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Archive for July, 2013

I’D LOVE REGINA MORE IF…

Posted by strattof on July 5, 2013

This Saturday, July 6, is I Love Regina Day. First observed in 2002, I Love Regina Day is an occasion for celebrating our city and its achievements.

It is also a good time to think about the changes we need to bring about in our city to make life better for all Regina citizens.

Regina’s economy is booming. A booming economy sounds like a very good thing until we ask the question: Boom for whom?

While many Regina citizens are experiencing unprecedented prosperity, others are facing unparalleled misery because of the lack of affordable housing.

H O M E L E S S   I N   R E G I N A

5   K E Y   F A C T S

1. In 2010, the last year for which figures are available, over 3,400 people used Regina’s shelter services.

2.  Today, the city’s shelters are filled to capacity.

3.  The average monthly rent for a two bedroom apartment in Regina is $1,001, hardly affordable for many working Reginans. Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation defines “affordable housing” as costing a household 30% or less of its before-tax income.

4.  A full-time minimum wage worker, earning $1736 per month, cannot even afford a one bedroom apartment (average monthly rent of $857). 

5. Recently, tenants of a Cathedral area apartment block received notice that their rent was going up 77%. A public outcry forced the landlord to reconsider.

WHAT IS CITY COUNCIL DOING TO ADDRESS REGINA’S AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING CRISIS?

The short answer to this question is ALMOST NOTHING!

  • For years, Regina City Council claimed housing does not come under the jurisdiction of cities. Now Mayor Michael Fougere is saying “Homelessness is not a municipal responsibility.” That’s a direct quote.    
  • The City’s new housing plan uses a “made in Regina” definition of affordable rental housing as “housing with rents at or below average market rent.” As everyone knows, market rent housing is not affordable for many Regina citizens.
  • The City’s new housing plan calls for the City to offer developers of market rental housing a capital incentive of $15,000 per unit. In other words, the City is shifting millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money into the pockets of developers who will not be building any truly affordable rental units.

SOLVING REGINA’S HOMELESSNESS CRISIS

The City of Regina cannot solve all Regina’s housing problems. There are, however, a number of measures the City can take which will go some way towards addressing our city’s homelessness crisis.

The City of Regina can:

  • Start seeing homelessness as a municipal responsibility which requires concrete action – as have other cities, including Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Saskatoon.
  • Apply the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s definition of affordability to rental housing: “The cost of adequate shelter should not exceed 30% of household income.”
  • Require developers who receive the $15,000 per unit capital incentive to rent 10% of the units at the truly affordable rate of $500 per month.
  • Require all developers to include truly affordable housing in their plans or pay a fee into an affordable housing account.
  • Invest all revenue derived from the development or sale of City-owned land in social housing when the rental vacancy rate is below 3%.
  • Deny applications for condo conversions when the rental vacancy rate is below 3%.
  • Deny applications for rental property demolition permits when the vacancy rate is below 3%.
  • Introduce rental unit licensing.
  • Seize property that does not comply with City codes, as well as abandoned and boarded-up houses. Repair seized units and convert them to social housing.
  • Pressure the provincial government to pass rent control legislation.
  • Adopt a Housing First policy and ask the provincial government to support it – as Calgary and Edmonton have done in Alberta.

If the City of Regina can build a “social stadium” – a stadium built with public money – it can also build social housing.

I’D LOVE REGINA MORE

Join the I’d Love Regina More campaign. Let Mayor Michael Fougere and your City Councillor know you would love Regina more if the City would take concrete measures to address the city’s homelessness crisis.

