While attention-grabbing and, perhaps, vote-worthy in a riding of many people put in a crisis of losing their homes to invasive real estate developments, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s home-building announcement falls conspicuously short of addressing federal jurisdictional issues which have seriously and decisively caused and perpetuated the “housing crisis.”
This is a miss to catch up on in this campaign of a federal byelection.
An issue at the very top is immigration that the Lower Mainland has experienced and, specifically, the kind of immigration that focuses on attracting imported wealth exploited to have repurposed real estate from housing as a social need into a speculative commodity of the rich.
When housing is dominated by this foreign money-driven speculative perspective around real estate, even ideas to address the housing crisis shy away from addressing the community as a long-established home and way of life to many Canadians. Sustenance of quality of life and community integrity is about ordinary people and families not having to worry about moving out of their existing homes and their communities. Demovictions and renovictions in Burnaby South are not so much about a housing crisis as about a crisis of people and families' lives.
In elections of all levels in the Lower Mainland, it is invariably compelling for candidates to make sound bites on the “housing crisis.”
No candidate would feel relevant enough if they don’t say something about building affordable housing. Then, back to reality, such an obligatory, trite utterance of Lower Mainland electoral politics has hardly transformed itself into anything nearly enough to resolve the crisis for many. Thus, where Singh determines to be bold, he is challenged to go into what is so far ignored – and indeed, be more jurisdictionally proper - to address and engage a debate on the housing crisis as it is related to immigration – specifically, how immigration has adversely impacted the real estate market and housing for Canadians with domestic and social roots in Burnaby South; and then, what he and the NDP is proposing to take on this issue.
Eugene Ip, Burnaby