In the coming days, Canada will see heightened activity in the nation’s ongoing gender identity politics debate. The “1 Million March 4 Children” protest against how gender identity is taught in schools, is set to occur on Wednesday, with synchronized events in more than 50 cities countrywide. Two days later, separate Toronto rally will spotlight two figures prominent in the gender-critical movement: Chris Elston, colloquially known as “Billboard Chris” for his distinctive method of protesting against childhood medical transition, and Josh Alexander, a Renfrew, Ontario student who was expelled earlier this year after objecting in class to his school’s transgender washroom policy.
For more than a decade as he built
into a global force, Mark Zuckerberg made it clear he didn’t care for politics. Early advisers strained to hold his attention in briefings about D.C. lawmakers, people familiar with the matter say, and he frequently said he would gladly leave the politics to others.
No longer. Mr. Zuckerberg is now an active political operator. He has dined with President Trump, talks regularly with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, and has pressed lawmakers and officials to scrutinize rivals including TikTok and Apple Inc., people involved in the discussions say.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s new political moves are part of an effort to protect his company from pressures that range from antitrust scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic to criticism of its privacy practices and of its role in disseminating misinformation and conspiracy theories. Facebook is also facing new competitive threats from the likes of ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok. Forging relationships with political leaders, media personalities and activists is now critical to Facebook’s continued primacy in social media.
Mr. Zuckerberg, 36 years old, speaks with conservative thinkers and civil rights groups, and—after leaving most planning for the 2016 U.S. election to deputies—he is now playing a hands-on role in setting Facebook’s policies for this year’s race. Many of those policies, especially those affecting political ads and user posts, have been contentious, eliciting criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, including President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, as well as from within the company.
The political controversies haven’t appeared to inhibit rapid revenue growth for the company, to more than $70 billion last year, up from less than $28 billion in 2016.
Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister whom Mr. Zuckerberg hired two years ago as global policy and communications chief, said the CEO has been “intimately involved” in deciding to bar new political ads the week before the election.
Mr. Zuckerberg declined to comment.
Just this month, Facebook said it would suspend all political ads after polls close on Election Day and limit posts about poll-watching operations that “use militarized language or suggest that the goal is to intimidate, exert control, or display power.” Facebook this past week banned posts denying the Holocaust, reversing its longstanding policy, and said it would block ads that promoted antivaccine messages.
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Then on Wednesday, Facebook and Twitter limited sharing of New York Post articles containing allegations about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son Hunter that the Biden campaign denied. The New York Post is owned by News Corp, which is also the parent of The Wall Street Journal’s publisher, Dow Jones & Co. The Post responded with an editorial condemning the
and Facebook actions and saying that “no one is disputing the veracity” of its reporting.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s evolution in many ways tracks Facebook’s development from a college-based social network into a central element in the American political system—and a punching bag for both parties. The intense scrutiny of the social-media giant’s influence from all sides during the past four years has made increased political acumen a necessity for its CEO. Facebook’s massive reach and focus on free speech have at times made it a super-spreader of falsehoods, hate speech, terrorist propaganda and other posts it struggles to control.
Mr. Zuckerberg has lectured Facebook’s broadly left-leaning staff about the need to understand that their user base is more conservative, and defended decisions not to remove posts from Mr. Trump that some employees argue violated Facebook’s rules. Mr. Zuckerberg’s stance has alienated prominent Democrats and civil-rights activists and has frustrated many inside Facebook—including, at times, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, people familiar with the dynamics say.
Ms. Sandberg declined to comment.
Mr. Biden’s campaign manager last month sent the CEO a letter, reviewed by the Journal, calling Facebook “the nation’s foremost propagator of disinformation about the voting process.” The Democratic nominee has said he has “never been a big fan of Zuckerberg.”
“Any insinuation that Facebook accommodates any one political party over another is simply false,” a Facebook spokesman said, adding that Mr. Zuckerberg was the “driving force” behind Facebook’s election-integrity and civic-engagement efforts.
“Mark Zuckerberg believes strongly that the company must have rules in place to protect free expression, and that we continue to apply them impartially,” the spokesman added. “As CEO, part of his job is to work on policy issues and engage with Democratic and Republican policy makers, as well as other voices from across the political spectrum.”
‘What happened in 2016 casts a long shadow four years later.’
