FLORA Community WEB
134 Sparks St., Suite 200
Ottawa, ON K1P 5B6
Mauril Bélanger- MP
(Copies to Bernard Grandmaâtre - MPP, Madeleine Meilleur - Regional Councillor, Stéphane
Émard-Chabot - City Councillor)
June 12, 1997
I would first like to congratulate you on your recent return to office in the Ottawa-Vanier riding.
I just recently moved to the area and currently live in the Voisins coop in Apartment 609, 440
Wiggins Pvt (K1N 1A7). I am still working in my same downtown office on Sparks St. Since
this is a return to the office for you, there are not as many new faces for you as there will be for
me. Being new to the area, I wanted to introduce myself as I suspect that there will be a fair
amount of interaction between us in the upcoming years.
I was glad to hear that although I am in a new riding, that I was already familiar with the MP
from other areas such as the Defense Fund for the Montreal Rally (And my work on the
http://www.plcom.on.ca/defence/ WEB site), as well as the SOS Montfort
<http://www.village.ca/sosmontfort/>. Unlike the MP from my previous riding (Mac Harb,
Ottawa Center) you are not one of the invisible MP's within the community.
While there are many issues I will want to discuss with you ranging from environmental and
transportation issues (I have enclosed a letter I wrote to Mac about transportation taxation) as
well as globalization and trade issues (Multilateral Agreement on Investment, Privatization,
downloading, government downsizing, seeming emphasis on medium and large businesses for so
called 'job creation'). Today I would like to focus on social housing.
As you will notice from my new address, I live in one of the co-operative housing units in Sandy
Hill. My future wife (Wedding date is August 9th) and I wanted to move in together into a
mixed neighborhood in order to be a part of a strong community. The coop we are in is like
many that has both market rent and subsidized units: you see people from all walks of life, with
many different languages (Majority English and French, but others are represented), with many
different perspectives on the world. These are the breeding grounds for tolerance of differences
and the real strength for a future of a strong and United Canada.
No sooner did I find out about this very needed island of learning did I find out that both the
Federal and Ontario Provincial governments were wanting to get out of the housing business.
The Federal governments want to offload housing to the provinces, and in turn the Ontario
government wants to either get rid of or offload housing to the municipalities.
As part of the so called "Common Sense Revolution" the following statements were made:
"We will end the public housing boondoggle that profits only the large property developers and return to a shelter subsidy program for all Ontarians who need help in affording a decent level of shelter...
We will also direct the Ontario Realty Corporation to develop a plan to sell the more than 84 thousand units owned by the Ontario Public Housing Corporation..."
Fortunately the Harris Government could not easily privatize social housing (Too many agreements they couldn't break and mixed-ownership indicating that he didn't own them to sell them off!). The push is now to download things to the municipalities, something we all know will eventually mean the end to social housing as the property tax base will not support the required infrastructure, and the lack of standards across the province and country will tend to create financial ghettoes rather than the mixed-populations that I currently see in the area I live in.
I would urge you to put pressure on your government to not only not download social housing to
the provincial level, but to also encourage the federal government to take a leadership roll in
strengthening the co-operative and social housing sectors across the country through federal level
funding and standards.
Last Wednesday I ran and was elected to the Board of Directors for the Voisins coop. In this
capacity I will be following the advise offered to us by Nick Sidor (CHFC-Ontario Region
President) to become more political. Please keep me informed of any changes in the area of coop
and social housing, and I will definitely keep you up-to-date on how our membership feels about
the upcoming changes.
I was glad to go to the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada list of candidates that
supported co-operative housing <http://www.chfc.ca/support.html> and found your name on this
list. It is nice to know that we will be on the same team again on this issue as we were with the
Defense Fund for the Montreal Rally. You should let me know what I can do to help further
Note: This and other letters can be found at: http://www.flora.org/russell/letters/.