Some of you may have read my letter to the editor, regarding the stress (me out) test and CREA’s advocacy efforts to change it. It received some commentary from across the country, including some directly to my email.

The opinions of the commenters ran roughly like this – a third thought that the Liberals are idiots, a third thought that CREA are idiots and a third thought I am an idiot. There were no wrong answers. A small portion also thought that their clients are idiots, which may be true, but I don’t think it is really relevant.



To their credit, CREA contacted me the very same day by phone to outline their efforts to affect this policy (and others) and to outline the difficulties CREA has, in general, lobbying the Feds. I can believe it. I urged the very engaged and erstwhile young woman on the phone to have CREA respond to my letter, outlining and merchandising their efforts (even if as yet unsuccessful), because in a tough year, most of us mere members would take comfort in knowing that CREA had our backs, hadn’t forgotten about the rank and file who fund them and were taking the lead.

Sadly, she felt that doing so would probably a) attract criticism – which I can believe and b) jeopardize CREA’s sensitive lobbying efforts, as negotiations with the federal bureaucracy might be derailed if CREA tried to advocate in the press and thereby ticked them off.

So, absent a response from CREA, it apparently falls to me to continue this one-sided discussion (a talent I am almost famous for). During our call, my caller enthusiastically outlined PAC days on the Hill, and CREA’s focus on individual members in all federal ridings advocating with their various MPs, especially those Liberal MPs who sit in the caucus of the (currently) governing party. I pointed out that in Alberta, a major obstacle would be electing a member of the Liberal party to lobby. (Okay, so there are two or three, but that is hardly a healthy breeding population.)

But I then asked myself – why should we bother? Our industry has been hosting cocktail receptions for politicians at all levels of government for decades – and what do we actually have to show for it, except a large bar tab? Maybe it’s time to accept the fact that we Realtors just aren’t very good at doing this. How well did it work with the TREB vs Competition Bureau saga? Or the FINTRAC review, where CREA didn’t even make a submission that I’m aware of, to the Senate sub-committee (while lawyers and insurers and bankers surely did). And now, our less than impressive impact on the federal mindset regarding the mortgage qualification process. My caller seemed to indicate that CREA is dealing at the staff/bureaucracy, not the legislative level in their advocacy efforts on this issue – which it seems to me is a lot like not being able to get past the receptionist.

Realtors live in a results-oriented environment every day of their careers: if we don’t get results, we don’t get paid, it’s that simple. Even my Mom wouldn’t keep giving me the listing if after years of trying, I simply couldn’t get the farm sold. And she’s my mom.

So I think maybe it’s time to think about hiring professional help (no, not psychiatric, at least not yet). Honestly, isn’t that our pitch to a FSBO prospect? If you can’t sell your house, perhaps it’s time to consider a professional who knows how to get it done, because I/we do this for a living. There are many professional, registered lobbyists out there who are just itching to take a large chunk of CREA’s advocacy budget and pound on doors on Parliament Hill on our behalf. I think that maybe it’s time to give one of them the “listing” and get something “sold”.

As third baseman Josh Donaldson (yes, while Alberta has few Liberals, it has many long-suffering Blue Jays fans) said, this isn’t the “let’s do our best league”, this is the “let’s get it done league”.

Personally, I’d interview whoever SNC Lavalin employs. Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to admit they seem to know how to affect government policy.

 

David Lowe
Real estate manager
Sangudo, Alta.

