OTTAWA, Jan. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - "There is no question of forgetting us in
your plan to fight the economic crisis." That was the message which tenants
and homeless people delivered to the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper,
in demonstrating oustide the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Meeting of First
Ministers, which took place today, in Ottawa. The demonstrators demanded that
the plan to deal with the crisis, which should be unveiled as part of the
January 27 Federal Budget, include massive investments in social housing. The
demonstration was organized by the Front d'action populaire en réaménagement
urbain (FRAPRU), a Quebec-wide coalition of 130 organisations.
FRAPRU believes that investing in social housing would respond to the
lack of low-rent housing across the country. It would also create significant
employment in the construction industry, where 44,000 jobs were lost in
December 2008, of which 18,500 were in Quebec. This investment would also
create jobs in the manufacturing and forestry sectors.
FRAPRU notes that, according to the last Rental Market Report published
in December by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), almost all
Canadian provinces, including Quebec, are facing an increasing shortage of
rental units, particularly for lower-income households. Of the 34 major urban
centres in Canada, 26 have been hit by this shortage, including all six Quebec
cities. FRAPRU adds that according to the 2006 Canadian Census, 1,546,985
tenant households spend more then 30% of their income on rent, of which
697,405 spend more than 50%. In Quebec, these numbers are 448,840 and 203,085,
respectively. Finally, the Canadian Government itself recognizes that the
problem of homelessness affects between 150 000 and 300 000 people in Canada.
FRAPRU reminds Ottawa that the possibility of investmenting in the
housing sector had been invoked by the Harper Government itself, in its
on-line pre-budgetary consultation. However, housing has completely
disappeared from Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's discourse during his recent
pre-budget tour of Canada. It was tax cuts which had taken most of the place.
FRAPRU demands that the Federal Government invest at least $ 2 billion a
year in housing. FRAPRU wants this money to be invested directly in social
housing programmes, or, at the very least, in programmes flexible enough that
the provinces and territories who want to invest in social housing can do so.
For further information:
For further information: François Saillant, FRAPRU, (514) 919-2843