The wait is over! View the March 2023 Rentsync National Rental Demand Report.
The wait is over! View the March 2023 Rentsync National Rental Demand Report.
Peter Shawn Taylor, Senior Features Editor at C2C Journal
What would it look like if we completely eliminated the private sector from our rental housing industry and replaced them solely with social housing, like the prefabricated panel buildings (also known as panelkis) of Bulgaria’s Communist era? This week’s episode of the Sync or Swim Podcast focuses on the Canadian rental housing industry. Our guest today is Peter Shawn Taylor, Senior Features Editor at the C2C Journal. He joined us to discuss his most recent article, titled, ‘Marxism Won’t Solve Canada’s Rental Housing Crisis — Despite What Ottawa Thinks,’ a piece that grabbed the attention of many players in the Canadian rental housing industry. We dive into an engaging discussion with Peter and gain his insights into the current rental housing crisis being faced in Canada. He talks us through the newly formed Canadian Federal Housing Advocate role, what the financialization of housing means, and different tensions surrounding the root cause and the solution to the housing crisis.
If you’re interested in learning more about what’s happening in the rental housing industry and how the crisis is being navigated, this episode is for you. You can also follow the link to read Peter’s article in the C2C Journal. Don’t miss out, tune in now!
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PST:"If you want supply fast, the private sector is always the group that's going to be able to deliver, because that's simply what they do. Capital is what they do.”
[00:00:08] ANNOUNCER: Hello, and welcome to Sync or Swim, a weekly podcast brought to you by Rentsync, where we take a deep dive into the PropTech, multi-family, and rental housing industry. In each episode, we uncover the technologies and strategies used to help overcome operational challenges and increase the value of your multi-family investments. So, let’s get into our conversation today.
[00:00:33] MH: All right, welcome back to another episode of Sync or Swim Podcast, where we take a deep dive into the PropTech, multi-family and rental housing industry. Today we’ll be focusing on the latter, the Canadian rental housing industry. We have a bit of a different episode for you today. Joining us is Peter Shawn Taylor, Senior Features Editor at the C2C Journal. Peter, thank you for joining me today.
[00:00:53] PST: My pleasure, Matt.
[00:00:54] MH: Now the reason we have brought in Peter today is to discuss one of his most recent article, titled, Marxism Won't Solve Canada's Rental Housing Crisis, Despite what Ottawa, Thinks. This piece grabbed the attention of many players in the Canadian rental housing industry. It's no secret that Canada is currently facing a housing crisis. Supply is down with no real relief on the horizon. Some people in Ottawa believe the crisis stems from some other reasons. We wanted to have Peter on to discuss his article even further and get his insights into the housing crisis we currently face. Before we dive in, Peter why don't you tell the listeners a bit about yourself and what led you to write this article?
[00:01:32] PST: Sure. Well, as you said, I'm a Senior Features Editor at C2C journal. That's an online Canadian magazine focused on essay length pieces on economics, politics, public policy, that stuff. Web address is www.c2cjournal.ca. I've been there for about four or five years
now. Before that I've had quite a long career in print journalism. I was at the National Post when it started. I was at Maclean's for about 11 years. Canadian Business Magazine, I was a staff writer, written regularly for Globe and Mail and ROB magazine. I’ve been around for a while, and started in 1989. I have a master's in economics. I look for stories that marry economics and politics, and public policy. Housing does all those things. It's one of my favourite topics along with childcare, and airports, and anything that brings together economics and politics in that way.
I've spent a lot of time on housing. I've written quite a bit about it. When last summer I got an email, I guess I’m on some email list from the Federal Housing advocate, which was an organization I'd never heard of before, but to a federal office, they sent me a email about their investigation into the financialization of the housing market. I figured this is something I should probably take a look at. As I read, I got more and more outraged or shocked or befuddled by what I found, which means you're probably onto a pretty good story.
Something that hasn't been covered very much by the rest of the media, but some of the things going on in Ottawa with respect to housing and coming out of this federal housing advocate and the National Housing Council, which is another organization that's just recently been set up by the Liberal government. There's a lot there to chew on. Certainly, I think it should be of great interest to the purpose-built rental housing industry in Canada. There's some very troubling things there. That's a medium length version of how I ended up to write this story.
