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DEADLINE June 8, 2018!  
Make sure your voice is heard!  

The Government of Canada believes all Canadians deserve access to housing that meets their needs and that they can afford. A human rights-based approach to housing focuses on ensuring that every Canadian has access to a safe and affordable place to call home. It is grounded in the core principles of accountability, participation, non-discrimination and inclusion.

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So much clamor about taxing those who don't want to pay tax, even though they have won a big prize in our BC Real Estate Lottery.  Indeed, the added tax on higher valued homes is fair and the best way to fund schools and social services. Two excellent pieces appear in the Vancouver Sun this past week.  One by two UBC academics is concise and on point.  Another by Alex Hemingway of the CCPA is also great.

The federal government is government is parading the idea of HOUSING AS A HUMAN RIGHT.  Their consultation has been extended to close June 8th. You can contribute your thoughts.  While the text of their appeal seems heavy on rhetoric and light on action, those of us with a voice should chip in.  Unfortunately, the much hyped National Housing Strategy promises no more federal funds for community housing.  Funding is frozen at the level it has been for almost two decades (@$2B).  Meanwhile, CMHC is extracting fees from middle income Canadians and paying a 'dividend' to government of some two or three times that much.  They boast, "In 2017, we also declared dividends totalling $4.7 billion to our shareholder, the Government of Canada. An additional dividend of $1 billion was approved by CMHC’s Board of Directors on March 22, 2018."

 

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The struggle for a low carbon economy is political and economic.  Last month, Kinder Morgan stopped all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project and said it wants assurances by the end of May in order to proceed.  They are demanding that two conditions be met by May 31.  The two conditions are: final clarity on its ability to construct the project through B.C. and adequate protection of KML shareholders.

On May 16, Bill Morneau, Canada’s Minister of Finance, announced that the Federal Government will give a ‘taxpayer bailout’ to any company that wants to build Kinder Morgan’s tar sands pipeline.  The Premier of Alberta says that it is vital to the Alberta economy, and outrageously threatens to ‘turn off the tap’ for shipping oil to BC.  You may recall that in February, the Alberta Premier had boycotted imports of BC wines in response to BC's call for further review of the oil-spill risk from this pipeline expansion.  ‚Äč

There is a lot of opposition in BC from politicians, environmental groups and the average citizen.  There are many reasons. For example:

·        The current NDP BC Government of Premier Horgan ran on a promise to stop the project arguing it is not in the public interest.

·        Aboriginal people hold the underlying title to land that the pipeline expansion will be crossing — so many feel their approval is needed, not the federal or provincial governments'. The Aboriginal people’s opposition is backed by the recognition of Aboriginal title by the Canadian constitution and over 150 court decisions.

·        The City of Vancouver is against the increased tanker traffic and oil spill danger in Burrard Inlet; and the City of Burnaby is against the hazard to residents and community of more than doubling the tank farms on Burnaby Mountain. 

·        We need to focus on renewable energy and move off fossil fuel dependency.  Even Saudi Arabia has invested in the largest global solar energy project.  Carbon, if released into the atmosphere, will heat the planet.  We cannot afford more global warming. There are more long-term jobs based on a green economy than would be gained by the pipeline expansion.

There are many articles and editorials on the Kinder Morgan May 31 deadline.  Here are a few that are noteworthy.

April 30 http://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/robyn-allan-government-aid-key-to-trans-mountain-pipeline-expansion

May 15 National Observer https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/05/15/opinion/whats-behind-kinder-morgans-may-31-ultimatum-follow-money

What do you think?  Please comment. 

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Our 'housing crisis' is not a local issue, it is the result of global capital flows and the rich pursuing their interests.  That is the argument outlined in The Tyee; William Rees puts the case forward - referencing economics and ecological logic. This is a very good analysis.

Rees also also builds links to the growing foreign investment in agricultural land all around the world. The free flow of capital alters local markets and undermines local communities; putting democratic institutions at risk.

 

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