A Canadian Legacy of Better Realty

I often set aside Sunday mornings for data entry, the type I get from watching the talking heads on TV while reviewing the weekend papers. It is not as complex as it sounds, as most of the information comes from the newspapers. In most cases, the talking heads say nothing new, blithely repeating well-worn talking points.

I came across an article in the Financial Post by Garry Marr, of the Financial Post, titled Canada vs. U.S. — The New Realty. I suggest you read the article. It discusses the relative health the the US vs Canadian real estate market, from a focus of mortgage rules and cultural character. At its core, it congratulates Canada for avoiding the temptations faced in the 1990’s to bring in more US type rules, such a mortgage interest deductions, no-money down and other exotic instruments.

What was missing in this article was an explicit thank you to Paul Martin and Jean Cretien. I have vivid memories of discussion through the last two decades of financial leaders calling for bank mergers, a more open mortgage market and the ability to create products similar to those in the US. The government declined to allow this, actually considering the effects on Canadians, rather than only corporate balance sheets.

I am not slamming those who wanted to create what they thought would be more effective ways to make money. That is their job. That is what they are supposed to do. I am congratulating leaders who considered more than just political donations.