[00:03:41] MH: There's a lot to chew on, and we'll definitely get into it. For any listeners who haven't really had a chance to read your piece, we'll attach it when we put this out for anyone to get a chance who haven’t, but try to set the stage a little bit for any listeners who haven't had a chance yet. You mentioned Canada's Federal Housing Advocates and their office. This is a main character in your article. This is a new position created by the Trudeau Government. Her name is Marie-Josée Houle. Could you just briefly explain what Marie and this office has been tasked with?
[00:04:15] PST: Sure this comes out of the Trudeau Government's, 2019 Federal Housing Strategy, one of the key, but perhaps underreported aspects of that strategy is the claim that housing is a human right. This is a certainly a novel and somewhat contentious argument. The Liberals passed a bill in which they claimed to abide by the notion that housing is a human
right. You need to mention that this is not the same as it actually being mentioned in the Charter of Rights, for instance, it’s not. It's really just a statement of policy.
Now, the government could come along and cancel the bill and this would go away, but be that as it may, Trudeau liberals are currently operating their housing policy with the belief that housing is a human right. As part of that they created this Office of the Federal Housing Advocate. Marie-Josée Houle who was appointed almost a year ago, February 2022 and they created a National Housing Council, which is supposed to give advice and advocate and this council are supposed to work together in some ways to bring issues up that reflect this housing as a basic human right — perspective.
The first thing that the Federal Housing Advocate has done, really, of any substance is commissioned a whole series of reports and studies on what they call The Financialization of Housing in Canada. The quick version is that it's all bad. The Federal Housing Advocate has asked the National Housing Council to hold an inquiry into this. Attention will be paid to Financialization of Housing in Canada, which has become the rallying cry of this political pursuit. The next question you might ask me is Financialization of Housing. What does that mean?
[00:06:07] MH: Exactly, what I was going to ask you.
[00:06:09] PST: It’s a very good question, because it is not entirely clear other than the fact that all these folks think it's a very bad thing. They don't do a very good job of defining it precisely. Really, it's just a catch all phrase for anything they don't happen to like about how the housing market works now is evidence of financialization. I can give you – I got the reports here. I can give you a couple of what they claimed to be the definition and when this, the summary, this comes from the summary report of the Federal Housing Advocate in her investigation into financialization.
Financialization refers to a shift in the operations of capitalism, in which finance capital has come in recent decades to dominate the economy and everyday life. Financialization has also been measured by researchers who attracted a growing increase in financial transactions. The profitability of financial firms and the growing share of national income is taken by holders of financial assets. I could go on all sorts of different definitions pop-up in this work. Generally, it's an animosity towards anyone making profit in the rental housing market. These folks use capitalism as a pejorative. They think making a profit is bad. Making a profit denies people their
basic human rights to housing if housing was cheaper, and because people weren't making a profit at it, then more people would be able to l their human destiny to have the housing that they wanted.
As you read the title of my piece, the first word was Marxism. This is, it always sound a little goofy if you go around claiming your opponents are Marxists, but I think this is one of those cases when it's pretty clear. This is their general predisposition. It's not just ooh the Federal Housing Advocate. She's assembled to a team of academics across Canada to promote her
idea of financialization. There's a whole series of reports, not just one report, a whole series of reports written by academics who all seem to share the same political outlook that capitalism is bad. Profit is bad. If we didn't have capitalists, everyone would have a better house and be happier. That's my perspective on what financialization means. If you asked the Federal Housing Advocate to her opinion, you might get something different, but that's from my perspective, generally, and animosity towards capitalists and anyone who makes a profit in the rental housing market.
[00:08:36] MH: I know you reached out to her office and I think you were – [00:08:39] PST: Several times. Yeah.
[00:08:40] MH: Denied for her take on what’s financialization –
[00:08:42] PST: She’ll talk to the – and like a week after that, I saw her interviewed by the Globe and Mail. It's not that she was completely unreachable. It was just she didn't feel like having to explain herself to me, I guess. The same and I might add her the academic who seems to have done most of the work for her Martine August of the University of Waterloo. She also refused several requests from me for an interview. They've got lots to say, but they don't want to say it to me.
