Sunday, January 25, 2009

Latest Harper budget leak - good news or hype?

Budget could offer more than $2B for social housing

[source: cbc.ca for iPhone] - The Harper government is expected to use Tuesday's federal budget to pump more than $2 billion into social housing across the country, a move that would help seniors, the disabled and aboriginal people, according to a report. [end of excerpt]

This is not the first time billions have been promised for social housing - the Liberals created a fund years ago (that stayed alive under the Conservative minority budget) that still has unspent hundreds of millions of dollars for affordable housing due to red-tape and strings attached that required cash strapped provinces and municipalities to match funds. Further, while $2Billion may appear to be a large amount of money (and guarantee headlines for the Conservatives) - the portion mentioned in the news report for repairs to social housing - $1B - may actually not even come close to repairing even a small percentage of Canada's crumbling social housing infrastructure and leaves moot the point whether housing built decades ago in the 50's, 60's and 70's should even be repaired or upgraded, or replaced entirely with a new social housing model.

This most recent leak of this weeks upcoming federal budget is another example of Harper and his minority Conservative Party selectively releasing what they consider to be good news items to be picked up as positive news bites and spun by their considerable backroom marketing machine to garner support for what is suspected to be an unprecedented economic stimulus package. $64 billion deficit? What is the total cost of the new budget? Are tax cuts the best way to jumpstart the Canadian economy? Pouring billions into programs that are ill conceived to begin with and poorly managed by bureaucratic mandarins won't guarantee that Canada will ride out the economic storm. We need fresh thinking, not more of the same Conservative laissez faire, trickle down philosophy - and perhaps the billions needed now are an indication that the Conservatives just plain got it wrong over the past few years of minority rule and Canadians deserve a government that can command a majority mandate.

2 comments:

  1. Living in social housing, and seeing Regent Park, Canada's oldest experiment in Social Housing slowly being rebuilt and replaced, but only on a 1:1 basis is a start, but it really doesn't cover the needs of even one city. Some of what's going up are condos, and I'm all for mixing people at different levels of social strata, and opening up roads that have been closed for decades making the area open, instead of a cut off ghetto, but we need more, and I don't mean just the poor, because this affects us all. What you do to the poor, well... There's a trickle up effect which manifests in creating a growth medium for gangs, fuelled by the desperate and the angry.

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  2. Thx Kratsminsch. Glad you mentioned Regent Park. There's an interesting piece on Regent Park in the Torontoist at -
    http://torontoist.com/2008/07/fauxreels_regent_park_portraits.php

    cheers, canayjun

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