Monday, September 04, 2023

Those Who Seek Scapegoats

Canada has a housing crisis. And some are blaming immigrants. Susan Delacourt writes:

If politicians in this country are going to be seized with housing in the coming months — as they are all promising — they’re going to have to learn to tread carefully around the minefield of immigration.

Blaming immigrants for the housing crisis in Canada is something that all political parties say they’re keen to avoid, yet there have already been risky remarks on that score, across the board. And there will probably be more.

New Housing Minister Sean Fraser embarked into that perilous territory a few weeks ago when he said Canada might need to crack down on universities attracting foreign students without the means to house them properly.

Fraser, to be clear, said he wasn’t blaming the students and indeed stressed: “we have to be really, really careful that we don’t have a conversation that somehow blames newcomers for the housing challenges.”

That didn’t stop Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre from accusing Justin Trudeau’s government of whipping up resentment against immigration.

And Doug Ford has hopped on the bandwagon:

Ontario Premier Doug Ford continues to pin the housing crisis in his province — not to mention his Greenbelt scandal — on the desperate need to accommodate Ottawa’s abrupt increase to the number of newcomers to Canada.

“I didn’t know the federal government was gonna bring in over 500,000 (newcomers),” Ford said at a testy news conference this week.

“I didn’t get a phone call from the prime minister saying, ‘Surprise, surprise. We’re dropping these many people in your province and by the way, good luck, you deal with them.’”

To hear Ford tell it at that news conference, most of the unhoused people in his province are people who weren’t born in Canada. He talked of a phone call he got from a new Canadian in danger of losing his house and about the refugees and asylum seekers sleeping in church basements.

As my Queen’s Park columnist colleague Martin Regg Cohn put it, “if tolerance is truly his goal, the premier is playing with rhetorical fire … It’s not a dog whistle. It’s a bullhorn being blown from Ford’s bully pulpit.”

The housing crisis has been a long time coming. It began when, under the neo-liberal economic policies of the 1980s, the government got out of the business of housing its citizens.

Beware those who seek scapegoats.

Image: Linked In


Northern PoV said...

Our Canadian housing crisis was years in the making and LIBs and CONs can both be blamed. (As well as provincial NDPs.)

The feds (both parties) stopped funding public housing after the sixties. Biggest error.

Apparently the Harper gov't (including the Lil'PP himself) changed the student visa into an instant work visa. When Jr. took over, his crew either didn't notice or were too dumb to reverse the change.

Now we have an extra MILLION people that stats Canada didn't count.

Massive immigration without a massive building program of high quality, social housing, is a bi-partisan crime in Canada.

Capitalism, with private real estate (and fossil fuels) at its core, is brining on an extinction event.

I don't care about the polls much, but if the recent ones have any truth at all in them (beyond their primary roll of manufacturing consent) they point to a situation that is analogous to lung cancer patients switching cigarrette brands.

Owen Gray said...

Precisely, PoV.

Anonymous said...

The housing crisis is market driven, in that it is a supply and demand situation. There is too much money chasing a too-small inventory of housing. If you live in Southern Ontario or the Lower Mainland of BC, you know that for the last 40 years, housing prices have been rising exponentially. A not insignificant component has been money from overseas being used to purchase residential real estate. Compared to many places in the world, Canada is a pretty good place to live. So it is a safe place to park some of your dough. If you are a boomer (like me) who got into the market a few decades ago, you are sitting on a gold mine. But if you are like my children, who would like to buy a small home so their children can have what they had, not so much. With respect to immigration and international students, why would one think that inviting hundreds of thousands of people to move to Canada, while at the same time not ensuring that there would be somewhere for them to reside, would not aggravate an already difficult situation? Many public services are already underfunded, which is why all levels of government are reluctant to get involved in something as pricy as public housing. Plus a lot of the people who are complaining about the housing crisis don't want to live in a tiny apartment; they want their own home. They don't want to be at the mercy of a landlord. AN

Owen Gray said...

It's better to be your own landlord, AN. But there need to be a lot more houses for people to have that experience.

zoombats said...

Everything including crisis is about greed.Foreign students are supplementing the greed of Universities with increased tuition and not accepting Canadian students(900,000 this years). The result is two fold but certainly contributes to housing shortage. The intoduction of a million immigrants affects the housing and job markets but still housing is not the governments problem. The outright corruption of the Ford government regarding the Green belt and their commitment to affordable housing is a joke and everyone with half a brain knows those properties will start at the average national cost of $780,000. The Ford Government should stop pissing on people's legs and telling them it's rainingWe are run by gangsters, cons and grifters.

Owen Gray said...

It's all about the money, zoombats.