KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (Oct 3, 2011) – With time winding down to the Ontario Provincial election there are many issues on voters’ minds, but for the REALTORS® in Waterloo Region, home ownership concerns have been at the forefront of meetings with local candidates.
“Unfortunately, home owners and those who one day dream of owning a home are not always top of mind with our friend’s at Queen’s Park” says George Patton, President of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR).
In the past several weeks, representatives from KWAR have had an opportunity to meet with every candidate in the three ridings it serves, from all major parties (with the exception of Liberal incumbent Leanna Pendergast, Kitchener-Conestoga and Green Party candidate J.D. McGuire, Kitchener-Waterloo), to discuss their stance on the three issues put forth by the Ontario Real Estate Association’s “Home Ownership Matters” campaign – the out-dated Land Transfer Tax (LTT) rebate for first-time homebuyers, a potential Ontario Home Renovation tax rebate and re-establishing the Ontario Home Energy Savings program.
The Liberal party’s Ontario Clean Energy Benefit, which will save Ontarians 10% on their electricity bills until 2015, and their plan to heavily invest in clean and sustainable energy were the highlights of the Liberal initiatives to make home ownership more affordable. Liberal incumbent John Milloy (Kitchener-Centre), and candidate Eric Davis (Kitchener-Waterloo), acknowledged the desperate need to help curb rising costs associated with owning a home.
Elizabeth Witmer (Kitchener-Waterloo) and fellow Conservatives Dave MacDonald (Kitchener-Centre) and Michael Harris (Kitchener-Conestoga) drew attention to the Conservative plan to remove the HST from and the debt retirement charge from hydro bills to help with the cost of running a home. Mr. Harris and MacDonald recounted that during their door-to-door visits the most popular topic of discussion was the increasing cost of running a household.
New Democratic Party candidates Isabel Cisterna (Kitchener-Waterloo), Cameron Dearlove (Kitchener-Centre) and Mark Cairns (Kitchener-Conestoga) expressed genuine concern for home ownership. The NDP are one of two parties whose political platform openly supports energy saving home retrofit rebates for homeowners with the Green party being the other supporter. Along with their endorsement of the retrofit rebate program the NDP also plan to remove the HST from heating and hydro bills by 2015.
Green candidates Robert Rose (Kitchener-Conestoga) and Mark Vercouteren (Kitchener-Centre) met with representatives of the KWAR to talk about the Green’s clean energy initiatives designed to deliver clean and more affordable energy to homeowners across Ontario.
The KWAR appreciates all the candidates who took the time out of their busy campaign schedules to listen to the concerns about rising costs associated with home ownership.
“As REALTORS® we know how important home ownership is to the people we work for, the communities we live in and the place we call home,” says Patton. “That’s why we have been a strong advocate for home owners throughout this campaign, and we urge everyone to get out and vote on October 6.”