Mayor Michael Fougere  777-7339 or mayor@regina.ca  

Ward 1: Barbara Young  539-4081 or byoung@regina.ca

Ward 2: Bob Hawkins  789-2888 or bhawkins@regina.ca

Ward 3: Shawn Fraser  551-5030 or sfraser@regina.ca

Ward 4: Bryon Burnett  737-3347 or bburnett@regina.ca

Ward 5: John Findura  536-4250 or jfindura@regina.ca

Ward 6: Wade Murray  596-1035 or wmurray@regina.ca

Ward 7: Sharron Bryce  949-5025 or sbryce@regina.ca

Ward 8: Mike O’Donnell 545-7300 or modonnell@regina.ca

Ward 9: Terry Hincks 949-9690 or thincks@regina.ca

Ward 10:Jerry Flegel 537-9888 or jflegel@regina.ca

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CANADA DAY QUIZ

Posted by strattof on July 1, 2013

(Answers at end)

1. How many people signed the KEEP REGINA WATER PUBLIC petition?

a) over 4,000              b) over 14,000             c) over 24,000

 2. Give 3 reasons why a P3 wastewater plant is a bad idea. 

3. What historically important event took place in Regina on July 1 1935?

4. Children who attend school on reserves receive 30% less funding for education than other Canadian children.

True or False

5. What is the poverty rate for First Nations children in Canada?

a) 30%                       b) 40%                         c) 50%

6. Canada’s rich are getting richer.  

True or False

7. How many people are homeless in Regina?  

a) 300             b) 1,500                       c) 3,000

8. On the 2013 Climate Change Performance Index, Canada ranks

a) 6th out of 61                 b) 26th out of 61          c) 56th out of 61

9. The federal government provides an annual subsidy of approximately $1 billion to the tar sands industry.

True or False

10. Which of the following statements are true?

a) On average, 3 workers per day lose their lives to workplace accidents in Canada.   

b) The unemployment rate for First Nations people is roughly double the rate for non-Indigenous people.  

c) Saskatchewan’s minimum wage is the 2nd lowest in Canada.

d) All of the above.

11. Match each quotation with its author:

a) Be the change you want to see in the world.

b) You can bomb the world to pieces but you can’t bomb the world to peace.

c) War cannot be humanized; it can only be abolished.

d) When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.

e) Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.

Albert Einstein             Michael Franti           Jimi Hendrix

Martin Luther King     Mahatma Gandhi     

12. How do you stop strips of Canadian bacon from curling in the frying pan?

QUIZ ANSWERS

1. c): 24,232 people signed the petition. That’s more than enough to force a vote on the future of Regina’s water system.

2. a) The P3 deal will put Regina’s wastewater treatment plant in the hands of a private corporation for the next 30 years. Water is not a commodity. It is an essential human need. It must always be in public hands. b) The P3 deal will cost Regina taxpayers more than if the City of Regina were to retain control of the facility. c) The P3 deal will result in a reduction of service quality. Private companies minimize cost in order to maximize profit.

3. The Regina Riot: The riot began when the Regina police and the RCMP charged a crowd made up mainly of Regina citizens who had come out to show their support for the On-To-Ottawa Trekkers, unemployed single men who had ridden box cars from Vancouver, determined to take their demand for real work and fair wages to Ottawa. Charles Millar, an undercover policeman was killed in the riot, and Nick Schaack, a Trekker, died later in hospital from head injuries. The police denied any Trekkers had been killed.

4. True: In 1996, the federal government imposed a 2% growth cap on all Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development funding. The cap has had a particularly harmful effect on education programs.

5. c): The average child poverty rate for First Nations children in Canada is 50%, compared to 12% for all other children.  

6. True: Since 1980, the wealthiest 10% of Canadians have seen their average income rise 34%, while the bottom 10% have seen their earnings rise just 11%.  

7. c): In 2010, the last year for which figures are available, over 3,400 people used Regina’s shelter services.

8. c) Canada is one of the top ten CO2 emitters in the world.

9. True: Tar sands development is the single biggest contributor to the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. 

10. d) All of the above.

11. a) Mahatma Gandhi  b) Michael Franti  c) Albert Einstein  d) Jimi Hendrix  e) Martin Luther King

12. Take away their tiny brooms.

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