Both the Biden and Trump campaigns continue to advertise heavily on Facebook. The Trump campaign considers Mr. Zuckerberg more of a pragmatist than top executives at other major tech companies, according to a person familiar with the matter. But the campaign also has sharply criticized Facebook’s policies. “Just like the rest of the Silicon Valley Mafia, Facebook erroneously believes it is the arbiter of truth and decider of elections,” said Samantha Zager, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, adding that tech companies increasingly censor Mr. Trump and conservatives.
Mr. Zuckerberg, who is worth more than $90 billion, has contributed to a handful of Democratic and Republican causes and candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But some people close to Mr. Zuckerberg say the only party he belongs to is the party of Facebook. The one constant for him over the years has been his broad belief that free expression should be paramount and that Facebook is, on balance, good for the world, according to his public comments and people familiar with his views.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s growing political awareness also has shaped his personal giving.
Mr. Zuckerberg and his wife have donated $400 million in personal funds to nonprofits that help fund local governments’ election costs such as hiring poll workers, providing personal protective equipment and sharing accurate Election Day information. Conservatives are trying to block those private funds from being used for public costs, and many liberals have criticized the effort as hypocritical given what they view as Facebook’s record of allowing users to post disinformation about elections and voting.
People who knew Mr. Zuckerberg at Harvard College, where he co-founded Facebook as a student in 2004, say he could best be described as center-left. In the run-up to the presidential election that year, he worried about the prospect that George W. Bush would be re-elected and closely tracked the race in the final weeks, one of those people said.
But he wasn’t particularly political. A few years after Facebook was created, political advisers met with him to understand how his views might shape company policy, according to a person familiar with the matter. The advisers explained the differences among the American political groups, including Democrats and Republicans, and the meeting ended when Mr. Zuckerberg agreed that he was best described as a libertarian, rather than closely aligned with either major American party.
“He was completely apolitical,” said Tim Sparapani, a technology lawyer who was Facebook’s first public-policy director until 2011 and has been critical of the company. “His political views had to be coaxed out of him.”
Facebook’s policy team—headed by Ms. Sandberg, a one-time Clinton administration official who joined Facebook in 2008—handled most outreach and relationships with lawmakers in the U.S. and globally. Mr. Zuckerberg started to focus on immigration reform and in 2013 he co-founded a nonprofit, Fwd.US, to pursue that cause.
The hands-off approach changed after Mr. Trump’s 2016 election. Mr. Zuckerberg was jolted by criticism that Facebook had failed to stem misleading pseudo-news articles and other disinformation that many of its critics said sharpened divisions among Americans and made the race’s rhetoric more toxic than in years past.
“What happened in 2016 casts a long shadow four years later,” said Mr. Clegg. “Facebook was accused of being asleep at the wheel,” he said, and Mr. Zuckerberg determined that it had to change.
Mr. Zuckerberg publicly presented himself as a work in progress, open to self-reflection and eager to understand other perspectives. In 2017, he completed a listening tour of 30 states, an extended road trip that had the trappings of a political campaign. In April 2018, he testified before Congress for the first time to answer questions about Facebook’s data-privacy controls. In 2019, he hosted a series of discussions with academics and other executives about the role of technology in society.
Behind the scenes, Mr. Zuckerberg intensified his focus on making sure Facebook wouldn’t be seen as partisan, in part by emphasizing Facebook’s support for free speech. Some Democratic officials, concerned about misinformation undermining political discourse, perceived him as growing overly deferential to conservatives, who have generally argued against limits on expression on social media. He started asking more policy-related questions and grew more involved in decisions about controversial content on the platform, including the 2018 decision to remove far-right talk show host Alex Jones’s properties from the platform, people familiar with the company say. Mr. Zuckerberg tends to get involved in situations where Facebook’s policies aren’t clear, Mr. Clegg said, but leaves enforcement to his deputies.
He also recently cultivated relationships with prominent conservatives with the help of longtime board member Peter Thiel, a prominent Trump backer, and his global head of policy, Joel Kaplan, a former deputy chief of staff to George W. Bush.
Mr. Zuckerberg maintains an open line with Mr. Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser. The two sometimes discuss Facebook policies over WhatsApp. The CEO spoke this year with Mr. Kushner and separately with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about TikTok’s U.S. presence, people familiar with the talks said.
