for the people
By ROBERT M. STRACHAN our lower income groups that will guideposts, can only lead to crash-
NDP Provincial Leader only end in continual buck-passing. ing chaos and many unfilled needs
There is a growing feeling of Provincially we have had our throughout the province;
fear, apprehension and a n g e r Premier announce with a grand For many years Mr. Bennett
throughout British Columbia. This flourish that from now on he wants and his government have been rid-
feeling is engendered partly because to be addressed as Mr. Prime Min- ing high on the crest of booming
of happenings on the federal field ister. (Anyone worthy of being ad- times but now that there are eco-
and partly on the provincial field. dressed as Prime Minister wouldn't nomic problems it is obvious that
Nationally we have had a Con- worry about what his title was). his policies are no different to those
ference of the Confederation of To- Then we had a threat of wage and of the Liberals and Conservatives.
morrow attended by all the Premiers price controls; followed in rapid During these years we in the
of Canada except Premier Bennett. order by the news that the Queen New Democratic Party have been
We have also been witness to Mr. of Prince Rupert would not be put advocating the policies that would
Sharp's budget of last June. This back in operation until next spring. have provided the economic growth
was followed by numerous state- Then there was another freeze on without run away inflation. We also
ments in recent weeks threatening school construction. We have also advocated the policies that would
dire things for the economy. On been informed by a Victoria doctor, have provided the schools, hospitals
November 30 came the mini-bud- that patients are dying because of and other public works so badly
get with increased taxes followed the long waiting list for hospitals needed. These policies would have
a week later by an announcement and finally our three public uni- involved the government to a
of a considerable cut-back in fed- versities have announced that they greater degree and much more di-
eral spending. We have also had a will be turning students away next rectly in the economic development
federal-provincial meeting on med- year unless there are drastic changes of the province.
icare which indicated that we will in present plans. The New Democratic Party is
have no national medicare scheme. No wonder there is a rising surge growing in strength and support.
Finally we have had a federal-pro- of a n g e r and disenchantment We expect to keep on growing as
vincial meeting on housing (again throughout the province. The more and more people look for the
attended by all the Premiers but our honeymoon is over. It must now be answers to the many problems that
own), which produced what has obvious that flying the economy by are now showering around the
all the earmarks of being another the seat of the pants with political heads of the people of British Co-
scheme for providing housing for expediency and private privilege as lumbia and Canada.
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There IS a solution
as a stimulus to the economy when only a fraction of that amount.
things are slack. What this means is that a relatively
Canadians have tended to think But this is where government has few property owners are profiting
that man's search for shelter is from this situation.
gone wrong because the needs of
mainly a problem in other coun- Right now, housing demand
people are not directly related to
tries, yet it is one of the great greatly exceeds supply and as long
the business cycle, people need ade-
problems of our own country. Hun- as we face this situation house
quate housing regardless of the
dreds of thousands of Canadian prices will continue to rise and
families live in over-crowded hous- home ownership will become im-
ing, many live in substandard hous- We in the New Democratic possible for most families.
ing. And we all live in housing Party believe that a new approach If government was truly con-
that should be costing us less. must be taken, a new approach cerned about the housing problem
based on human values. Housing then it would tackle the cost ques-
The past year in British Columbia must be seen as one of the basic tion so that more people could
has shown a housing need greater needs in a modern society. afford their own homes.
than any time since the second Modest attempts have recently
The National Housing Act has
world war. At that time, after 1945, been made in British Columbia
mainly been geared to guaranteeing
because of the great need and through the Home Owner Acquisi-
the loans of mortgage companies in
public protest, government inter- tion Grant of $500.00, but the
the housing field; that is guarantee-
vened and built housing in count- grant does not come near to tackling
ing that mortgage companies will
less cities across the country. It was the larger problems related to
not lose the money they invest in
then that the National Housing Act houses and cities. The grant is an
housing, (thus eliminating any risk
was passed. But today the National attempt to subsdize home owner-
factors for those who least need
Housing Act is not enough. Today ship but the long term result will
the help of government).
the N.H.A. housing, which is a probably be to encourage higher
product of that Act, is not meeting What should be guaranteed is land costs.
the needs of people. The Act has shelter for our citizens, not risk If the basic land cost problem is
mainly produced housing for the free investments for major lending not tackled and resolved, then land
middle and upper middle income institutions. prices will continue to rise, forcing
groups in the country - and then The most important and often more people to do without the kind
mainly on a basis satisfactory to most ignored aspect of housing is of housing they need.
