For immediate release
February 10, 2020
Green Party calls on government to declare housing and homelessness national crises, clamp down on commodification of housing market
NANAIMO, B.C. – Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Ladysmith Paul Manly is calling on the government to pass his motion to declare housing unaffordability a national crisis and to clamp down on the financialization and commodification of the housing market.
“While Canadians are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic, house prices are reaching new highs and more people are on the edge of becoming homeless. If this continues unchecked, we will miss our chance at a just recovery from COVID-19,” said Manly.
“The goal of Canadian housing policy should be to provide safe homes for everyone who lives here – not to drive a profit for wealthy corporations and provide a haven for money laundering. We’ve seen the consequences that an out-of-control housing market has on cities like Vancouver and Toronto. It means fewer opportunities for locals, a worsening homelessness crisis and deepening inequality. Now the crisis has spread, including to my community of Nanaimo-Ladysmith, and it shows no signs of stopping.
“The government needs to recognize that housing affordability and homelessness are twin national crises and take urgent action to clamp down on the financialization and commodification of our housing market.”
Member of Parliament for Fredericton, Jenica Atwin, is seeing similar trends in New Brunswick. “The population of individuals experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness in Fredericton has grown this year due to the overlapping challenges facing Canadians: financial insecurity and job loss through the pandemic, and rapid changes in the housing and construction markets driven by interprovincial migration to smaller, safer cities. There are very few tenant protections in New Brunswick, meaning many of my constituents are even more vulnerable to predatory behaviours in the housing market,” said Atwin. “We need federal leadership to recognize housing as a human right and to look out for those most in need.”
Manly has given notice of his private member’s motion to declare housing affordability a national crisis on the House of Commons order papers. In addition to the declaration of the crisis, it calls on the government to update the definition of affordable housing, remove tax exemptions for real estate investment trusts that are not being used to protect affordable housing units, do more to crack down on foreign ownership of real estate and money laundering, and to protect affordable housing units.
“As we begin our recovery from COVID-19, we must recognize that simply pumping money into the housing market is not a sound economic strategy. While an out-of-control housing market might help drive GDP growth that the government loves to tout, it creates a host of other problems as people struggle to save for their futures and meet their basic needs. We need a recovery that creates opportunity and makes life better for all.”
For more information or to arrange an interview:
Communications Coordinator, MP Paul Manly