“Any insinuation that [Mr. Zuckerberg] encouraged the Administration to ban TikTok is false,” a Facebook spokesman said.
Mr. Zuckerberg has also told government officials Apple doesn’t receive as much scrutiny as Facebook even though it owns an operating system used by a large percentage of Americans, people familiar with the discussions said.
As tech platforms announced new political-content policies over the past year, Mr. Kushner has argued to Mr. Zuckerberg that some of those moves could hurt Republican and Democratic campaigns alike, people familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Zuckerberg also has forged ties with right-leaning publishers that drive engagement on the platform, including Ben Shapiro, co-founder of the Daily Wire and a Trump supporter, people familiar with the matter say. The conservative news site has been flagged repeatedly by Facebook’s fact-checkers for sharing falsehoods and distortions. But it is frequently among the most popular on the platform based on user interactions, according to CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned analytics tool.
Mr. Zuckerberg invited Mr. Shapiro to dinner at his house last year, the people said. While the two aren’t friends, they sometimes discuss broader political and philosophical themes, the people added, many of which they disagree on.
Mr. Shapiro said in a statement that he doesn’t comment on people he speaks with because many in the media try to “stigmatize open communications between conservatives and anyone who differs politically.”
In late 2017, when Facebook tweaked its newsfeed algorithm to minimize the presence of political news, policy executives were concerned about the outsize impact of the changes on the right, including the Daily Wire, people familiar with the matter said. Engineers redesigned their intended changes so that left-leaning sites like Mother Jones were affected more than previously planned, the people said. Mr. Zuckerberg approved the plans. “We did not make changes with the intent of impacting individual publishers,” a Facebook spokesman said.
Facebook and Twitter have taken different stances on moderating President Trump on their platforms. It’s the latest controversy in an ongoing debate about the responsibility tech companies have in policing speech online. Photo illustration: Carter McCall/WSJ
“I have not found any relationship at Facebook to be particularly beneficial to our business,” said Jeremy Boreing, co-founder and co-CEO at the Daily Wire. He also said Facebook’s fact-checking program, announced in December of 2016, has caused “serious losses” for the Daily Wire, which depends on Facebook for traffic, and thus ad revenue, adding that the fact checks are sometimes “wholly inaccurate.”
Some on the left believe Mr. Zuckerberg has been less accommodating to news sites that promote a progressive agenda.
After the launch last year of Courier Newsroom, a network of eight progressive local-news sites that is part-owned by a left-leaning nonprofit with close ties to Democratic donors, Mr. Zuckerberg argued that Courier wasn’t a real news outlet, given its political connections, according to people familiar with his views.
The discussion sparked a new Facebook policy in August that limits the reach of partisan-backed sites by blocking their pages from inclusion in Facebook News, restricting their access to the Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp platforms and curtailing their advertising.
The nonprofit behind Courier Newsroom, called Acronym, criticized the policy, saying it favors conservative news sources.
Mr. Zuckerberg has also begun meeting with progressive groups, whose leaders argued that if he was developing personal relationships with conservatives like Mr. Shapiro, he should hear from the other side, too. The conversations haven’t always gone smoothly.
Rashad Robinson, president of the civil-rights group Color of Change, said that Mr. Zuckerberg appeared to lack an understanding of the ways Facebook could be contributing to voter suppression.
“I was talking to someone with such tremendous power but was not serious or educated about the issues,” Mr. Robinson said, “and was deeply ill-equipped and unqualified for the task at hand.”
Mr. Zuckerberg also has been trying to steer a safe political course at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the for-profit charitable and investment organization he oversees with his wife, Priscilla Chan.
In recent years, officials at the nonpartisan organization, known as CZI, have increasingly grown wary of projects that might be seen as overtly political, according to people familiar with the matter.
“We fund a lot of really progressive groups on the left, and also groups in the center and on the right, and in between,” the organization said.
One casualty was a plan to aggressively pursue immigration reform with the Trump administration, according to a person with direct knowledge of the work. In 2018, during the family-separation crisis, employees at CZI discussed absorbing Fwd.US, the immigration and criminal-justice reform nonprofit Mr. Zuckerberg co-founded in 2013, and other ways to tackle reform.
A few months later, Mr. Zuckerberg told employees that the immigration issue was “too hot,” the person said. CZI decided against taking over Fwd.US., though it still funds the group while focusing on its own work on more bipartisan issues like affordable housing and criminal-justice reform.