the private mortgage companies. the price of land in our cities. The high land costs mean that
The great increase in costs in the saving of individuals will be
The search for shelter is most the housing field cannot be attri- diverted from home building to
difficult for those in the lower buted to labor and materials. The the buying of the lot. Your savings
income groups, those on fixed in- great cost increase for housing in will be dissipated by land inflation
comes and those with families. And Canada, and in British Columbia, rather than going into the produc-
while the needs of these groups has been in the price of urban land. tive enterprise of home building.
are not being met at all, the needs
Countless people can remember The NDP believes that provid-
of the middle income groups are ing housing - good housing - for
only being met at excessive cost. when residential lots in Vancouver
and Burnaby, in the later 1940's, our citizens should be one of the
Housing simply costs too much main concerns of Government. That
today. were selling for as low as $200 or
$300 a lot. The land market how- is not to say that government should
Too often our governments have ever has become a semi-monopoly build the housing or all of the
market. This has meant that 20 housing, but rather that govern-
regarded housing simply as an
years later lots in the same districts ment should make sure that condi-
economic "pump primer." When
the economy slows down we build cost $7,000 or $8,000. A cost that tions exist where all people can be
puts housing out of reach of almost assured of adequate shelter.
housing or provide money for hous-
ing through the federal Central everybody. What We Will Do:
Mortgage and Housing Corpora- Land prices have increased from 1. The NDP would tackle the
tion. Government has not regarded 20 - 30 times in the last twenty problem of land speculation. Specu-
housing as a social need, but rather years, while wages have increased lation and land inflation have in-
o the housing crisis!
creased housing costs to a prohibi- 5. The NDP would embark on occupancy standards. The NOP
tive level. Between 1950 and 1960 an increased program of public would enact legislation w hie h
the price of building materials rose housing. In British Columbia, only would make it possible for tenants
by 24 per cent, wages in the build- one city, Vancouver, has a public to see that premises are repaired
ing trades rose by 60 per cent but housing program. The National and maintained at reasonable oc-
land prices leaped by anything Housing Act provides that Ottawa cupancy standards. While we realize
from 100 per cent to 3,760 per will pay 75 per cent of the cost and only a minority of landlords fail
cent depending on the city. The the Province pay the remaining 25 to maintain their premises we be-
consequences of land speculation per cent of the cost of public hous- lieve that in those instances where
are disastrous for everybody but the ing. This is housing that has a buildings are in very poor repair it
speculator. rental subsidy and rents are based should be possible to advise the
on ability to pay. City and if necessary the city exe-
We believe that an increased tax cute the repairs and add the cost
on the value of unimproved land to the tax bill.
would be a powerful incentive to 7. The NDP would take a new
land owners to develop or get off. approach to urban renewal. Urban
This kind of tax would also lighten renewal has only begun to get
the tax burden on homeowners that under way in British Columbia. It
pay increased taxes when they im- is financed 50 per cent - 25 per cent
prove their own property. by the Federal and Provincial Gov-
2. The NDP would establish ernments. In Vancouver the funds
"Land Banks." The best way to beat have been used mainly for clear-
speculation beyond the tax pro- ance in the older parts of the city.
posals covered above is for the Unfortunately the approach has
public to become land owners been to neglect the human factors.
through local government. We be- The people who are displaced are
lieve that cities should buy develop- rarely consulted. Those living in
ment land, particularly on the edge the poorest housing in the city are
of the city, so that it can be planned usually the aged, the unemployed
and serviced before home construc-
or deserted mothers with large
tion begins. It would also mean
families. Poor housing is generally
that land could be sold at cost so
that exorbitant profits would be aU that is available for these people.
removed. When that housing is destroyed,
3. The NDP would work for low these people have no easy alterna-
interest housing loans. The NOP tives.
does not believe that interest rates Having public housing confined The direction that might be taken
for housing should be tied to the to separate large enclaves such as should be more in the area of
cycle of the private money market. Skeena and Raymur in Vancouver rehabilitation of older buildings
The NOP would work toward creates socially segregated parts of where, if at all feasible, funds
changes in the National Legislation the city that should not be repeated should be supplied for the repair,
in order to assure low interest loans for they do not meet our standards renovation and alteration of these
for individual home buyers. of social justice. dwellings.