[00:09:10] MH: I think that's a good understanding for the listeners of what financialization means, and how they're blaming the current crisis on financialization. I mean, in your opinion, what do you believe is the root cause of the rental housing crisis in Canada right now? How does it differ from this office's understanding of the issue?
[00:09:29] PST: Well, I think what's most interesting is you look at how does the Federal Housing Advocate think that we can solve a current housing crisis, which as you said, is really
a lack of supply. You go through the recommendations made in these reports. They're all from my perspective these are measures that will reduce supply. This is things like regulating banks to prevent them from loaning money to firms that build housing for profit. Prohibiting pension funds from doing the same thing, denying for-profit rental housing companies, access to federal programs, imposition of nationwide rent control, a whole variety of expropriation of certain housing owned by the for-profit sector.
Really, it's a whole raft of measures meant to make it impossible for owners to make a profit to raise rents. All of that is what gives people inclination to build more. It's the prospect of profit that leads companies and individuals to draw up plans to add to supply in this country and all the recommendations are aimed at preventing the for-profit private sector from having any inclination to build. What they see, as their mandate is to improve social Co-op non-profit housing. That's the perspective that the Federal Housing Advocate seems to have is the solution to Canada's housing crisis.
I think it's worth mentioning that all of that comprises about 4% of Canada's total housing stock. In terms of rental housing, it's about 11%. They figure that this tiny sliver of existing supply is going to be able to deliver on – the federal government says we need three and a half million new homes by 2031. The Ontario government says they want to build a million homes the next 10 years. Large, because this is more than we've heard this is a doubling would require a doubling of housing starts. These financialization folks think it can all be done by co ops, non-profits, and municipal affordable housing efforts.
I think that's completely out to lunch. They have no conception of where supply actually comes from. This is an entirely political ideologically driven effort. They think profit is bad, therefore, eliminating profit will yield some great benefit. That's where that sits. In terms of my solution, it would be everything that the Federal Housing Advocate says, do the opposite of. I think that would probably and that's what we're seeing in Ontario for instance. It's quite clear that it's municipal regulations and various red tape and all those sorts of problems that is getting in the way of adding new housing. So if we, if we were really committed to building a lot more houses, and certainly, it seems like the Ontario government, for instance, is — those are the kinds of policies you're going to need.
[00:12:31] MH: Yeah. If any of these recommendations went through, it will essentially eliminate the private sector from participating in the rental housing market.
[00:12:38] PST: It would be an end to anything to any who have done – what would be the motivation for any private sector operator if they're told that any profit they make is illegitimate. Any attempt at raising rents, regardless of the situation, impinges on people's human rights and therefore is immoral. There's just no motivation to do anything. Maybe I’ll step back a bit. This Federal Housing Advocate and her cadre of like-minded academics, they make this case that it's unprecedented. What we're seeing now this financialization, they look out the window, they see REITs and publicly traded companies getting into the rental housing market.
Their previous position is to say that anyone who makes a profit is somehow evil or immoral. They've declared that this is the world is going to hell in a hand basket and that this is unprecedented. In fact, the periods of time in Canada in which we have seen the greatest amount of new housing, new rental housing construction, which is really what a lot of people want to solve the housing crisis, was the early 70s. That was a time when you saw using their definition you saw an incredible amount of financialization in the housing market. It wasn't the same as it is now. It wasn't REITs and publicly traded companies. Back then it was insurance companies, and syndicates of lawyers and doctors who would get together, pool their funds and they would either buy an existing apartment building or they would get a fund together to build an apartment building.
We saw incredible amount of construction in the early late 60s, early 70s, based on that form of financialization. What happened was rent control in the mid-70s. Tax law changes at the federal level that put an end to all that. So in the early 70s, we're seeing 100,000 units a year on average being built. For Canada the size of whatever Canada was in the early 70s. Right now with this all this every government is foursquare behind, more supply, etc. and given Canada's so much larger population bases. We're seeing like 60,000 purpose built rentals constructed. We're not even at the level we were in the 70s, regardless of the fact that the population is so much bigger. We still haven't returned to that even with all this evil financialization.