David Plouffe, a former Obama administration adviser who was a top CZI official until 2019, said CZI opted not to pursue the additional immigration work because Fwd.US had already devoted considerable resources to the issue. A CZI spokeswoman said its broader immigration-reform program is in its early stages and it funds groups focused on family separation.
At Facebook, Mr. Zuckerberg’s greater involvement in politics shifted the dynamic between him and Ms. Sandberg, his longtime second in command, who endorsed former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s 2016 bid.
Ms. Sandberg has told some colleagues and associates that she disagrees with certain Facebook decisions about political content, including the move last spring not to take down a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that had been manipulated in a way that made her appear to be drunk, according to people familiar with the matter.
Ms. Sandberg argued for the video’s removal but Mr. Zuckerberg believed making the video less visible across the platform was a better route, the people said. At a Facebook-sponsored event last year, Ms. Sandberg said she and Mr. Zuckerberg “disagree all the time but we tell each other and support each other,” according to a video of the event viewed by the Journal.
Some of Ms. Sandberg’s colleagues have heard her use an expression that underscores the shifting balance of power between the two executives, who were long regarded inside and outside the company as nearly equals. Now, according to these people, she sometimes says: “I serve at the pleasure of Mark and the board.”
Source:- The Wall Street Journal
Julia Malott: Nope, parents are not ‘fascists’ for being skeptical of gender politics
As parents’ voices grow louder, there’s a perception in the progressive left that all of these emerging movements are rooted and inspired by “far-right” extremism. Many in leftist circles suggest that parental rights advocacy is a dog-whistle: a veiled attempt to advance anti-transgender policies. A recently leaked video from an Ontario Federation of Labour meeting offers a glimpse into how some of the province’s most influential union members perceive these protests. As one member notably stated during the meeting: “The fascists are organizing in the streets … . This is far more than a far-right transphobic protest. They’re fundamentally racist, they’re fundamentally anti-union, they are fundamentally transphobic, and it’s just a matter of time before they come for us.”
It’s a grave mistake to deride the parental collective pushing back against the status-quo as fascist sympathizers motivated by transgender hate. A glance past such alarmist rhetoric reveals that — while a fringe group of hate has always existed — the concerns many parents are championing are much more moderate than a “far-right” moniker suggests.
For many parents, the core issue at hand is preserving their agency and autonomy over the ideological content of their children’s education. They want transparency about what is being taught, the option to excuse their child from content they believe doesn’t align with their values, and the discretion to determine age-appropriateness for activities, such as certain reading material or events like drag queen performances at schools. Perhaps least surprisingly, parents want to be involved in the key decisions of their own child undergoing a social transition in the classroom.
The matter of social transition behind parents’ backs in particular is so condemning of their role in upbringing that it has thrust the entire gamut of gender identity matters into the national spotlight, revealing just how out of balance transgender accommodation has become. The manner in which the left has responded — by doubling down in their rhetoric and deriding parents as militant zealots, has played powerfully into the rapid growth of this grassroots movement.
Many parents, even amid those who will stand in protest, have little desire to limit other families’ decisions regarding gender teachings and expression for their children. They realize that their objective of ensuring their own parental autonomy is intertwined with safeguarding those same freedoms for other families as well.
So where do we go from here? What might a balanced approach to parental rights look like within the nuanced landscape of gender identity politics? Fortunately, we need not start from scratch; history offers us a model for the coexistence of diverse ideologies within our educational institutions. Look no further than religion.
Amid religious diversity, we teach acceptance. Students are taught to make space for varied faith expression among their peers, whether through clothing or other customs, and with a strong desire to maintain neutral, religious symbols are not adorned by the institution. The lesson for students is to embrace and include, even where personal beliefs diverge; Meanwhile, the guiding principle for the institution is to avoid actions that display favouritism toward any specific religious doctrine.
Such a solution could address a significant portion of the concerns fuelling the rising parental unrest. Moderate parents would applaud such an education system, and this would still be inclusive of transgender students. But in order for this to be realized, the two factions moving ever further apart will first need to come to the table and talk. Given the recent rhetoric from progressive quarters, the prospect of this dialogue anytime soon appears distant.
