FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2008
Mayor’s Housing plea is a wake-up call for Harper
London – NDP Status of Women Critic Irene Mathyssen (London-Fanshawe) and NDP Housing Critic Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas) said today that Stephen Harper needs to listen to the Mayors of Canada’s cities, stop ignoring the affordable housing crisis in communities across Canada, and start implementing a national housing plan.
London Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best played an important role earlier this week as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) released its National Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness. The FCM plan calls on Harper’s Conservatives to commit $3.35 billion annually for affordable housing and to put a national housing plan into effect.
“I applaud the work that Mayor DeCicco-Best and Councillor Susan Eagle in particular have both put into this issue, locally and nationally. Safe and affordable housing in Canada should be a right and not a privilege,” said Mathyssen, who introduced Bill C-382—an Act to provide secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians in the previous session of parliament.
“More and more hard-working Canadians are feeling squeezed by today’s economy. In the London area alone we suffered 5000 manufacturing job losses last year; earlier this week I met with Beta Brands employees who are still looking for work and are struggling to keep their homes.” Mathyssen said. “We have close to four thousand people on waiting lists for access to affordable housing in London alone. According to a report by Ross Fair, Community Services Director for the City of London, there are more than 2500 homeless people in our city. In a nation as prosperous as Canada, it is unacceptable for the federal government to continue with ineffective ‘band-aid’ solutions that simply don’t get the job done.”
Twelve years ago, the Liberals abolished Canada’s internationally recognized affordable housing program. Two years later, with Stéphane Dion’s support, the Liberals gutted the National Housing Act, eroding the role of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. In October of 2005, the Liberals joined with the Conservatives to defeat a plan to reinvest part of the billion-dollar national housing surplus in new homes.
“It was the Liberals who put an end to federal funds for housing in the mid-1990s and it was the Conservatives who tried to cut housing funds in 2006, until Irene Mathyssen rallied the NDP. We intervened with the support of community partners to lead a successful national campaign to stop the cuts,” said Siksay. “The NDP is strongly committed to building affordable housing. It is a core priority for Canadians” said Siksay, who strongly supports Mathyssen’s housing legislation. “Neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals can be trusted to develop a national housing strategy that organizations like the one proposed by the FCM.”
For More Information:
Shawn Lewis, Assistant to Irene Mathyssen
Tel: 519-685-4745, Cell: 519-494-0187, Email: email@example.com