It's historically inaccurate also to say that this financialization is unprecedented. The fact of the matter is, if you look to the times when Canada was able to address housing supply in a really, really major way, it was financialized. I'm using air quotes here, but your listeners can see. Financialized firms who were intent on making a profit and saw an opportunity and the tax and financial structure was such that it was worth their while to do so. That's when you saw an enormous amount of capital going into purpose-built rental. We're trying to get back there now, but you've got these other folks who are trying to make it as difficult as possible.
[00:15:41] MH: Yeah. I think you have a lot of people claiming your claims, as well. John Dickey, president of the CFA is quoted in an article saying, “What we are seeing is a demonization of financialized landlords.” You mentioned evil. I think that's an accurate statement. Now, and you mentioned REITs, switch it up a little bit. You mentioned in your article, you reference, Andrey Pavlov, Finance Professor at Simon Fraser University. You reference his experiences with government housing. Essentially, what office is proposing is, you mentioned, abolishing privately built rentals and putting the onus on the government to create not only just affordable housing, but to meet all of the housing targets that are set up by 2030. Can you walk us through a little bit about Andrey Pavlov, his experience back home in this country of Bulgaria? Really, why his experience mirrors what is being proposed, and essentially, why social housing isn't a solution for us?
[00:16:42] PST: Sure. That's the example I laid off the story with. It was just one of those examples of a wonderful coincidence that happens when you do research. Andrey Pavlov is an expert in housing finance, as you said. He's a Finance Prof at Simon Fraser University, but he also happened to grow up in Bulgaria under the Communist rule, which I didn't know when I reached out to him, but as we’re talking, he said, “Well, let me tell you about my background.” So yeah, he grew up in Bulgaria, behind the Iron Curtain. He was telling me about the housing that was everywhere. I think your listeners probably have a general mental impression of communist era housing. It's this large, imposing concrete bunker-like buildings. It turns out, it’s interesting backstory there. They're all made with prefabricated concrete panels that can be craned into place.
Khrushchev decided this was the cheapest and most efficient way to house everybody in communist Russia and Eastern Europe. They all had different – the names they were given. In Bulgaria, they were called panelkis. In East Germany, they were called panel haus. There was another similar name in Hungary. They're all these prefabricated, concrete panel houses. They were all terrible as Pavlov explained to me. The build quality was terrible. These are made off site. These panels are just craned into place. No one really cared about doing a good job, because there was no profit to be made. There was no competition there. Either you lived here or you lived in a hut, basically. They leaked, because the panels weren't joined properly. They were dark. They were small, because the government just wanted to house everybody as quickly and cheaply as possible, really depressing places to live.
This as Pavlov said this is – he read through the Federal Housing Advocates report. He says, “Well, this is what they're recommending is the state provided housing if you take the profit
completely out of everything and you declare housing to be a human right, that must be government provided. Then this is what you're going to get.” Perhaps even the worst part of these panelkis is that because it was all controlled through the Communist Party, they weren't even fairly distributed. Despite the fact that they're all crappy places to live in, the best ones, the penthouses or the ones that maybe had fewer leaks or whatever are the bigger footprints. They were all given to party officials and their friends and family. They're all distributed in a crony corrupt basis.
It's not just a theoretical issue here. Here's someone, an expert in the field, who can tell you “Well, this is what you get if you go down this road, if you declare housing to be human rights that must be government provided without any profit. These are the implications. This is what you're going to get.” I can guarantee you no one in Canada wants to live in a panelki. That's the consequences of taking this as I say, a Marxist perspective on things.
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[00:19:54] MH: Yeah. Something that's been brought up numerous times throughout is that REITs and other larger private organizations are driving up rents when they – when they vacant units and do renovations and improve the quality of their units, it naturally drives up rents and doesn't sound great to their current tenants, but at the end of the day, you're creating a better place to live. Can you take us through a little bit why REITs and other private investors actually offered better housing options than some of the smaller and smaller Mom and Pop running the operations?
