Jul 29, 2015

With a fixed federal election date of October 19 and with polls showing a very tight race, candidates and other interested parties haven’t been shy about discussing politics and policy this summer. One of the more prominent issues being raised is that of affordable housing, and this has included mention of expiring federal assistance for thousands of vulnerable co-op households, as outlined by our You Hold the Key campaign.

On June 26, as part a media event organized by the regional co-operative housing federation, FECHIMM, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair (pictured above left) visited two housing co-ops in Montreal facing the imminent expiry of their federal funding. In an NDP release, Mulcair said “Housing cooperatives play an important social and economic role in Canada. Their strength lies in their diversity and resourcefulness. An NDP government will be a real partner by making stable, long term investments in social housing.” In its own news release, FECHIMM welcomed this NDP commitment and said it would ask the other federal political parties to commit to “maintain and retroactively restore grants to low-income households living in co-operatives, non-profit organizations, and public housing.”

The Liberal housing critic, MP for Trinity-Spadina Adam Vaughan (pictured lower center wearing glasses) is another federal candidate who is appears to be a strong supporter of co-op housing and You Hold the Key campaign. He has been engaging with Canadians with cross-country town halls on co-op housing including recent meetings in Halifax and St John’s. On July 16, he organized an event with CHF Canada’s Ontario Region the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto at Charles Hastings Housing Co-op in downtown Toronto. The event brought together election candidates and staff from 16 GTA ridings along with co-op housing staff. They discussed the Liberal housing platform for the upcoming election and how it relates to co-ops and expiring operating agreements. They also introduced candidates to the many benefits of the co-op housing model.

Premiers from all provinces and territories met in St. John’s earlier this month where they drafted a letter to federal party leaders, which called for a partnership with the federal government. These letters detailed priority issues, including supports for affordable and social housing. The Premiers pointed out the ‘fiscal imbalance’ - a disproportionate funding responsibility borne by provinces and territories - which exists in affordable housing and healthcare. The Premiers also acknowledged an increased need for social housing adapted to the needs of the elderly in communities across Canada.

Source: CHF Canada eNews