Ex-diplomat says Poland asked him to keep tabs on Alberta politician
A month after Global Affairs Canada told CBC News it was looking into claims that the Polish government asked one of its diplomats in Canada to gather information on a former Alberta cabinet minister, the dismissed consul general at the centre of the affair says he still hasn’t heard from the department on the matter.
Andrzej Mańkowski told CBC News the only official he has heard from is a B.C. bureaucrat who asked him to return his diplomatic licence plates and identification.
“[Officials with Global Affairs] haven’t tried talking to me,” he said.
Mańkowski showed CBC News a copy of a letter dated Aug. 31 he received from B.C.’s Chief of Protocol for Intergovernmental Relations Lucy Lobmeier asking him to turn in his identity card and to return his diplomatic plates “within 30 days of this letter.” She also thanked him for his service.
Mańkowski alleges he was dismissed from his post in late July after he refused to carry out orders from the Polish government to gather information about Thomas Lukaszuk, a former deputy premier of Alberta who often provides commentary to CBC News about the province’s politics.
“It’s clear that Polish diplomacy during Communist times, the main responsibility was to collect information, to gather information on some Polish representatives abroad,” Mańkowski said, adding he felt as if the request was a throwback to that time.
“The analogy’s extremely evident.”
Last month, Global Affairs Canada said it was taking the allegations seriously.
Spying allegations ‘out of this world’: ambassador
In August, Lukaszuk said he believed he had been targeted by Poland’s department of foreign affairs over his activism against a controversial Polish pastor, Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, who has private radio and television stations in Poland.
Rydzyk, who has ties to the Polish government, has been criticized for delivering sermons featuring homophobic and anti-Semitic views and for preaching against the European Union.
Lukaszuk also shared what he said were encrypted messages Polish government officials sent to Mańkowski asking him over the course of a year to prepare notes on the former Alberta politician.
CBC News has not independently verified these messages were official government communications. Mańkowski did not dispute their veracity in his interview.
“Asking for my opinion about Lukaszuk was just a kind of trap, was just a political test of my loyalty,” he said.
Poland’s Ambassador to Canada Witold Dzielski called the allegation “totally absurd.”
“The idea of Polish diplomacy spying on a former provincial politician … it’s really out of this world,” Dzielski said.
He said he has never met Lukaszuk and did not know of his previous career in politics before Lukaszuk emailed him about an unrelated consular matter long before the reports about Mańkowski came out.
Dzielski said that if the notes cited by Lukaszuk are real, they were leaked illegally because they would constitute private diplomatic communications.
The affair has captured attention in Polish media, where the story first broke.
In July, Polish opposition politicians cited the messages released by Lukaszuk when they asked Piotr Wawrzyk, a secretary of state in the government’s foreign affairs department, whether Mańkowski was dismissed because he refused to spy on Lukaszuk.
In reply, Wawrzyk said the government could recall a diplomat who refused to carry out an assignment.
Wawrzyk, who was also a deputy foreign minister, has since been fired himself over an unrelated matter both local media outlets and Reuters have linked to a clandestine scheme awarding migrants visas in exchange for cash.
On Saturday, The Associated Press noted he had been hospitalized following an apparent sucide attempt.
“The minister, Wawrzyk, was laid off because of a totally different subject,” Dzielski said.
He pointed out that those documents were cited by opposition politicians in the context of a heated election campaign.
Dzielski� also said it’s normal for diplomats to be asked to gather information on notable members of diaspora communities.
‘A very marginal conversation’
“We are working very closely with them,” he said. “It is obvious and natural, and it is an element of diplomatic workshops, that we provide and we build ourselves opinions about the quality of cooperation with particular actors.”
He said Global Affairs has spoken to him about the allegations. “We had a very marginal conversation on this which reflects the level of seriousness of this topic,” he said.
A NATO member, Poland has worked closely with Canada to help out its neighbour Ukraine ever since Russia launched its full-scale invasion last year.
Asked for comment, Global Affairs said in a media statement it “continues to work closely with security and intelligence community partners to assess the situation and identify next steps as appropriate.”
The department said last month it had contacted Lukaszuk and that it took the responsibility of protecting Canadians from “transnational repression” very seriously.
Put politics aside to solve housing crisis, or your kids might never own a home: Raitt
The Current20:05Putting politics aside to tackle the housing crisis
Political leaders of all stripes must find a way to work together to solve the housing and climate crises impacting Canadians, says former Conservative MP Lisa Raitt.