[00:20:28] PST: One of the unusual aspects of this whole federal housing advocates, research agenda on financialization is this animosity towards REITs, especially in any form of corporate housing ownership compared to this Mom and Pop. There’s a theme that runs through it, that it would be better if it was run by small landlords. That they assume that small landlords are somehow less likely to renovate are less likely to raise rents. They're somehow going to be nicer to their tenants. There's no absolutely no evidence of this. Someone who gets into –
someone who owns an apartment and rents it out is likely motivated by making profit. I don't see that there's any reason and they again, they provide no evidence to say that some individual independent landlord is less likely to raise rents, less likely to renovate and ask the tenants to leave, none of that. It's completely unscientific in that way.
If you talk to industry folks, they'll say, there’s substantial benefits to having corporate ownership in terms of regular routines and systems in place that take the human element out. In other places this federal housing advocate campaign claims that financialization is racist, and that it hurts black and racialized tenants in some unspoken way. Again, no evidence for this and it would seem to me on a prima facie basis that if you have a computerized system for accepting tenants, it's going to be less racist than it would be if someone is meeting people at the front door and deciding, “Do I like the look at that possible tenant over this possible tenant?” That's a really problematic and quite sketchy part of this argument.
The other thing that they're much more explicit about is that REITs in particular, are responsible for driving up rents, as you say, either through renovation and then re-renting out at a higher rate or simply as because they've some market power that they've cornered the market. REITs are growing in power and then they now have the ability to raise rents, because of a concentration. That you can easily disprove. REITs, I think comprise about 10% of Canada's rental housing market, so not a very concentrated industry. The standard measure for concentration is the amount of the market that's comprised of the top five competitors in any industry. I go through that in the story.
I think it's about 87% for Canadian bank like the top five Canadian banks control about 87% of the market. For a telecoms, it's about 83% of the market is controlled by the five largest telecoms. In the rental housing industry, the top five corporate landlords control about 5% of the industry. It fails on pure math. Corporate owners do not have market power. It's not a very concentrated. It's a very diffuse market, so we can dispense with that as well. Then the last part that you raised was what people now call rent evictions, which has become a real pejorative, and politicians everywhere seem convinced that it's a real problem. This is what used to be called updating the housing supply. This used to be considered a fairly good thing is if an owner decided to improve their property, fix it up, add newer, put in newer appliances or repair the replace the windows whatever goes on, with a full-scale renovation.
In the old days before we became worried about financialization. Anyone who fixed up their rental property would be considered to doing a great service to the country. No one wants their
national housing stock to get rundown. It needs to be constantly anyone who's owned a house knows you need to constantly be improving things. Some of those renovations are bigger and more time consuming the others. Certainly sometimes tenants have to be removed. Sometimes they get priced out of their old apartment by the renovations, but that again, that's the market talking. There's all sorts of good evidence about the flow through of rental housing, as you add at the top end. Rental units at the bottom end become available as people move up and down. I mean, that's a natural course of action.
Marxists that are convinced that financialization is an evil have reframed the entire debate around whether the housing stock should be refreshed or not into being a bad thing. Presumably, they think nothing should be improved. If that's the case, then you're certainly welcome to move into public housing, because that's the great disadvantage of public housing is that they're chronically underfunded in terms of renovations. We've seen that, I don't know if I can find the figure but Toronto Community Housing, which is the second largest landlord in the country, their backlog of renovations — oh yeah, here it is. It's like $1.5 billion, enormous. As I go in the story, there's the Swansea Mews in Toronto, owned by Toronto Community Housing. The roofs were falling – the roof fell in on one unit. They had to evict everybody, because they were a danger to the tenants health.
If you think that not renovating is the solution to Canada's housing problem. If you think that your human rights, is improved by not having the landlord fix things in your unit, then public housing is for you, because that's the legacy there. On the other hand, if you'd like to live in a place, it's been modernized and fixed up and owned by a landlord that actually cares about the state of their units, and is concerned enough to spend their own money to make sure they're top of the line or whatever, then the private sector is the option. I think most Canadians would agree. They'd rather live in a place owned by a landlord that cares enough to spend their own money to fix things up.
