NDP conference highlights N.S. housing and health care concerns
HALIFAX -- New Democrats gathered in Halifax on Saturday for the party's biennial convention.
While there hasn't been an election call, Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill isn't waiting for the writ to drop. He told party faithful about the solutions an NDP government might have for some of the problems plaguing the province, including health care.
"If anyone goes door-to-door today in Nova Scotia and asks people in any community what issues will identify, I guarantee you that they will hear more about difficult experiences in the health care system than they will hear about anything else – regardless of where they are," said Burrill.
Affordable housing, rent control and regulation of short-term rentals were other hot button issues at the convention, with Burrill pointing to the low vacancy rate across Nova Scotia.
"It's one-point-four per cent across the province, but in HRM, it's only one per cent," said Burrill.
"When we try to think about what does that mean, well, that's lower than what they have today in Toronto, that's lower than what they have in Vancouver. That's why we're hearing about people getting these astronomical, sudden increases in their rent because when there's no market availability, there's this enormous upward pressure on rents and that's why we need to have rent control."
The convention also heard from Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who told the crowd he spent the day talking to people in Halifax about the housing crunch.
"It's become a really,really crisis point when the vacancy rates are so low, particularly here in Halifax. You can't find a rental, buying is just out of the question for a lot of people," said Singh.
"What we're seeing is the result of a lot of inaction. When previous federal governments completely abandoned investing in housing for so long, it's part of the reason why we're in this position – so we need to see more investments."
The convention continues Sunday.