Canadians have been struggling for decades with a housing affordability crisis. With the rapidly rising cost of living in addition to the housing crisis, Canadians are struggling harder than ever.
 
To address the root cause of the affordability crisis, the government must prioritize people over the profits of corporations, oil and gas, and the ultra-wealthy. By closing tax loopholes, tax havens, and stopping tax-payer funded subsidies to oil and gas industries and corporations, we will be able to make the investments that will improve affordability and enhance the well-being of Canadians, such as affordable housing, universal dental and pharmacare, public education, a just transition to a green economy, and Guaranteed Livable Basic income. 
 
The pandemic has shown us that the government can respond rapidly to a crisis if there is the political will. The CERB and CRB showed that the minimum wage for survival is $2000, yet the incomes of seniors and people on disability fail to reach that. The NDP has introduced a private member's bill to develop a national framework for a permanent Guaranteed Livable Basic Income (GLBI) in Canada with reporting requirements. The bill proposes a GLBI for all people living in Canada over the age of 17 regardless of participation in the workforce or an educational training program.
 
I will keep fighting for real policies that will make sure that the rich pay their fair share and that all Canadians can live in dignity and security. 

OPEN LETTER to Deputy Prime Minister - Resources and support needed for Van East NGO

OPEN LETTER to Deputy Prime Minister - Resources and support needed for Van East NGO

I am writing with regards to an urgent need for direction and resources for non-profit organizations in my riding, some of whom have reached out to my office directly expressing dire needs. As you may know, Vancouver East is home to one of the highest number of non-profit organizations per capita of any ridings in Canada. Many of these non-profits provide essential services that have enormous health impacts for the community. Some of these services include, but are not limited to, housing provision, food security, home support services, overdose prevention, mental health support, urban Indigenous programs and services, seniors’ and youth services, support for victims of domestic violence and abuse, and others.
Because of the importance of these services to the community members who count on them, many of these organizations are continuing to deliver these essential services despite the pandemic and the risks and challenges involved. In fact, many are trying to step up services, such as offering grocery deliveries for seniors isolated at home, to meet the emerging needs of the community. In order to do so, many of these organizations need urgent support and resources from the government, and it is vital that we step up to meet their efforts.

OPEN LETTER to Federal, BC Health Minister and Vancouver DTES COVID-19 Task Force - Urgent COVID-19 response and resources needed for the DTES

OPEN LETTER to Federal, BC Health Minister and Vancouver DTES COVID-19 Task Force - Urgent COVID-19 response and resources needed for the DTES

The Downtown Eastside is home to some of the most vulnerable people in Canada, including people who are homeless, inadequately housed, struggling with mental health challenges and managing addictions. The living conditions of the population mean that many actions that could help prevent the spread of the virus, such as self-isolation and aggressive hygiene practices, are not available to the community members. As such, once the virus touches down on the community, we know that the effect will be severe and devasting. It is therefore absolutely vital that we take steps now to prevent an outbreak in the community as well as to be prepared for what is to come.
There are concerns raised about the lack of direction for keeping residents and staff safe in Single Occupancy Hotels (SROs) and other non-profit and affordable housing. Visitors are being let in and out, and many of the buildings are in poor condition, including having holes in walls and unsanitary shared bathrooms. As such, staff and outreach workers working in these places are “scared” and need a plan now about how they should be protecting themselves and clients from the virus. Resources for building maintenance and sanitization efforts are also desperately needed. Service agencies and shelters are also awaiting instructions on where to direct clients with flu- like symptoms who are seeking service.
OPEN LETTER to the Deputy Prime Minister - COVID-19 Pandemic measures for vulnerable populations

OPEN LETTER to the Deputy Prime Minister - COVID-19 Pandemic measures for vulnerable populations

We are hearing very urgent concerns from constituents about taking immediate action to protect vulnerable people in our communities. We are especially concerned, now that we have confirmed that community transmission is occurring, about those in East Vancouver who would fall into high-risk categories for serious impact as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of health as well as in terms of the social indicators of health.

Front-line workers in health care, housing, outreach and harm reduction are sounding alarms because many of the public health advisements regarding “flattening the curve” of COVID-19 outbreaks, including social distancing, self-isolation, and aggressive hygiene practices are simply not available choices to the hundreds if not thousands of people in our constituencies who are homeless, who are staying in shelters, who are “couch-surfing”, and constituents who live in very inadequate housing. For these constituents, advice about social distancing and maintaining a distance of at least two meters from other people is simply impractical. Likewise, the advice to conduct frequent hand-washing with soap and warm water is not practical, especially if you are homeless and do not have predictable access to a washroom or clean running water.

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