The Right to Housing — a Central Issue in the Election Campaign
Demonstration in Montreal, September 15, 2019.
Two actions took place in Montreal in defence of the righpara1 affordable housing on the weekend of September 14-15.
On September 14, more than 200 residents, tenants and homeowners in Montreal’s Mile-End protested property speculation. They demanded that measures be taken by both the city and the Quebec Legault government and a banner displaying the names of 80 people who have been evicted from their homes was unfurled during the action.
“We love our neighbourhood and demand that active and stringent measures be taken against property speculation,” said Pierre Pagé, a spokesperson for Montreal For All and the Business Neighbourhood Life Coalition. “Many small businesses are being suffocated. Others are obliged to move out,” he said. The consequence: many empty storefronts.
Tenants also suffer at the hands of unscrupulous landlords. For example, artist Patsy Van Roost was paying $1,440 per month in rent, including heat, for her dwelling. The landlord informed her he was raising the rent to $3,600 per month without heat.
Pagé proposed measures to alleviate such problems, including a radical change to the taxation system, reforming the Rental Board to provide it with an improved control system and setting up a Business Rental Board.
More than 200 people responded to the call of the People’s Action Front for Urban Renewal (FRAPRU) the following day to kick off the election campaign with a demonstration organized by the Point Saint-Charles’ Housing Information Group (RIL) and endorsed by Action-Gardien, the neighbourhood’s Community Development Corporation.
Many big cities across Quebec and Canada have faced the challenge of a tenant housing shortage since the turn of the century. Organizations in Montreal are demanding that the Peel Basin, which is federal land, be used for the construction of social housing and projects to respond to the needs of the local community and all Montrealers.
September 15, 2019 demonstration marched to Peel Basin, which they demand be used for social housing and other needed projects.
“There are huge social housing needs everywhere,” says FRAPRU spokesperson Véronique Laflamme. Her organization’s view is that the private housing funded by the National Housing Strategy results in prohibitive rents which in no way correspond to most tenant households’ capacity to pay, especially if they are not adequately housed or have low or modest incomes.
In FRAPRU’s opinion, for the next federal government to assist Quebec in dealing with the crisis, it cannot allow the private market to impose its dictate. It must generously support communities interested in developing cooperative and not-for-profit housing. In particular, the organization is demanding that federal political parties commit to investing at least $2 billion per year in the construction of new social housing units and guaranteeing all the funds necessary for the maintenance or refurbishment of those already built.
“Ottawa must also guarantee long-term financial access to those social units, both for poor households already living there, as well as for future needs,” Laflamme stated.
Housing Is a Right! All Out for Concrete Measures for Its Realization!
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