Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP candidate Bob Chamberlin and party leader Jagmeet Singh talk affordable housing outside Chamberlin’s campaign office in the Old City Quarter on Monday afternoon. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

NDP say affordable housing ‘fundamental’ to their campaign

Jagmeet Singh promises 500,000 new units of housing if New Democrats form government

The NDP are promising to take a leadership role on housing if they are elected this fall.

Jagmeet Singh is in Nanaimo-Ladysmith this week campaigning with candidate Bob Chamberlin, and the NDP leader said today that a New Democrat government would immediately start building 500,000 units of affordable housing, including 1,400 units in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

“That would make a significant difference in people’s lives and we’re confident that if we make better choices we can actually deliver better results and that means making housing a priority,” Singh said.

He said the 500,000 units would be built over 10 years. Asked how it would fit into a federal budget, Singh pointed to the Liberals’ corporate tax breaks and pipeline purchase.

“They’re making certain choices that are not in line with our values. So we would make different choices, better choices,” Singh said. “We’d put people first and make sure we prioritize building these affordable homes that people need.”

He said the federal government can be a “meaningful partner” with the province of B.C., for example, which he said is ready to tackle the housing crisis.

“We’d look at a wide variety of partnerships, so this could be co-operative housing, non-market housing, working with non-profit organizations, working with cities that have available land but just need some funding, working with provinces that are willing to put up some money,” Singh said.

Asked if there are certain types of housing he’s hearing that people need, Chamberlin quipped, “yeah, affordable housing.” He said the crisis is impacting people looking to buy and rent and mentioned that it’s hard on young people and putting them in a challenging position to set out in their lives.

“If we can be the governing party for this country, we can ensure that we make the proper steps, the proper investments for affordable housing which will benefit the people obviously that are moving in, but it will benefit the market, as well, by freeing up other rental suites and so forth, so everybody can have a decent place to live, a decent place to call home and a decent place to have a future built upon,” Chamberlin said.

Singh said housing is going to be a “fundamental” part of the NDP’s election campaign.

“We believe that we’re in a crisis and if it’s a crisis situation, we need to boldly respond to it,” he said.

Chamberlin and Singh are speaking about affordable housing this evening at the Bee’s Knees Café. The NDP leader will remain in Nanaimo for more campaigning on Tuesday.

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection is May 6. Other candidates on the ballot include Michelle Corfield, Liberals; John Hirst, Conservatives; Paul Manly, Greens; Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada; Brian Marlatt, Progressive Canadian Party; Jakob Letkemann, National Citizens Alliance.

READ ALSO: Bernier arrives in Nanaimo-Ladysmith to amplify PPC campaign

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READ ALSO: Greens see climate as central issue in Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection

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