“Toronto is the best example. NDP mayor, provincial premier who’s Conservative, federal Liberal who’s the prime minister,” said Raitt, co-lead of the new non-governmental Task Force for Housing and Climate, which launched Tuesday.
“And if they don’t figure this out, one voter is going to punish them all.”
The new task force is concerned with accelerating the construction of new homes, while ensuring that’s done in a sustainable way. In a press release, the group of former city mayors, planners, developers, economists and affordable housing advocates said it intends to convene until April 2024 to develop policy recommendations. The work is supported by the Clean Economy Fund, a charitable foundation.
Raitt held several senior cabinet posts under former prime minister Stephen Harper. But as co-lead of the task force, Raitt said she won’t engage in the political partisanship that she thinks “poisons the well” around these issues.
“Part of the reason why we’re coming together as the task force is to have a real pragmatic and practical conversation about these issues instead of weaponizing it into a political arena, and finger pointing back and forth,” she told The Current’s Matt Galloway.
Canada needs to build an extra 3.5 million new units by the end of the decade, over and above what’s already in the works, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. A report this week showed rental costs have increased 9.6 per cent from Aug. 2022 to 2023, to an average now of $2,117 a month.
This week, the federal government announced it would cut the federal goods and services tax (GST) from the construction of new rental apartments, in an effort to spur new development. The Liberal government also pledged $74 million to build thousands of homes in London, Ont., — the first in what it hopes will be a series of agreements to accelerate housing construction.
Speaking in London on Wednesday, Housing Minister Sean Fraser called on municipalities to “legalize housing,” urging them to remove “sluggish permit-approval processes” and zoning obstacles if they expect federal investment in housing construction.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre criticized the government’s plans as not going far enough, while pointing out it echoes some of his party’s proposals. He’s proposed measures that tie federal funding to the number of housing starts. Funding would be withheld from cities that fail to increase the number of homes built by 15 per cent, while cities that pass that threshold would receive bonuses.
Poilievre’s proposals also include a “NIMBY” fine on municipalities that block construction because of opposition from local residents, and the sale of 15 per cent of federally owned buildings so the land can be used to build affordable homes.
Don Iveson, former mayor of Edmonton and co-lead of the task force, said he understands why partisan politics can creep into the debate — but Canadians expect more.
He said the task force intends “to help all orders of government” understand what’s needed to tackle these problems from an economic, technical and planning perspective.
“We’re not going to be able to solve the housing crisis [by] building housing the way we built it for the last several generations,” said said Iveson, who was mayor of Edmonton from 2013 to 2021.
Your kids need a place to live: Raitt
Iveson said the challenge of scaling up housing construction will require some new ways of thinking.
That might mean a greater emphasis on automation and building houses from components prefabricated off-site, which he described as “essentially a more factory approach” that could also reduce construction costs.
Raitt said the task force will examine where houses are built, and in what kind of density, to ensure scaling up can “get the most bang for the buck.”
That might mean Canadians might need to have difficult conversations, including whether to build multi-storey buildings instead of single-family homes.
Raitt said older Canadians who already own their own homes might not like the idea of taller buildings going up around them, but they should speak to their kids about it.
“They don’t care if it’s going to be four, six storeys in a residential neighbourhood. They just want a place that they know that they can purchase,” she said.
“Talk about whether or not our kids are going to have a place to live, let alone rent, let alone own, let alone a house in the communities where they were brought up, because right now it’s not looking so good.”
Counting the cost of climate change
When it comes to climate change and sustainability, the task force’s goals come down to a “very simple equation,” Raitt said.
“Whatever we’re building now is going to be here in 2050. So if it’s going to be part of the calculation of our net-zero aspirations, whatever they’re going to be,” she said.
She said the task force will work to formulate ways to build housing that take emissions into account, but don’t include prohibitive costs that slow down the rate of construction.
“It’s going to be a little bit more costly to build with climate indications built in … but you’ve got to make sure that there’s policies surrounding that to make sure it still makes it affordable,” she said.
Iveson said wildfires, floods, heat domes and extreme weather events are already disrupting the economy, as well as posing huge financial burdens for the Canadians caught up in them.
“Climate change is already costing us a fortune,” he told Galloway.
Building without those climate considerations “maybe seems affordable in the short term, but it’s false economy when it comes to the real costs ahead of us,” he said.
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