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David Eby taunts other premiers about federal housing funding

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As the federal government unveiled a housing-heavy deficit budget, B.C.’s premier isn’t just ready to cash the cheque for his province’s share, he’s seemingly taunting his counterparts about their reluctance.

Hours before the Liberal Party of Canada tabled their spending priorities for 2024-2025, David Eby anticipated that it would be focused on housing, since federal cabinet ministers have been criss-crossing the country for weeks making pre-announcements.

“We welcome that infrastructure money and if other provinces don't want it, we'll take it,” the New Democrat quipped at an unrelated press conference.

The federal housing funding is conditional, including multi-unit and net-zero designs that both Alberta and Ontario’s premiers have balked at. 

“We are prepared to accept all of the money that is refused by other provinces, that refuse to take basic steps to ensure the availability of housing,” Eby told reporters. “We have already implemented all the pieces the federal government wants other provinces to do.” 

Eby’s government has spent more than a year making a series of funding and policy announcements aimed at affordable home construction, renter protections and land use priorities that have increasingly garnered accolades from housing analysts and various observers.

While the billions of federal dollars for new homes, disability benefits and expanded pharmacare will no doubt be popular among many, some municipal governments may be disappointed. 

The $535-billion dollar budget – which will see a $40 billion deficit – proposes a new “Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund” with $6 billion spread over a decade toward things like sewers and other infrastructure needed to service new homes across the country.

However, the B.C. government asked for federal contributions to several specific projects, including the $10 billion Iona Wasterwater Treatment Plant replacement and $4 billion Massey Tunnel replacement but neither are named in the document. 

Correction

A previous version of this story suggested no funding for infrastructure spending was included in the budget. The story has been updated for clarification. 

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