4. The NDP would enact a In the present emergency how- 8. Emergency shelter. The NOP
Tenants Bill of Rights. Such a bill ever public housing has a vital role would establish a fund for com-
of rights would require landlords and must be expanded and it must munities that wish to provide a
to give notice of rental increases be dispersed. stock of emergency housing for
three months in advance. It would The NOP would also work to families left without shelter by dis-
require landlords to lease at a fixed encourage the growth of co-opera- aster or economic circumstances.
rate for a period of not less than tive housing in order to help low The emergency housing stock could
a year upon the request of the income families share in the owner- become as natural a municipal func-
tenant that has shown reasonable ship of their new homes. tion as the fire and police depart-
performance. 6. The NDP would establish ments.
Education for opportunity
By EILEEN DAILLY, MLA the same grant basis as the other pense of attending institutions of
grades in our public school system. higher learning and an actual lack
Today the undereducated are the
The importance of a proper pre- of classroom space, many deserv-
unemployed and the unemployed
school environment can never be ing students are denied access to
are the poor. The children of the
underestimated in relation to a such institutions.
poor are the school dropouts and
child's future development. The New Democratic Party be-
the school dropouts are the unem-
ployed. lieves that just as public school ~du-
Public School System
The New Democratic Party be- cation has been accepted as a rIght
Of course our modern schools for all children, so too must we ac-
lieves that it is the responsibility of are a great improvement on the
government to provide .an edu~a- cept the fact that higher educati~n,
"little red schoolhouse" of the past. through universities, commulllty
tional system in our provmce which But the New Democratic Party be-
will give all our citizens ~he oppor- colleges, technological institutes and
lieves that the whole philosophy vocational schools, must be made
tunity to develop to their full po- of education, especially primary,
tential. available for all deserving students.
elementary and secondary schools
The New Democratic Party con- The New Democratic Party is
must be changed to adequately meet working toward the increase of
tends that in our province today the needs of the new technological
there are barriers to full educational both provincial and federal grants
society in which our children will
growth. What are these barriers to provide the capital and operating
and what policies ot the New funds necessary to build and .mai?-
To do this, our provincial depart- tain facilities of higher learlllng III
Democratic Party WIll eradIcate ment of education must give strong,
them? this province. An over-all policy
vigorous leadership to. school dis- must also be adopted so that no de-
Day Care Centers tricts, encourage experImental pro-
serving student is depriv~d ~he.op-
The working mother is here to grams through the provision of gov-
portunity to attend such InstitutIons
stay. Thousands of children in BC ernment funds for educational re-
because of lack of financial means.
search and providing increased
do not have proper supervi.sed daX To break down the barriers
care facilities to attend while their funds to school districts for the new
tools of learning which the new which exist today in education
mothers are working. means that education must become
The New Democratic Par t y age demands.
The New Democratic Party is one of the biggest activities in our
would step-up the involvement. of society. It must involve m 0 r e
the aovernment in the establIsh- aware of the importance of prov!d-
ing a curriculum for our selllor people, more public expenditu:e,
ment of these needed centers and more organization and more daIly
also increase government subsidies students which will not create a
barrier as a result of either too preoccupation. . .
to these centers. It is no longer pOSSible to buIld
much or too early specialization.
The time is past when we can rea- success simply on human physical
Kindergartens energy and on raw re??urces. ~t-
sonably expect to hold t~e sa.me
Kindergartens have been accept- job throughout our ",,-orkmg. lIfe. tainment of our ambitiOUS SOCial
ed as an integral part of many Increasingly, the pre1?1Um ~Ill be and economic goals will depend
school systems in Canada and other on the kind of education whICh can on how well prepared our citizens
parts of the world for years: be applied to a variety .of occupa- are both emotionally and intellect-
In the province of BrItish Co- tions. An educatIOn which teaches ually. For this we need, ~bove all,
lumbia only about one-third ~f our our young people to think for them- a highly educated and Informed
students have the opportunity to population.
attend a public school kindergarten. selves and adapt to different situa- The New Democratic Party be-
The New Democratic Party believes tions and kinds of work is essential.
lieves it is the duty of government
that kindergartens should be part to see that our educational system
of our basic school program and Higher Ed uca tion in British Columbia will produce
that they should be financed on Today, because of the great ex- such a population.