“The Communist Party of Canada understands that housing is a basic human right and must be treated as a public utility with units built and provided according to need,” a statement from the party said today.
“Across the country, housing is in a state of crisis. A record 1.5 million households (more than 4 million people) are in “core housing need” and well over 300,000 people suffer from homelessness each year” the party statement said, noting that housing has shamefully not been a key election issue during the past 20 years, and continues to be neglected by successive governments at both federal and provincial levels.
“Canada sits alone among developed countries, as the only one that does not have a federal housing strategy. The Canadian government has left housing to the private sector, abandoning a basic human right to corporate profiteers” the statement said.
According to the Communist Party of Canada, the housing crisis demands both emergency and long term action from a federal government that is committed to putting people’s needs before profit.
“We reject right-wing proposals for rent subsidies, which will only line the pockets of landlords and developers, and do nothing to provide safe and affordable housing,” the statement said.
THE WAY FORWARD
The Communist Party of Canada demands:
- An immediate and massive campaign to build thousands of publicly-owned social, cooperative and non-profit housing units, and to repair and upgrade existing stock. Such a campaign would provide desperately needed housing and create thousands of jobs – for every unit of housing built, 6 spin-off jobs are created;
- A Federal Housing Strategy, which would include the establishment of federal-provincial-municipal land banks and real rent controls;
- A ban on evictions, mortgage foreclosures and utility cut-offs due to non-payment that is related to unemployment (including strikes and lockouts);
- Tenant control over housing, through meaningful tenant representation at elected housing boards;
- Federal-provincial-municipal land banks;
- Action by the federal and provincial governments to block mass privatization of social housing like the moves by Mayor Rob Ford to sell Toronto’s public housing stock;
- Direct a minimum of 1% of annual federal and provincial budgets toward the construction of new social, cooperative and non-profit housing.
A NEW DEAL FOR CITIES
The Communist Party is also calling for “A new deal for cities” (1) giving constitutional status and wealth taxing powers to municipalities; (2) returning 50% of gas and road user taxes to cities to increase core funding for social, cooperative and non-profit housing; (3) reversing “downloading” forcing cities to pay for social programs and (4) re-establishing low-interest loans to cities and towns.