the pandemic, severely unaffordable housing has occurred in Montreal, Ottawa-Gatineau, Halifax, Charlottetown and Whitehorse.

But some markets are much more affordable, especially in the Prairies, Atlantic Canada and Quebec, outside Montreal. Among the larger markets, the most affordable are Edmonton (3.6), Quebec (3.7), Winnipeg (4.0) and Calgary (4.0).

However, only three of the 46 Canadian markets are rated “affordable” (median multiples of 3.0 or less): Fort MacMurray (2.1), Saguenay (2.8) and Moose Jaw (3.0). More are rated “moderately unaffordable,” with median multiples from 3.1 to 4.0: Cape Breton, Fredericton, Regina, Saskatoon, Medicine Hat, Trois-Rivieres, Saint John, St. John’s, Thunder Bay and Moncton.

There’s increasing concern about inequality because housing affordability is the very heart of inequality. When house prices triple relative to incomes, homeowners in the escalating markets gain, while those in markets with less escalation lose ground. Younger households, even those already in an expensive market, face greater inequality. Finally, renters – without house equity – face the largest losses. The reality is that when house prices rise faster than incomes, inequality inevitably increases.

Governments are a principal source of this inequality through their land-use regulations associated with diminished housing affordability. A principal example is ‘urban containment’ policy, which includes strategies like urban growth boundaries, greenbelts and agricultural preserves. These policies are intended to stop urban expansion but have driven up land prices in remaining urban areas where new houses can be built. Before the pandemic, all of the markets rated as severely unaffordable in Demographia International Housing Affordability were subject to urban containment regulations.

The higher land values from urban containment policies are the principal problem. House construction costs don’t vary substantially across the nation. For example, the costs per square foot to build the average detached house in the Vancouver or Toronto markets are no more than 30 per cent higher than in Winnipeg. Yet the higher land values push the average detached house prices to 340 per cent higher in Vancouver and 225 per cent higher in Toronto, compared to Winnipeg.

Moreover, these prohibitive land costs are principally beyond the control of any of the municipalities in larger markets, such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. The substantially-elevated land values at the urban periphery and throughout the urban area are largely driven by provincial laws and policies.

Where housing has become severely unaffordable, especially in British Columbia, Ontario and the Montreal CMA, policies should be restructured to reduce peripheral land values so house prices generally rise no faster than incomes.

Perhaps the greatest imperative is to preserve the affordability that already exists in markets where housing affordability has not deteriorated. These markets would include CMAs such as Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Quebec, Moncton and a number of other markets where a modicum of affordability has been retained.

By Wendell Cox

Wendell Cox is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and a principal at

Courtesy of Troy Media

Read More

Continue Reading


Von Der Leyen Speech Suggests Russia Dropped Nuke On Hiroshima 

Von Der Leyen Speech Suggests Russia Dropped Nuke On Hiroshima 

Von der Leyen just said what?…

This past Wednesday, President of the European…



Von Der Leyen Speech Suggests Russia Dropped Nuke On Hiroshima 

Von der Leyen just said what?...

This past Wednesday, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen delivered a speech before the 2023 Atlantic Council Awards in New York, where she sounded the alarm over the specter of nuclear war centered on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. But while invoking remembrance of the some 78,000 civilians killed instantly by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of WWII, she said her warning comes "especially at a time when Russia threatens to use nuclear weapons once again". She  actually framed the atomic atrocity in a way that made it sound like the Russians did it. Watch:

There was not one single acknowledgement in Von der Leyen's speech that it was in fact the United States which incinerated and maimed hundreds of thousands when it dropped no less that two atomic bombs on Japanese cities.

Here were her precise words, according to an Atlantic Council transcript...

You, dear Prime Minister, showed me the meaning of this proverb during the G7 summit in Japan last year. You brought us to your hometown of Hiroshima, the place where you have your roots and which has deeply shaped your life and leadership. Many of your relatives lost their life when the atomic bomb razed Hiroshima to the ground. You have grown up with the stories of the survivors. And you wanted us to listen to the same stories, to face the past, and learn something about the future.

It was a sobering start to the G7, and one that I will not forget, especially at a time when Russia threatens to use nuclear weapons once again. It is heinous. It is dangerous. And in the shadow of Hiroshima, it is unforgivable

The above video of that segment of the speech gives a better idea of the subtle way she closely associated in her rhetoric the words "once again" with the phrase "shadow of Hiroshima" while focusing on what Russia is doing, to make it sound like it was Moscow behind the past atrocities.

Via dpa

Russian media not only picked up on the woefully misleading comments, but the Kremlin issued a formal rebuke of Von der Leyen's speech as well:

In response to von der Leynen's remarks, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the European Commission president of making "no mention whatsoever of the US and its executioners who dropped the bombs on populated Japanese cities."

Zakharova responded on social media, arguing that von der Leyen's assertions on Moscow's supposed intentions to employ nuclear weapons "is despicable and dangerous" and "lies."

Some Russian embassies in various parts of the globe also highlighted the speech on social media, denouncing the "empire of lies" and those Western leaders issuing 'shameful' propaganda and historical revisionism.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/24/2023 - 13:15

Read More

Continue Reading


Saudi Arabia Sentences Schoolgirl To 18 Years In Prison Over Tweets

Saudi Arabia Sentences Schoolgirl To 18 Years In Prison Over Tweets

Via Middle East Eye,

Saudi Arabia has sentenced a secondary schoolgirl…



Saudi Arabia Sentences Schoolgirl To 18 Years In Prison Over Tweets

Via Middle East Eye,

Saudi Arabia has sentenced a secondary schoolgirl to 18 years in jail and a travel ban for posting tweets in support of political prisoners, according to a rights group.