[00:26:27] MH: Yeah. You mentioned evidence. Evidence is a key word throughout this whole discussion. We have evidence that financialization does work. We have evidence that social housing does not work.
[00:26:39] PST: Yeah. I mean, I'm not saying social housing is terrible. There's some fine co ops out there and for a certain segment of the rental population, social housing may be the best and only option. I'm certainly – I'm not the equivalent of Houle on the other side saying we shouldn't have any social housing. I think there's a place for it, certainly, but it's certainly not
the universal solution. Other examples, that Grenfell Tower fire in London a couple years ago where 72 people died. Again, that was publicly owned housing. The New York City's public housing is terrible. There was no electricity. There was no hot water for long stretches of time in recent years. There's a big, big problems and to say that we can get rid of all profit making landlords and simply rely on social housing, co-ops and other affordable housing efforts to solve all our problems. It's just absolutely delusional.
[00:27:38] MH: It will never hit the target set of Ottawa if we rely solely on social housing with the massive immigration numbers we're expecting.
[00:27:46] PST: Absolutely impossible. Yeah.
[00:27:47] MH: It's evident we have to work hand in hand between the private sector and the social sector. I mean, in your opinion, really, what role should the government play in addressing the current rental housing crisis?
[00:27:57] PST: Well, I think we've seen a lot of encouraging signs, particularly in Ontario in terms of requiring municipalities to relax all their regulations. Just the focus on supply, I think it's slowly coming around. For a long time, people denied even that we had a supply problem. So the acceptance from the federal government this is how many million houses we need to build for the provinces. This is how many million houses we have to build. People are starting to focus on supply is the issue. I think that's good that there will always be a segment of society that may or may not be able to afford market level rents, is the solution to set up a whole bunch of co-ops. I think that's really problematic, especially given co-ops tend to be volunteer-driven.
If you want supply fast, the private sector is always the group that's going to be able to deliver, because that's simply what they do. Capital is what they do. In terms of affordability, I think the Canada Housing Benefit, which is a new innovation from the federal Liberals is the way to go. It's essentially a bump up, a cash payment that allows people with affordability problems to access privately owned housing, but it gives them a subsidy so that they can have their pick among for-profit, apartments, etc. rather than having to rely on public housing or social housing, to find something that they can afford.
The problem as I discussed in the story is that these sorts of cash payments unless there is sufficient supply, these sorts of cash payments simply get built right into rent. If there's if you're
constrained in terms of supply, if it's a seller's market, giving people a benefit, a cash benefit is going to get sucked away very quickly. We still need even I think that's a good long-term solution is a housing benefit, because it allows the private side factor to deliver on housing. That's clearly the segment that is best able to move fast and to move in large numbers.
Ultimately, though, I think housing benefit is once we get the supply problem solved, then I think a Housing Benefit makes more sense to me than really, really leaning on the co-op and non-profit segments, because as we've seen in the past, again, going back to the 70s, etc. government interest in that kind of thing really wanes in fluxes. There was a period in the 70s and 80s, when governments were really keen on this thing and then you hit an austerity era and governments really pull back. So you've got this push and pull effect on co-op and social housing funding. You don’t get that with the private sector.
[00:30:48] MH: Now, Peter you covered a lot there. Definitely, I think that there is a light at the end of the tunnel of this ultimately comes back to supply. Do you really see any other countries out there that compare it to Canada's current rental crisis? Have you seen any solutions that other countries have maybe implemented that could possibly work here as well?
[00:31:10] PST: Well, I haven't looked at it for a little while, but I know, in Ontario in particular, there was the, called Azov Right Revolution, or innovation in which you give people the right to build something new on their property without having to go through a whole bunch of municipal hoops. In Ontario, we got a watered down version of it with the Ford government that's been talked about in Vancouver. New Zealand made quite a few headlines a year or two ago by declaring, as of right across the entire country, which would mean that my homeowner could tear down their house and put up a duplex or a fourplex without having to spend years getting applications in order and stuff. The fact is that the owner of the property essentially has the right within certain bounds to change the housing on their property and essentially add a whole bunch more, if it makes sense for them.
