Why Andrew Scheer's plan won't actually make life more affordable

Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada Andrew Scheer arrives for the French debate for the 2019 federal election, in Montreal. (Getty Images)

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has been promising to "lower the cost of living and leave more money back in your pockets,” but a new report shows his plan to help you “get ahead” wouldn’t actually be the best path to making life more affordable.

Generation Squeeze, a national research, education and advocacy organization for Canadians in their 20s, 30s and 40s, analyzed each party’s plan using a number of metrics, which can be found here.

The report looked at housing affordability, affordability of starting a family, and fairness of budgets across generations. The Conservatives ranked last in each category.

Paul Kershaw, UBC professor and founder of Generation Squeeze, says he isn’t telling anyone who to vote for. Instead, he hopes to get to the bottom of whether or not the parties’ proposals will actually make a difference.

“We orient this report in part to parties. Gen Squeeze thinks we share some common goals, like housing and family affordability. We’re using the best available evidence from the academy to identify game plans to achieve those goals, and show how parties align,” Kershaw told Yahoo Finance Canada.

One of the biggest issues — especially for young voters — is housing affordability. Scheer has pledged to scale back the mortgage stress test and bring back 30-year mortgages.

“We can’t simply assume we can solve the housing affordability crisis by encouraging younger Canadians to borrow more,” Kershaw said.

(Generation Squeeze)

Kershaw said there are some bright spots in Scheer’s housing affordability plan, including the proposed task force on money laundering. He also supports making more federal land available for affordable housing, as long as the land isn’t sold off.

“If we are making federal lands available, we need to lock in land prices as a public asset for good that will be free from speculative forces, rather than sell it off for short-term deficit reduction,” he added.

(Generation Squeeze)

The Conservatives are also promising a number of tax incentives that will save families a few hundred dollars each year, but Kershaw says those don’t go far enough.

“The tax cuts that the Conservatives are proposing are not sufficient to compensate for the fact that rents are so much higher than in the past, and child care costs another rent-sized payment today,” he said.

Scheer also has a plan for parents, including making parental leave benefits tax-free.

“The Conservatives are definitely wanting to make time at home with a new baby slightly more affordable,” said Kershaw.

“We think they should make it dramatically more affordable, especially as the ‘family values’ party, but it’s an incremental step in the right direction,” said Kershaw.

The Conservatives fare particularly poorly when it comes to intergenerational budgeting, receiving a negative score.

(Generation Squeeze)

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

Yahoo Finance Canada

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