X.Y. Zeng/Hope Standard
British Columbia Social Credit Party candidate Michael Henshall wants to get elected as the MLA of the Fraser-Nicola riding.
The Hope-area based realtor and property manager shared his views on the role of government, natural resource management, and the housing market in an interview last week.
“I’m concerned that we’re in a housing crisis,” said Henshall. “The amount of inflation that we’ve seen in the housing market is putting fixed-income individuals at a huge disadvantage. I’m concerned that all the other parties’ policies are inflationary.”
Henshall said an example of an inflationary policy is excessive spending, and that the province can use tools to contain inflation.
He sees the 15-per-cent foreign buyer tax as “poorly written legislation. It did not help British Columbians at all. The best way to help British Columbians in regards to housing is to increase supply.”
Asked how the Social Credits intend to do this, Henshall said they won’t socialize housing by building their own supply of houses, and suggested that one issue hampering increased supply was regulation.
“These extra requirements the provincial government has brought in for housing and construction requirements has added up to 15 per cent for our new homes,” said Henshall. “Just talking with builders, the building code and the extra requirements that they have to go through have driven up the cost of housing.”
Henshall also believes in a “fair royalty structure” for B.C.’s resources, whether in water extraction, forestry, or mining. “For example, in Hope here, we have our water,” he said, adding that while he wants Nestlé’s business, he also wants to monitor how much water is extracted and raise the royalties (the cost per million litres of water extracted).
He expanded on that by adding that he wants a domestic and export royalty structure. Water sold domestically would see a lower royalty rate. He also wants to ensure the manufacture and processing of raw materials in B.C. by streamlining regulations and keeping taxation competitive.
“The new leader [of the U.S.] is not going to be throwing carbon tax and other taxes … because they are going to try to get every single job possible and they’ll do anything to get those jobs.”
Henshall believes that while building a pipeline brings short-term jobs, building a refinery would bring long-term jobs. He added that refined product is less environmentally damaging compared to bitumen.
While the Socreds do not have enough candidates to form government this election, Henshall shared their vision of how a government should operate. He believes government has specific roles but should not intervene everywhere.
“When government gets involved in every aspect of society, it becomes very expensive. You will be running deficits, and taxes are going to have to increase, or you are going into debt.” Government’s role, he said, is not in creating jobs, but in fostering trade and entrepreneurship and protecting the environment.
On tourism, Henshall said government could lower corporate taxes and fund grants and bursaries. He also believes that more money should be spent on the Trans-Canada Highway. He noted that the highway has been closed many times, which disrupts trade in communities like Ashcroft and Hope.
“The provincial GDP slows down when trade routes are hindered, and there is also the safety for citizens. If some senior needs to get an MRI in Abbotsford, and all of a sudden they’ve been waiting for the longest time and they can’t get through: it’s just wrong.”