For immediate release, Oct. 21, 2020
The spread of street homelessness and unaffordable housing has steadily worsened in British Columbia ever since the 1980s, as governments at all levels promote so-called “market solutions” that turn housing into a source of private profit rather than a basic human right. In the Oct. 24, provincial election, the Communist
Party of BC is campaigning for fundamental change. The party’s platform includes a program to build 100,000 units of new & renovated social and low-income housing. The funding for this and other urgent social programs can be found by reversing Gordon Campbell’s massive tax breaks for the corporations and upper income earners, which continue to cost the provincial treasury an estimated $3 billion per year. Our platform also calls to stop “renovictions” and “demovictions”, and put a ban on all evictions during the pandemic; and to legislate stricter rent controls.
The housing crisis became even more severe when the Covid layoffs began last March. After the first five months of the pandemic, the Horgan government announced that “only” 15% of BC’s 600,000 renting households were not able to pay rent in full. That left some 90,000 households with outstanding rent owed,
and potentially facing evictions, even though many were still out of work. A survey circulated in August by the Vancouver Tenants Union found that of the 400 renters who responded, 28% reported going hungry or skipping meals to pay rent since COVID-19 began, 69% were worried about how to repay back rent, and
32% were at risk of falling into rent debt once the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Temporary Rental Supplement ended. Nearly two-thirds of respondents reported experiencing new or worsening mental health around their rent and rent debt situations.
The Communist Party of BC’s candidates give full support to the demands raised by renters’ movements such as the Vancouver Tenants Union. The VTU’s fully justified demands include vacancy control and collective bargaining rights for all renters, a reinstatement of the eviction ban which the province allowed to lapse, a
continued freeze on rent increases for the remainder of the pandemic, and cancellation or forgiveness of rent debts accrued during the pandemic. We urge strong community coalitions to mobilize around these demands, regardless of which parties are in the Legislature after October 24.
The Communist Party of BC candidates include:
– Tyson Riel Strandlund (Langford-Juan de Fuca)
– Walt Parsons (Victoria-Swan Lake)
– Ryan Abbott (Surrey-Whalley)
– Kimball Cariou (Vancouver Hastings)
– Florian Castle (Oak Bay-Gordon Head)
For information on the CP-BC platform and election statements, visit the party’s website: