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Opinion: Housing in Canada - A Crisis That Extends Beyond Big Cities



The issue of housing has taken centre stage in Canada, capturing the attention of both the public and policymakers.


The struggle to provide adequate housing in this economy has become a topic of heated discussion. However, the solutions being proposed by our provincial and federal leaders (on both sides of the aisle) seem to be misguided. There seems to be a focus on directing funds solely to the larger cities, under the assumption that this is where the root of the problem lies.


A telling example of this approach is the recent meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mike Savage, the Mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality, where they discussed shared priorities such as housing and homelessness. Similarly, the Prime Minister engaged in talks with Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow about the housing crisis. While these conversations are important, the subsequent announcement on July 18th, of an additional $212 Million in funding for the Interim Housing Assistance Program disproportionately benefited big cities.


The majority of this funding has been allocated to Toronto, the province of Quebec, Ottawa, and the Greater Toronto Area. There's no doubt that they are grappling with serious housing challenges, but we must not overlook the struggles faced by smaller communities.


During my recent travels through Alberta, I heard firsthand about the lack of affordable housing and the scarcity of available land, impeding the communities desire to grow and increase the tax base essential for community development.


The disparity in funding distribution raises a vital question: why are smaller cities, towns, and villages not receiving the same respect and attention as their larger counterparts? Canada is currently facing the most significant housing crisis since its confederation, and the political will, both at the federal and provincial levels, seems fixated on larger urban centres to find a solution.


This narrow focus is misguided and ignores the very real challenges occurring in smaller communities, where the heart of the country lies.


It is crucial for the leadership of this great nation to consider the needs of these smaller communities. This is where the true work of advancing Canada's challenges is happening. Neglecting these areas in favour of larger urban regions is short-sighted and undermines the potential for equitable growth and development across the country.


We cannot overlook the fact that many of these smaller communities are already struggling with declining populations and limited financial resources. By directing the majority of funding to areas where growth is a challenge, we exacerbate the imbalance and hinder the overall growth of the country. It is high time for our leaders to shift their focus and take a more comprehensive approach to addressing the housing crisis.


One way we can achieve this is by injecting housing funding into rural areas and smaller cities and towns. Not only will this advance our goals to increase the housing market, but it will also address the housing challenges that large urban centre face. Small communities are the heartbeat of our great nation; they embody our diversity and represent our unique tapestry. By investing more funding into these communities, we can stimulate the country's growth and prosperity.


As Canada grapples with this issue, it is crucial to recognize that homelessness and housing challenges do not discriminate between big cities and smaller communities. They affect individuals and families across the country, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that every Canadian has access to safe, affordable, and stable housing.


The housing crisis in Canada cannot be solved by funnelling funds exclusively into larger urban centres. Smaller communities are equally deserving of attention and support. To achieve meaningful progress and build a more equitable nation, we need leadership that understands the intricacies of the problem and is willing to allocate resources accordingly. Only then can we move forward toward a brighter, more inclusive future for all Canadians.

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