14 COMMENTS

  1. I think it is time that somebody does’s something! Government is very hard to get to. No one in government even know what a Realtor does’s ,If you get a lobbyist that knows and understands what a Realtor is worth and how Realtors can protect the public, you might get some where . Who ever is doing the adverting for Realtors has no idea about Realtors, I feel that if that is the kind of things that you think about Realtors then forget it. You can no make a joke about doing the right thing . It is no funny. It is serious . So that make it real hard to make a joke of it. No advertising would be way better than that shit that is on TV. So you have to find a lobbyist.? He must know the right people and know the way Real Estate Works, and he must believe in the fact that good Realtors are the only way we can protect the public when they are buying and selling real estate and by doing it right they protect the public by making sure that they get what they want and then and only then are the Realtors worth the money they get. and they only get paid if they do a good job . They do not get paid up front, they only get paid when the job is done. If a Realtor doesn’t feel he or she is worth the money. They should not be in the business. There is no place for cut rate Realtors . If you do it for less you can’t do it right. Cut corners cut anything and it is not good enough for the job of buying or selling the huge investments of a home for a family, Property and buildings for your businesses to pay for your home and your family needs, for farms that feed your family and for all the other things that your family wants and needs, a Realtor must do a good job, and they have been for a very long time. There is always room for improvement and that can not be done by Politicians, Lawyer or Judges, It must be done by someone that understands what Realtors do. Your lobbyist must know and believe that Realtors are very important, Then and only then can a lobbyist do a job for the the Realtors in Canada. Don’t get me wrong CREA could do more for the Realtor, We just have to get them going they all ready know how important Realtor are for one more reason then everybody else.
    If you can get though this and understand what I am trying to say “You are good”
    Greg

  2. You all need to find one in your corner who personally knows someone within the elected government who has actual pull with the cabinet minister(s) so charged with responsibility for this file. The ideal M.P. also would be on good terms with the P.M. — preferably a long-time friend etc. Maybe wait until after this fall’s federal election. It currently looks like a more Realtor-friendly party will form the government.

    I speak from experience. Been there; done that.

    It’s not what you know; it’s who you know…and who knows you.

  3. I would make a great lobbyist I’m just saying. Being a REALTOR ® for 32 years taught me one good lesson fight for what’s right I’m ready for it.

    • Wow Tim that was one heck of lie TREB produced last May under your watch and now you believe TREB who under reported 568 sales in May which resulted in 8 months of fake seasonally adjusted Stablized market commentary to home buyers does not need CREA and its muscle.

      Oh wait CREA lied to the public too.

      Imagine the level of incompetence at TREB that they can’t add up sales? You need all the help you can because when governments get wind they were conned because Jason cannot add you are going to see
      scrutiny like never before.

      luckily for you the one year turn over strategy for Presidents prevents a RECO complaint being lodged against you on this single largest fraud committed against GTA Home Buyers in history.

  4. It’s apparent that the heavily subscribed bodies we hire to represent our best interests, constantly forget who their client is. The true value REALTORS get for their money needs to be independently (arms-length from any organizational influence) assessed; ditto most other associations and boards.
    For example, FINTRAC has walked all over our industry and REALTORS have been partially branded as contributors to the money-laundering problem. Personally, I’ve never been involved in the actual transaction that transfers funds or title, so how did this land at my feet? What accountability is imposed on lawyers?
    When did CREA ever do an FOI to see how many terrorists were apprehended as a direct result of REALTOR leads? How much money has been recovered as a direct result of government imposed reporting requirements of REALTORS?
    The Feds have committed an enormous amount of publicly funded resources to monitor that we REALTORS have correctly filled out useless forms; bizarre! It’s nothing short of a big “make-work” fraud to make it appear that government is doing something no matter how ineffective it is. Where’s the OAG of Canada when needed?

    • Yes, I totally agree with this article. CREA has nothing but cost us money and yield zero results. Let’s put our money towards a professional lobbyist and start fighting a winning battle for a change.

  5. Hire a professional lobbying firm. Do it right. I hope our provincial association leadership read your opinion piece; our voice is, and has been, ineffective for a long time. In BC, we have been steamrolled and our response is overly polite and a bit too deferential. We need advocacy like the BC Teachers Federation took on class room sizes – went all the way to highest courts and won. With the size of our membership I would even welcome a levy to build up a fund to fight our fights as whatever is occurring now isn’t working.

    • I think it was our passive reaction to FINTRAC that originally made it clear to me that CREA was an ineffective lobbying mechanism. To lobby at this level often requires a professional and legalistic approach and we keep bringing knives to gunfights. The Industry has grown more complex and the days of shaking hands with your MP at the County Fair just doesn’t get results anymore

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