Re: “Council Approves Sale Of Former Police Station” (Bandon Sun, Nov. 20.)
The most pressing issues in Brandon are the lack of affordable housing and food insecurity. With a less than one per cent vacancy rate, residents are forced to use most of their disposable income to cover the high cost of housing. As a result, they have very little left over for food.
For example, a family of two adults and one child accessing the local food bank, Samaritan House Ministries, has only approximately $105 per month for food. Food hampers are provided every two weeks and the food provided generally lasts no more than three or four days.
In the article, city Coun. Jim McCrae said: “One of the main reasons we have not made very much progress in this (affordable housing issue) over the last 10 15 years as we would have liked is because the only level of government that I believe can address that playing field is the provincial government.”
Not so fast, why should we be placing all the responsibility on the provincial government when in fact all three levels of government — municipal, provincial and federal — ought to be involved in addressing our needs. The City of Brandon and the provincial government have demonstrated initiative at addressing the issue of housing.
The Conservatives at the federal level on the other hand have failed to show any leadership to help families. They axed any hope for a national child-care strategy. Now under their power and inaction, Canadians’ access to food and shelter has quickly deteriorated across the country.
Food Banks Canada released its annual hunger count and found there’s a growing reliance on food banks in both urban and rural areas. The heartbreaking part is that almost half of those accessing food banks are children.
NDP MP Marie-Claude Morin recently introduced a private member’s bill, Bill C-400. This bill seeks to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for all Canadians. If passed, the bill would require the federal government to develop a national housing strategy. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities and thousands of Canadians have supported Morin’s bill.
The health and well-being of Canadians, including the residents of Westman, will decline as Conservative MP Merv Tweed and Prime Minister Stephen Harper continue to refuse to address basic human rights such as healthy food and adequate housing.
Will Merv Tweed support this bill?
Give him a call and find out.
President, Brandon-Souris NDP
Federal Riding Association
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 23, 2012