Trudeau’s housing strategy is vintage Harper — it was a bad idea then, and it’s a bad idea now


New homes under construction in Bradford, Ontario. As one of a handful of societies obsessed with property, our politicians end up feeling compelled to make the cost of owning a home cheaper, writes Kevin Carmichael.Tyler Anderson / National Post

Justin Trudeau wants his fans (and leftish voters) to think he’s nothing like Stephen Harper. Stylistically, that’s true. And the current prime minister is as nonchalant about deficits as his predecessor was obsessed by them.

But if you think about it, their headline economic policies aren’t so different.

Team Trudeau’s favourite sop to the middle class, the Canada Child Benefit, is a modified version of a big present that Harper gave to voters with children. The Liberals cut the small-business tax rate to nine per cent, fulfilling a Harper promise from the 2015 campaign. Canada was among the first group of countries to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership because the party that Harper led for a decade allowed rapid passage of the enabling legislation.