Hussen gets his marching orders

Prime Minister Trudeau recently sent members of his Cabinet their marching orders for the new session of Parliament. Housing Minister and local MP Ahmed Hussen has been given a daunting list that probably won’t be tackled because of the transitory nature of minority governments. Such governments have a lifespan of around 18 months so the clock is ticking. There’s a whole lot of aspirational societal goals included in the letter but these are the ones that will most affect housing affordability. Minister Hussen is directed to help Canada’s housing shortage by,

  • legislating against rent gouging and renovictions
  • instituting an anti home-flipping tax
  • temporarily banning foreign buyers
  • curbing excessive profits in the housing industry
  • increasing consumer protection in real estate transactions
  • banning blind bidding in real estate deals
  • encouraging renters to enter the housing market through rent-to-own schemes
  • supporting office conversion into residential housing

Many of these directives were contained in the Liberals’ 2021 election manifesto. How much of this list will be accomplished by 2023 when the next federal election will likely occur? My cynical guess is very little but the items will probably be recycled for the 2023 Liberal Platform.

Read the full Trudeau letter here.

Hussen skips second debate, others follow

Incumbent Liberal candidate Ahmed Hussen declined to attend the debate hosted by the Mount Dennis Community Association. Last week, he skipped the debate hosted by Friends of Smythe Park—meaning he has not attended any debates this election.

According to the MDCA, after Hussen decided to not attend, the other invited candidates cancelled. The MDCA said, the NDP and Conservatives “both felt that their candidates time was better spent at other activities.” (The PPC candidate was not invited to attend.)

Nicki Ward, the Green candidate, did attend, and answered questions as part of a town hall. Though I had to miss the first hour (kids had homework), it was quite a nice meeting. Ward was irreverent, knowledgeable and frequently funny. She also showed some of the research she did on hyperlocal inflation in the riding she’d like to represent, which I thought was quite interesting (though I am an economics nerd).

NDP candidate Hawa Mire said

… Less than 24 hours before the debate we had not been provided with any of the usual information – format, questions, or attendees. We were also informed the Liberal and Conservative candidates had dropped out of the event.

We went back and forth with the organizers to determine a format. Nothing was confirmed.

As a result of these discussions with organizers we withdrew from the event. Some hours later, we were informed it was to become a townhall and candidates were to get further information.

Unfortunately this did not happen.

I recognize that a 35 day election makes debates challenging to schedule, and understand the toll it takes on organizers of such events.

What I must be clear about was my intention to attend from the very beginning.

Our democracy relies on the opportunity to engage with and hold those seeking public office to account. This is a value I hold close to my heart…

(Capitalization corrected, otherwise as written)

I haven’t heard back from Ahmed Hussen, nor from Sajanth Mohan, the Conservative candidate.

Pols announce funding for affordable seniors’ housing in Weston

MP Ahmed Hussen annnounced that the federal government would be giving a “$35 million low-cost loan to help construct 126 new rental units as part of a 15-storey development located at 2346 Weston Road”

The affordable apartment building has been promised since at least 2018 on a long-vacant property. The plan hasn’t always been well loved.

Hussen announced the loan with a who’s-who of politicians, including Councillor Nunziata and John Tory.

There’s always time for politics for Hussen

Ahmed Hussen, our MP and Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development, said that Service Canada is stopping in-person service “so that we can redeploy our focus to online and telephone services to better serve Canadians.”

That is not what the Globe and Mail says. The service centres are closed because “employees en masse refused to work”.

The Globe says

The government bent to pressure Thursday evening from the Canadian Employment and Immigration Union….The centres were crowded and efforts to control the traffic resulted in long lines outside and sometimes irate visitors, she said. In recent days, so many missed work that 187 centres closed on Thursday – almost 60 per cent of the network.

This is politics, but it isn’t just politics. The CDC says that in an emergency, government should “Be First, Be Right, Be Credible”.

Hussen just burned a little bit of credibility in a time when the needs it most.

 

 

Hussen announces housing–but not in YSW

Our MP, Ahmed Hussen, has been very busy in his new role as Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. Last week, he announced “700 new homes in 5 communities across Canada, 34 units renovated, [and] over $200 million invested.”

He may be understating things. Developments have been announced in at least six communities: PEI, Toronto, Stratford, Moncton, Saskatoon, and Bedford, Nova Scotia. Announcements for Brampton and Thornhill were also planned.

No affordable housing plans have been announced in Weston, but MP Adam Vaughan did claim that it was in our riding. It’s actually in Emery Village. (He also tagged the wrong Ahmed Hussen.)