Today’s letters: Housing “solutions”; Testimony of Trudeau’s convoy

Wednesday, November 30: The “vacant housing tax” is upon us. Will it work? You can also email us at

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Will the “vacant housing tax” do its job?

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On November 14, the City of Ottawa sent individual notification letters to all landlords of residential properties to notify the City between January and March 16, 2023 of their occupancy. Vacant Home Tax (VUT) is a tax on homes that are not a primary residence and have been vacant for more than six months. STV is intended to encourage landlords to put their homes back on the housing market, and proceeds will be used to support affordable housing initiatives. If you do not complete your declaration, your property will be deemed vacant and you will be charged the tax.

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This procedure for implementing STV is very bureaucratic by requiring each owner to file an annual declaration of the state of occupancy. Surely from the city’s own data on tax revenue and housing utility payments, he can differentiate residence occupancy from vacant property cases, which often fall behind in regular tax payments with minimal or no utility charges.

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There are all kinds of vacant homes in the city, tied up in the hands of speculators and developers who could and should be forced to deal with the housing crisis needed.

In our immediate area there is a beautiful three bedroom bungalow with lanai and garage which has stood vacant in its seventh year after being purchased by a large corporate owner. The house was sold in perfect condition. The location couldn’t be more convenient. That such splendid and quality housing is deliberately withheld from necessary urban housing is a social crime, morally reprehensible.

Georges Neville, Ottawa

Local planning is better than law 23

Re: Ontario passes controversial housing bill as province aims to build 1.5 million homes in 10 years, Nov. 28.

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During the June provincial election, I thought it was a good idea to build 1.5 million new homes over 10 years. Lowering costs by increasing supply made sense. The details of how this lofty goal might be achieved were missing.

It also lacked any political platform that included transitioning to dictatorship or authoritarian government by allowing the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa to pass bylaws with one-third of council support. This is not our form of government everywhere in Canada. I believe that any mayor who attempts to use this power should be removed from office immediately.

Meanwhile, waiving fees normally charged to build infrastructure for new developments leaves provincial and municipal taxpayers responsible for those costs. Sounds like a non-starter to me, which makes the project unworkable. And let’s not forget the weakening of conservation authorities to preserve green belts and reduce pollution.

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We can do better than that. Let’s withdraw this legislation and get back to local planning groups to solve the problem of affordable housing.

Phil Logan, Ottawa

No surprises from Trudeau’s testimony

Subject: ‘No confidence’ in police plan: Trudeau says he had no alternative to Emergency Measures Act, November 25.

Of course, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau testified that he had no choice but to invoke the Emergencies Act. He wasn’t going to get up and say, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake. Trudeau apologizes for the mistakes others made decades and centuries ago, but he doesn’t apologize for the things he did himself.

I don’t know what the commissioner was hoping to get out of his appearance. Whatever it was, he didn’t understand it.

DJ Phillips, Gloucester

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