NDP party leader Jagmeet Singh and Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP candidate Bob Chamberlin chat briefly before an event on May 3 at the White Rabbit Café, where the two talked about the party’s affordable housing plan. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

NDP say fossil fuel subsidies can be better spent on housing

Savings would be used to fund affordable housing plan, said Jagmeet Singh this week in Nanaimo

The New Democratic Party is promising to end federal subsidies to oil and gas companies and use the savings to fund affordable housing and green energy projects nationwide.

During an event at White Rabbit Café on Friday morning, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection candidate Bob Chamberlin outlined more details about their party’s plan around affordable housing.

Singh told the crowd of supporters the party would eliminate federal subsidies to oil and gas companies, explaining that those cuts would result in savings of at least $1.6 billion annually, money the NDP would use to pay their affordable housing plan and other initiatives such as building infrastructure for alternative energy sources.

Chamberlin said the federal government shouldn’t be subsiding an industry that continues to pollute and destroy the environment, adding that the savings from those cuts will be put to better use.

“Those are part of the savings that we are envisioning bringing in to build the infrastructure for alternative energy, build housing that is affordable for every Canadian so our children, who are entering the workforce saddled with massive student debts, are not also going to be facing the loss of opportunity to own a home,” he said.

RELATED: NDP say affordable housing ‘fundamental’ to their campaign

Although the election on May 6 is simply a byelection for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding, candidates and parties have been campaigning on a much broader scale, gearing up for the scheduled general election that will take place in October.

“[Liberals] keep on choosing to help the most powerful, the people who are at the top rather than the people who need help. So they are letting people down,” Singh said. “And we know Conservatives aren’t going to help people. They’ve caused a lot of the problems that we are facing right now.”

Singh said over the past three decades, the federal government has “neglected” to invest in affordable housing, later adding that the NDP believe it is the federal government’s responsibility to create affordable housing.

“This is a massive national crisis it is gripping this entire country,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chamberlin said NDP will work with local and provincial governments to deal with “zoning issues” to ensure their affordable housing plan is realized in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

During a media question period, Singh said the subsidies are at least $1.6 billion but are likely higher because there is “such a complex regime” of subsidies and exemptions offered by the federal government.

“It could be in the multi-billions of dollars that are going to the fossil fuel sector and we would immediately end all those subsidies,” he said.

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection candidates present their priorities

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates quizzed at south-end debate

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates talk environment, economy and governance

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