Tuesday May 23, 2023 | NANAIMO, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
The disconnect between the cost of living and how much people make on a fixed income — particularly low-income seniors, was the topic of a roundtable today with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in Nanaimo.
Along with local NDP MP Lisa Marie Barron (Nanaimo-Ladysmith), Singh spoke to Nanaimo residents on how the enormously high cost of food, rent and home prices have been impacting them and their families.
Singh said that the cost of living versus income is “out of balance” which sees many people are paying as much as 60% or 70% on rent. Singh gave an example of a senior receiving about $1,400 on Old Age Security (OAS) but that rents for a 1-bedroom apartment in Nanaimo is much higher than that. How does a person in that situation pay for anything else?
Pushing the Liberal government to take immediate action to bring down costs for Canadians was a ‘pledge’ given by Singh today.
The next GST credit (rebranded this time by the federal government as the grocery rebate) is being issued to eligible low-income Canadians in July.
“I’ve been hearing from families, and they can barely keep up. It’s become too challenging to pay their bills and have any money left over at the end of the month. The cost of everything has sky-rocketed, and families who are doing everything right can barely get by,” said Singh.
In the most recent budget, the NDP secured affordability measures for Canadians, such as expanding the dental care program and doubling the GST rebate. In a news release today it was stated that some families will see up to $1,700 in savings this year due to the pressure from New Democrats.
Housing market challenge:
Building more market-level housing supply is “not going to solve the problem on its own”, said Singh. “We need to look at how the market has been financialized as an investment for rich investors” and not for people to have a place to call home. He wants to see solutions to a pure market-based solution.
“We’ve been working hard to make life more affordable, but we know there is more to do,” said Barron. “We’ll keep fighting,” she said.
The NDP today talked about ’tilting the scales in favour of regular folks’. The cost of groceries, monthly bills, and a place to call home are front of mind.
Public inquiry call:
Today from Nanaimo Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh also commented on David Johnston’s recommendation for public hearings (instead of a public inquiry) doesn’t go far enough to assuage public confidence in the electoral system following the CSIS leak that has brought to light insufficient action within the government regarding foreign interference in the electoral system. He says the NDP will still call for a public inquiry.