Euthanasia is no solution to the housing crisis

Dear Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and Housing Minister,

The recent news of two Canadians seeking medically-assisted death after being unable to find affordable housing within a space of a month[1]Woman with chemical sensitivities chose medically-assisted death after failed bid to get better housing
ctvnews.ca/mobile/health/woman-with-chemical-sensitivities-chose-medically-assisted-death-after-failed-bid-to-get-better-housing-1.5860579
[3]Woman with disabilities nears medically assisted death after futile bid for affordable housing
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/woman-with-disabilities-nears-medically-assisted-death-after-futile-bid-for-affordable-housing-1.5882202
should fill you with shame. It is a testament to the monumental failure of your government’s housing and labour policies, which has seen relentless rise of rents and home prices batter the average Canadian worker while wages fall.

Since Liberal government came to power in 2015 promising to fix the housing crisis, home prices have nearly doubled[2]’Nice in theory’: Residents skeptical federal budget’s housing plan will cool Toronto’s market
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/federal-budget-home-buyers-toronto-market-1.6412053
. The runaway home prices caused by the financialization of housing has enabled real speculators like your own MP Taleeb Noormohamed to extract obscene wealth, while many Canadians are having to forego food to make rent.

Meanwhile, real wages are falling as wages rise only at half the rate of inflation[4]Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, March 2022[5]5. Statistics Canada Consumer Price Index, March 2022. To make matters even worse, you have just loosened restrictions on the temporary foreign worker program[6]Government of Canada announces Workforce Solutions Road Map – further changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to address labour shortages across Canada
https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2022/04/government-of-canada-announces-workforce-solutions-road-map–further-changes-to-the-temporary-foreign-worker-program-to-address-labour-shortages-ac.html
even as job vacancies have fallen precipitously from the September 2021 peak[7]Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0325-01 Job vacancies, payroll employees, job vacancy rate, and average offered hourly wage by provinces and territories, quarterly, unadjusted for seasonality.

Your government is conning immigrants like me to move to Canada by selling a false dream of a better life. The reality is that you merely want me in Canada as a tax cattle that big businesses could exploit to drive down wages. By increasing immigration levels without increasing housing supply, you’re also exploiting immigrants like me to further inflate the housing bubble and make landlords like the one who make a third of your cabinet even richer.

Most renters will reach retirement age with no home and no savings because of the high cost of living.  Once we’re too old to work and our Canada Pension Plan payments aren’t enough to cover rent, we become disposable in the economy you’ve created. The only alternative to life on the streets you’re offering us appears to be euthanasia.

You have failed as a government when the nurse healing the sick or a teacher educating the young are having to fork out half their paycheque to a parasitic real estate investor who contributes nothing to society. You have failed as a government when essential workers are one eviction away from homelessness because you have prioritised the wealth of Taleeb Noormohamed and their ilk over fulfilling a basic human need. 

You have a moral obligation to prevent more Canadians dying from your failed economic policies. I urge you to immediately take the following steps:

  • Ban investors from buying up real estate
  • Ban Airbnb and other short term rentals
  • Fund a massive build out of affordable housing
  • End the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
  • Align immigration levels with unemployment rate and housing availability to end the cruel practice of newcomers to Canada being exploited to lower wages and raise rents

If you’re unable to or unwilling to govern in a manner that ensures the well-being of your citizens, you don’t deserve to be the government. If you’re not going to take immediate steps to end the housing crisis and end the race to the bottom for workers, the most honourable thing you could do is to resign. 

Yours Sincerely,

Rohana Rezel

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You can reach Rohana Rezel at [email protected] You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook and Github.

References   [ + ]

1. Woman with chemical sensitivities chose medically-assisted death after failed bid to get better housing
ctvnews.ca/mobile/health/woman-with-chemical-sensitivities-chose-medically-assisted-death-after-failed-bid-to-get-better-housing-1.5860579
2. ’Nice in theory’: Residents skeptical federal budget’s housing plan will cool Toronto’s market
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/federal-budget-home-buyers-toronto-market-1.6412053
3. Woman with disabilities nears medically assisted death after futile bid for affordable housing
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/woman-with-disabilities-nears-medically-assisted-death-after-futile-bid-for-affordable-housing-1.5882202
4. Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, March 2022
5. 5. Statistics Canada Consumer Price Index, March 2022
6. Government of Canada announces Workforce Solutions Road Map – further changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to address labour shortages across Canada
https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2022/04/government-of-canada-announces-workforce-solutions-road-map–further-changes-to-the-temporary-foreign-worker-program-to-address-labour-shortages-ac.html
7. Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0325-01 Job vacancies, payroll employees, job vacancy rate, and average offered hourly wage by provinces and territories, quarterly, unadjusted for seasonality