On Friday, ALQST rights group, which documents human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, revealed that the Saudi Specialised Criminal Court handed out the sentence in August to 18-year-old Manal al-Gafiri, who was only 17 at the time of her arrest.

Via Reuters

The Saudi judiciary, under the de facto rule of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has issued several extreme prison sentences over cyber activism and the use of social media for criticising the government.

They include the recent death penalty against Mohammed al-Ghamdi, a retired teacher, for comments made on Twitter and YouTube, and the 34-year sentence of Leeds University doctoral candidate Salma al-Shehab over tweets last year.

The crown prince confirmed Ghamdi's sentence during a wide-ranging interview with Fox News on Wednesday. He blamed it on "bad laws" that he cannot change

"We are not happy with that. We are ashamed of that. But [under] the jury system, you have to follow the laws, and I cannot tell a judge [to] do that and ignore the law, because... that's against the rule of law," he said.

Saudi human rights defenders and lawyers, however, disputed Mohammed bin Salman's allegations and said the crackdown on social media users is correlated with his ascent to power and the introduction of new judicial bodies that have since overseen a crackdown on his critics. 

"He is able, with one word or the stroke of a pen, in seconds, to change the laws if he wants," Taha al-Hajji, a Saudi lawyer and legal consultant with the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights, told Middle East Eye this week.

According to Joey Shea, Saudi Arabia researcher at Human Rights Watch, Ghamdi was sentenced under a counterterrorism law passed in 2017, shortly after Mohammed bin Salman became crown prince. The law has been criticised for its broad definition of terrorism.

Similarly, two new bodies - the Presidency of State Security and the Public Prosecution Office - were established by royal decrees in the same year.

Rights groups have said that the 2017 overhaul of the kingdom's security apparatus has significantly enabled the repression of Saudi opposition voices, including those of women rights defenders and opposition activists. 

"These violations are new under MBS, and it's ridiculous that he is blaming this on the prosecution when he and senior Saudi authorities wield so much power over the prosecution services and the political apparatus more broadly," Shea said, using a common term for the prince.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/24/2023 - 11:30

Read More

Continue Reading


Biden To Join UAW Picket Line As Strike Expands, Good Luck Getting Repairs

Biden To Join UAW Picket Line As Strike Expands, Good Luck Getting Repairs

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

In a symbolic, photo-op…



Biden To Join UAW Picket Line As Strike Expands, Good Luck Getting Repairs

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

In a symbolic, photo-op gesture to win union votes, Biden will head to Michigan for a token visit.

Biden to Walk the Picket Line

Taking Sides

CNN had some Interesting comments on Biden Talking Sides.

Jeremi Suri, a presidential historian and professor at University of Texas at Austin, said he doesn’t believe any president has ever visited a picket line during a strike.

Presidents, including Biden, have previously declined to wade into union disputes to avoid the perception of taking sides on issues where the negotiating parties are often engaged in litigation.

On September 15, the day the strike started, Biden said that the automakers “should go further to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW.”

Some Democratic politicians have been urging Biden to do more. California Rep. Ro Khanna on Monday told CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich that Biden and other Democrats should join him on the picket line.

“I’d love to see the president out here,” he said, arguing the Democratic Party needs to demonstrate it’s “the party of the working class.”

UAW Announces New Strike Locations

As the strike enters a second week, UAW Announces New Strike Locations

UAW President Shawn Fain called for union members to strike at noon ET Friday at 38 General Motors and Stellantis facilities across 20 states. He said the strike call covers all of GM and Stellantis’ parts distribution facilities.

The strike call notably excludes Ford, the third member of Detroit’s Big Three, suggesting the UAW is more satisfied with the progress it has made on a new contract with that company.

General Motors plants being told to strike are in Pontiac, Belleville, Ypsilanti, Burton, Swartz Creek and Lansing, Michigan; West Chester, Ohio; Aurora, Colorado; Hudson, Wisconsin; Bolingbrook, Illinois; Reno, Nevada; Rancho Cucamonga, California; Roanoke, Texas; Martinsburg, West Virginia; Brandon, Mississippi; Charlotte, North Carolina; Memphis, Tennessee; and Lang Horne, Pennsylvania.

The Stellantis facilities going on strike are in Marysville, Center Line, Warren, Auburn Hills, Romulus and Streetsboro, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Plymouth, Minnesota; Commerce City, Colorado; Naperville, Illinois; Ontario, California; Beaverton, Oregon; Morrow, Georgia; Winchester, Virginia; Carrollton, Texas; Tappan, New York; and Mansfield, Massachusetts.

Contract Negotiations Are Not Close

Good Luck Getting Repairs

Party of the Working Cass, Really?

Let’s discuss the nonsensical notion that Democrats are the party of the “working class”.

Unnecessary stimulus, reckless expansion of social services, student debt cancellation, eviction moratoriums, earned income credits, immigration policy, and forcing higher prices for all, to benefit the few, are geared towards the “unworking class”.

On top of it, Biden wants to take away your gas stove, end charter schools to protect incompetent union teachers, and force you into an EV that you do not want and for which infrastructure is not in place.

All of this increases inflation across the board as do sanctions and clean energy madness.

Exploring the Working Class Idea

If you don’t work and have no income, Biden may make your healthcare cheaper. If you do work, he seeks to take your healthcare options away.

If you want to pay higher prices for cars, give up your gas stove, be forced into an EV, subsidize wind energy then pay more for electricity on top of it, you have a clear choice. If you support those efforts, by all means, please join him on the picket line for a token photo-op (not that you will be able to get within miles for the staged charade).

But if you can think at all, you understand Biden does not support the working class, he supports the unworking class.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/24/2023 - 10:30

Read More

Continue Reading