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Angela Kokott: Housing strategy is a political carrot

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. .
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. . The Canadian Press

Editor’s note: This story has been clarified to state that much of the money will be paid in 2020.

For years Canada’s affordable housing crisis has been growing. Sadly, in Calgary, it’s taken a recession to slow things down but the need for better access to housing is still there.

That’s why housing advocates were applauding a major announcement from Ottawa and its national housing strategy.

WATCH BELOW: Justin Trudeau announces national housing strategy

Justin Trudeau announces national housing strategy
Justin Trudeau announces national housing strategy

READ MORE: Liberals promise $40 billion over 10 years for National Housing Strategy, including personal subsidies

Almost $16 billion has been earmarked for new and renovated housing units. The government has committed another $2 billion for a housing benefit for low-income families and individuals and billions more for homelessness strategies.

However, once the applause died down a hard look at the promises reveals how the announcement has more to do with politics than poverty.

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WATCH BELOW: Lethbridge YWCA ‘thrilled’ with National Housing Strategy

Lethbridge YWCA ‘thrilled’ with National Housing Strategy
Lethbridge YWCA ‘thrilled’ with National Housing Strategy

READ MORE: National housing strategy ‘a step in the right direction’ says London advocate

Much of the strategy needs matching dollars from the provinces and territories. Much of the money, including the housing benefit, won’t be coming until 2020, which comes after the next federal election.

If the Liberal government is serious about tackling the housing crisis in this country it has to put politics aside and commit to addressing the issue now.

READ MORE: Liberals’ housing strategy doesn’t go far enough, advocates say