New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh announced that his first order of business in the House of Commons will be to pressure the Liberals to tackle the affordable housing crisis gripping British Columbia.
As he campaigned in the province, the issue of housing came up most often which is leading him to prioritize the issue.
“What we’re committed to doing is immediate action,” he told a cheering crowd of supporters. “We’re calling for the fast-tracking of investments to build new co-operative housing and non-market housing.”
Renters in Burnaby currently face what’s called demovictions, when they are kicked out of older apartments to make way for luxury condos. And with sky-high cost of renting, young people are shut out of the market.
Singh has proposed measures to build 500,000 affordable homes across Canada, challenging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to eliminate the GST for developers building affordable homes, subsidize low-income renters and double the first-time homebuyers’ tax credit.
Singh said he would also push for universal coverage of prescription medication and action on climate change.
He has faced internal criticism for low fundraising and poor support in the polls, but he said the NDP was “united” in the vision of ensuring the government stands up for people and not the powerful and well-connected.
Up until the last moment, no one could say for certain if Jagmeet Singh could clinch the recently concluded Burnaby South byelection. But he has won the seat and strengthened his position to lead the NDP into the upcoming federal election.
But the challenge he now faces in reviving the party’s flagging fortunes in time for this fall’s national election was underscored by the NDP’s simultaneous loss to the Liberals in Outremont — the Montreal riding that served as a launching pad for the orange wave that swept Quebec in 2011.
Singh captured Burnaby South with 39 per cent of the vote, ahead of the Liberal contender with 26 per cent and the Conservative with 22.5 per cent. Former Conservative MP Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada trailed with 10.6 per cent.
If Singh had lost, he would certainly find himself in political wilderness. He would’ve faced demands to resign as leader. -CINEWS