Brad Vis, the rookie MP for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, has been named the Conservative Shadow Minister for Housing by newly-elected Conservative leader Erin O’Toole.
“It’s a big step forward for me,” says Vis. “I was very honoured to hear I would be part of the shadow cabinet. The deputy leader gave me a call and informed me they would like me to serve as part of it.
“I was surprised to be chosen, to be honest. I’m a new MP, and there was a larger caucus after the election, so there was lots of competition. But I’m ready and willing to serve in any capacity.”
Vis first ran for the Conservatives in the riding in 2015, when he was a last-minute candidate after the original nominee had to withdraw. He lost to Liberal Jati Sidhu by just over 1,000 votes, but challenged again in 2019, when he won the riding by more than 7,000 votes over runner-up Sidhu.
In a statement, Vis said that he is excited to continue working with his colleagues in this new capacity. “The Trudeau Liberal government is failing to deliver on numerous issues and sadly, housing is no exception. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporations’ own data shows that over the past two years, only 0.5 per cent of $1.46 billion allocated through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund has gone to affordable housing projects in B.C.”
Vis tells the Journal that this amounts to $7 million, as opposed to $1.25 billion for Ontario. “I’ll be responding to this sort of revelation, taking a look at these sorts of measures, and making sure that B.C. is getting its fair share of any grants from the federal government.
“I’ve expressed the concerns I’ve heard through the riding about the challenges around affordable housing. I’m a Millennial homeowner, and I know the challenges many people face trying to enter the market, as well as the challenges seniors face securing a safe and affordable place to thrive.”
He had shared these concerns with O’Toole before and after the Conservative leadership race, which O’Toole won last month. “I’m also concerned, as a British Columbian, about the effects of money-laundering on housing prices throughout the province, and expressed these concerns to him. They were well-taken.”
Vis supported O’Toole for the Conservative leadership, and says he was very pleased with the outcome.
“Erin and his team have kick-started their work. A caucus speech he gave shows how Erin can bring his vast knowledge of Canada to the role and speak with substance and clarity about issues Canadians are facing as we move past COVID-19.
“He is a former member of the RCAF as a Sea King navigator, and he really emphasized with our caucus the RCAF motto ‘Per ardua ad astra’ [‘Through adversity to the stars’]. That will define the work that we do, how we are going to be disciplined, compassionate, and work hard to prove to Canadians that we are a government-in-waiting and the best option to help Canada recover from COVID-19.
“He’s bringing a sense of hope and new opportunities. We want to win Canadians’ trust, so it was inspirational to hear that speech.”
Vis is already on the Human Resources committee, and as shadow housing minister will now also be in charge of writing talking points and policy on housing measures, and responding to anything raised by the Liberals on the subject.
There is also speculation that a federal election could come sooner rather than later, and he says that is a very real prospect.
“An election can come at any time in a minority government, and [the Liberals] have to maintain the confidence of the House. However, the focus of me and my party is to work for Canadians. My sense is that people want us doing that, not going to the polls. I’ll be doing everything in my power to be diligent on housing, respond to every constituent who reaches out to me, and be their voice in Ottawa.”