Housing in Halifax: Newly minted NDP leader speaks on 'crisis' in progress
Jagmeet Singh joined Nova Scotia New Democrat MLA Susan Leblanc to talk about the party’s plans for affordable housing.
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The federal NDP wants to create a national strategy to combat what its leader calls a housing crisis across Canada.
During his stop in Halifax on his national tour, newly minted federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh joined Nova Scotia New Democrat MLA Susan Leblanc to talk about the party’s plans for affordable housing.
At Leblanc’s constituency office in North Dartmouth on Monday, Singh told reporters about his proposed national housing strategy.
“The housing crisis, and I want to call it a crisis, isn’t limited to Nova Scotia. It’s something that impacts people across all the Atlantic provinces, and it’s something that’s an issue across Canada,” Singh said.
“As a result of not having a national strategy for housing, over the past two decades, there haven’t been enough units built. There hasn’t been a partnership with the federal government providing funding to municipalities and provinces to actually build more units that people can live in.”
Singh said the strategy would provide “sustainable and predictable” funding for provinces and municipalities to build more housing.
Leblanc talked about the provincial wing of the party’s work on affordable housing – most recently putting forward a bill to put rent control in place in Nova Scotia.
“Rent control obviously is not a solution on its own, but it is a start,” Leblanc said. “If we want to ensure that everyone can afford a roof over their head, we need more investments in public housing, both building new units and maintaining the old ones, we need to listen to communities calling for more co-operative housing, and we need to work to increase wages so people can afford basics like rent, food and clothing.”
The provincial NDP has also put forward a bill to increase Nova Scotia’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.
Singh’s tour will stop next in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, where he grew up. Here's his thoughts on other topics.
On his pharmacare plan:
“With a universal pharmacare plan, we would ensure that people had access to medication. We also know, the evidence shows that it actually brings down health care costs. And by bringing down the cost, what we can do is we can reinvest money into frontline support, which means hiring more nurses and doctors.”
On street checks:
“I can say, I guess a bit sadly, that I’m the only federal leader that’s been carded or been street checked. But I can say with confidence that as prime minister, I would love to be the last, and ensure that our country is a country where we don’t see that happen every again.”
On the lack of federal NDP voices in Atlantic Canada:
“People are feeling that absence of having a strong voice that held the government to account. Missing the voices of people here in Nova Scotia like Megan Leslie and Mr. Stoffer, has really left people here in Nova Scotia feeling like they don’t have a champion that’s actually holding the government to their promises, making sure they follow through on commitments made, and making sure that issues of the Atlantic Provinces are actually being heard.”