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Calgary MP Criticizes Mortgage Rules

A member of the federal Conservative Party has spoken out against the government’s latest salvo of mortgage rules.

MP Pat Kelly, a former mortgage professional and president of AMBA before becoming the representative for Calgary Rocky Ridge, told the House of Commons last week that he doubts the government’s blanket approach to mortgage rule-making.

“I’m concerned for young families who…may now have a harder time achieving their dream of home ownership,” Kelly said (the full speech can be viewed in the video below).

CMT spoke to Kelly for his position on the changes and on how they were implemented.

“Many people are concerned about affordability in some housing markets, yet the policy appears to have a one-size-fits-all solution that will have perhaps unintended consequences…for the 27 million Canadians that don’t live in Vancouver and Toronto,” he said.

Kelly noted that many members are hearing from consumers who are worried about the restrictions—particularly the new stress test requirements, since that’s the issue they most clearly understand and can relate to.

“We’re right to be concerned about [taxpayer risk]. But addressing this correctly and in a way that doesn’t target the wrong borrowers is important,” he added.

Even members of the Finance Minister’s own party have publicly questioned the consequences of his mortgage policies. “I have some concerns about it and I want to look at it more closely to see how it affects [the market] and trickles down,” Liberal MP Randeep Sarai told The Hill Times. “We want to make sure young families are not excluded from the markets…”

In the House of Commons, Kelly also expressed uneasiness about how the Minister’s announcement impacts competition in the mortgage business, adding that he’s “disappointed that this important policy change was imposed on consumers, Parliament and the mortgage industry with no consultation or notice.”

“When you change rules that affect millions of consumers, consultation with industry is generally expected,” he explained. Parliamentarians, even members of the Finance Minister’s own caucus, only heard the rules on the day they were announced.

Kelly also suggested that the government look at its own over-borrowing before dictating how all Canadian households must manage their finances. He suggested that making homes harder to purchase nationwide was “hypocritical of a government who said in the House that low interest rates are a great time to invest, a statement they made in response to their out-of-control deficit…A home that you raise your family in is an investment. A $40-billion deficit is not an investment.”