Wednesday July 21, 2021 | NATIONAL [Updated at 10:55 am PDT]
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
After about two weeks visiting in various communities in BC and southern Ontario in a pre-election style circuit, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he and his NDP caucus are today putting their heads together for some new approaches to ‘keep on fighting for people’.
“We are still not through this,” said Singh, as he’s hearing from people that the COVID pandemic has impacted their housing and their ability to find or return to work. Small businesses also still need shoring up… they need support to continue with economic recovery since the impacts of the first three waves of the pandemic (about 16 months, from March 2020 to June 2021).
Housing and small business:
Today Singh reiterated the messaging about housing and small business being the two key planks of needed economic recovery for Canadians. That’s what he’s been saying in media sessions and with Canadians in the various towns and cities where he has visited (including here on Vancouver Island). | Jagmeet Singh in Victoria on July 9.
Today he added, about housing, that two-thirds of Canadians today would not be able to afford the houses they live in if they had to buy-in at today’s prices. It’s been clear for many years now that the housing market is increasingly out of balance.
Tinkering by government policy, Bank of Canada mechanisms, and Canada Mortgage and Housing regulations have not stepped the tide of ever-increasing pricing that has been driven by the housing market being used an investment tool rather than actually ensuring that everyone has a place to live.
Cooler, ventilated air:
Today Singh did focus a bit on the ventilation issues in BC, where housing has proved to be inadequate for many people in the changing climate conditions which now include extreme heat (from weather events related to climate change) and smoky air (from the increasing number of wildfires, which are also associated with climate change).
Housing standards may need to change, including building code standards for new construction, said Singh, in response to a question by phone from Island Social Trends. But so far, the federal NDP (and also the BC Government) have not addressed the question of responsibility by landlords of rental properties and strata councils to ensure adequate ventilation, air cooling and air filtration.
“This is the impact of the climate crisis,” said Jagmeet Singh today. “Homes were not built for that (in BC in particular),” he added, saying he also experienced some of the recent heat-dome heat wave in BC at the end of June. He described the problem as urgent.
Three times as many people died in the last week of June 2021 in BC as compared to any previous year, the BC Coroners Service has reported.
Election could be postponed:
Ideally, a federal election could (or should) be postponed beyond the coming Fall-Winter (2021-2022) respiratory season, said Jagmeet Singh in Victoria on July 9, in response to a question from Island Social Trends.
He feels that the current federal Liberals are pushing too hard for a summer/fall election, which could bring health-risk (immunization level still needs a boost, Delta variant is circulating, and upcoming respiratory season combined with back-to-school) and economic interruption for people (hard-hit small businesses still trying to get re-established) during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
The 43rd Parliament could be dissolved as early as the end of this month (or early August) once the next Governor General Mary Simon is fully installed.