A word from the president

From one budget to another, two different approaches : from discouragement to disappointment

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Discouragement: Quebec’s budget

After the Quebec budget’s presentation, our fears are confirmed. While we were many actors insisting, before minister Leitão’s budget was tabled, on the need and interest, both economic and social, for the Quebec society to continue and especially expand the financing of social housing, the government chose to ignore our arguments.

Beyond this ideologically rigid and economically wrong approach based on a Liberal sauce austerity, it is against the very relevance for the State to participate in the development and financing of social housing that this government stands. The slow yet inexorable death of the AccèsLogis program has been confirmed in this budget.

Thus, by maintaining the budget for carrying out projects at the 2009 costs, producing only 1500 social housing units (how many for co-operatives?), by diverting part of the funding for the realization of social housing to the rent supplement program, which primarily benefits some landlords, the government removes its meaning and its ability to actually act on inequalities and dysfunctions in housing produced by the private market.

The disappointment: The federal budget

Mixed, that's the least negative term that comes to mind to describe my feelings about the first Trudeau government budget. From the outset, after the Siberian conservative years, any progress, as superficial, inadequate and temporary as it is, appears as providential by comparison.

In this context, the annoucements related to housing rights in the federal budget deliver. They fit perfectly in a Keynesian economics approach, which implies that, in times of economic downturn, the State must provide the fuel to start the engine of the capitalist car. Fuel, a new driver, a different course, but mainly we do not change vehicle.

In this sense, measures such as the two year $574 million program for energy renovation and water efficiency in existing social housing or the specific budget of $200 million for housing for seniors and important efforts made in favour of Aboriginal and northern communities represent one-off investments and, while important and positive, they are non-structural and partial.

Still more inadequate and worrying, the modest temporary commitments to the most disadvantaged households. At $30 million over two years for all of Canada, we can’t even talk about a breath of fresh air...

By never mentioning co-operative and collective housing and by leaving us in the dark on this elastic and relative concept of "affordable housing", this government frankly worries us and, at this moment, does not show a real will to address our movement’s fundamental issues mainly, concerning housing, the maintenance and development of the housing co-operative model, the accessibility of such housing units to all those needing it and who identify with this model, as well as the democratic, autonomous and distinct character of the co-operative model compared to the private market.