Brian Chang in Toronto Centre: ‘Our city needs affordable housing, it’s urgent’.

NDP candidate
Brian Chang campaigning in the 2019 Federal Election

Despite the intense pre-election campaign going on in the Toronto Centre riding, Brian Chang still visited the Regent Park this Friday morning to greet potential voters. 

They need “someone who is ready to bring people to the table and engage in these tough conversations,” Chang said.

His campaign for the NDP has captured a spotlight in Toronto Centre for the upcoming 2019 federal election, as he is coming off a high profile political job as the former operations director for NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. Chang is dedicated to focusing on issues in the riding, such as affordable housing, workers’ right and pharmacare, to name a few.

When asked why Chang decided to become a candidate, his answer was short but sharp.

“Representation matters,” Chang said in an email interview. 

He was tired of waiting for representation while seeing his friends suffering from the housing crisis in Toronto. 

“It is time for bold action to tackle the housing crisis here in Toronto Centre, and to have a representative in Ottawa that understands the needs of everyday people living in our riding,”  Chang said. 

Given that the Greater Toronto Area’s home prices and rent have been on the rise over the past few years, the demand for affordable housing is high. If elected, the NDP is committed to develop 250,000 affordable housing units within the next five years.

Michelle Mawhinney, 55, a politics professor at York University, thinks that Toronto’s housing is not affordable, neither for the future generations, nor for seniors unless they owned a house already. Mawhinney has been living in Cabbagetown for about 20 years.

“The problem is that the politicians tend to focus on building more units, and the real issue is a lack of regulation. If you put in some regulations, then you’d stop the people who are profiteering and speculating on housing,” she said Friday in front of her house on Spruce Street.

In Toronto’s downtown east side, housing is only one of the challenges. The residents have complained about the opioid crisis around the area. Chang said that the NDP’s proposed universal health care plan will provide accessible addictions care for all.

“I am committed to being an engaged federal representative, that will work with representatives from all levels of government and community members to ensure that Toronto Centre has the services that it needs,” Chang added.

Meanwhile, David Reycraft, from the Dixon Hall Neighborhood Services, thinks that affordable housing would help the vulnerable in the society.

“It’s important to support people in housing who are active drug users, so that they can move beyond their addiction,” Reycraft said.

Reycraft is the director of housing services. In a phone interview, Reycraft said that he is responsible for the operation of emergency homeless services and his department works with people who are marginalized or are living on a fixed income but have no access to an affordable house. His department also provides immediate housing to people who are at risk of losing their home. 

He emphasized that government has to legislate the creation and construction of affordable housing, and developers need to think about the affordability as they are building the houses. 

About this article

Posted: Oct 20 2019 9:06 pm
Filed under: News