We're also seeing that on a municipal level and in state level in the US a little bit, just the beginnings of this, which is it's really good news from my perspective, because it's saying that private landowners are really the solution here. That if I decided I wanted to put a granny suite in the backyard or I wanted to put a separate unit in my basement, I wanted to tear the whole thing down and put up a duplex or a fourplex or something that I don't face any serious regulatory hurdles for doing that. I mean, that has the potential of really increasing housing supply. That's on a micro level.
Certainly, the trends we've seen in Canada with big corporate interests coming back to the rental housing market, after being away for decades is also good. I can't tell you whether that has any parallels in other countries or not, because I haven't really looked at it too carefully, but anything that gets private capital interested in building housing is good from my perspective.
[00:33:03] MH: I think that's a good positive way to start wrapping this up a little bit. Now, this is going to be like you said, we're at the precipice of some of these advocate proposals. Where would you suggest people keep an eye on what's going on in Ottawa? Is there any way that they can voice their concerns with what is being proposed?
[00:33:21] PST: Funny, you should mention it, just in prepping for our talk here. I looked at what was going on at the Federal Housing Advocate and the National Housing Council, because I haven't really spent much time on it since the story came out. Then it turns out last week, this National Housing Council has accepted Houle’s request for an inquiry into financialization. They're just – just last week, a call went up on their website, saying that interested parties can appear and make a discussion. The machinery of Ottawa is grinding along. I would also note that a study of financialization, which with the pejorative meaning front and centre is also included in the supply and confidence agreement between the Federal NDs and liberals. You can see signs of it also in the federal budget and various places.
It's not just the Federal Housing Advocate, these notions are permeating through a lot of the levers of government. We're starting to see the outward and visible signs of this. The National Housing Councils hearings, is one example of this. I found when I was doing my research that it was some industry folks were very reluctant to go on the record with this. They were kind of hoping, I think, that it would all blow over or if they didn't say anything nasty that they would get a good hearing in Ottawa. You mentioned John Dickey, he was one of the few people that was prepared to say what he believed. It was a very refreshing interview with him.
There's some aspects of this industry seem to think that they can stay quiet and fix it behind the scenes. I'm not convinced on that, really. Here we've got this, this series of hearings that is just going to be a, I would expect it to be a non-stop forum for complaints about capitalism and REITs, and profit and how people's human rights are being denied by financialization. It's all out there. I think the industry as a whole and individually, different companies need to start speaking out about it, because if you don't, it becomes accepted wisdom.
[00:35:27] MH: Yeah. For any listeners out there, make sure like Peter says, “Keep an eye on some of these hearings.” Definitely not going to blow over anytime soon. Peter, as we wrap up here, thank you so much for shedding some light on this topic and letting the listeners know a little bit what's going on in Ottawa behind the scenes. Where can they follow you? Where can they read their article? Where a good resource to stay on top of this topic?
[00:35:50] PST: Well, I'll just repeat the C2C Journals, website, www.c2cjournal.ca. That's where most of my work appears. We do have deals with the National Post and some other publications where we give them shorter versions of our stories to just spread the word a little bit. Financial Post comment is a favourite place for those shorter versions of my essays, but anyway, no, it's an interesting topic. I'm sure I'll be coming back to it, because it's certainly, there's more to chew on, as you said.
[00:36:22] MH: [Inaudible 00:36:22], check out C2C Journal, keep an eye on Peter’s work. He's doing some great job on highlighting some of these industry trends. I think that's a good place to end. Peter again, thank you so much for joining us today.
[00:36:33] PST: Yeah. It was a real pleasure. Thanks for having me, Matt. [00:36:36] MH: No problem. All right, have a good day, everyone.
[00:36:38] ANNOUNCER: You've reached the end of another episode of Sync or Swim. Make sure to visit us at rentsync.com/podcast to access show notes, key takeaways, and where you can sign up to our newsletter to receive free bonus content. If you found value in the show, please also remember to rate, review, and subscribe. Don't forget to join us next week for another episode. Thanks for listening.
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