Affordable Housing

Everyone needs a place to live.

We hear about real estate markets all the time. While the possibility of a bubble in the housing market (such as the one that set off a chain reaction that tanked the global economy in 2008) is a real concern, that’s not the biggest concern of affordable housing advocates.

We often hear about how people who grew up in Toronto are not able to afford to continue to live there, either because they cannot afford to own or because they cannot find affordable or available rental units. This happens outside of Toronto too: it’s just as true here in Brighton, and towns and cities of every size in between. This is a sustainability issue, and speaks to the quality of life of our communities. If we want to have healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities, access to affordable housing is crucial. Communities with mixed-income, mixed-use developments (i.e., neighbourhoods that have rich and poor people, residential and commercial space) are healthier, more accessible, and more sustainable; the alternative is ghettos, gated communities, and inevitably, gentrification.

But affordable housing isn’t just about the quality and sustainability of our communities. For the poor, housing is a critical issue of personal safety and opportunity. A person cannot get a job, much less maintain a career, without a fixed address. A person cannot enjoy physical and mental health without the security of a clean and safe place to sleep. We know that housing is a critical ingredient in virtually every measure of human success, and that ensuring secure housing improves a person’s life in every way. That not only helps that individual, it also helps our entire society. Affordable housing creates healthier communities, but it also lowers the amount that society spends on emergency services. We are all better off in every way when everyone has a place to live.

The Green Approach

Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, was in Cobourg for my nomination meeting in February. While he was here he gave a great interview about affordable housing with housing advocate Kristina Nairn on Drive Time with Dave Glover on Northumberland 89.7 FM. Here’s what he had to say:

GPO Mike Schreiner

My View

As a REALTOR®, I spend a lot of time thinking about housing. I know that some people in my industry want to ride the wave of high real estate prices to successful careers for themselves. There has been opposition from many in the real estate market to any government programs that make it more difficult for people to buy and sell homes, even if those measures prevent a market bubble, improve the quality of our communities, or help ensure that everyone has a home.

I don’t believe that a healthy real estate market is one that leaves people behind, and I know that the choice between a healthy market and affordable housing is a false one. As your MPP I will advocate for programs that build community rather than just houses; regulations that promote sustainable markets rather than just trying to restrain bubbles; and municipal growth that is deliberate and thoroughly planned, so that everyone has a place in our communities. Where we live affects how we live, and having a home is one big difference between surviving and living.

Your Green Candidate,

Jeff Wheeldon

Your Green Party of Ontario Candidate: Jeff Wheeldon

Jeff Wheeldon

Green Party Northumberland – Peterborough South Chooses Jeff Wheeldon as 2018 Candidate

The Green Party of Ontario’s Northumberland – Peterborough South Constituency Association is pleased to present Jeff Wheeldon as their 2018 provincial election candidate. Wheeldon was acclaimed on Tuesday night at the Cobourg Community Centre by members of the Constituency Association, after an inspiring speech by Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner. Wheeldon also gave a speech, followed by the unanimous vote in support of his candidacy, before Schreiner and Wheeldon closed the evening with a Q&A session with the audience. The event was covered by local media, including the Cobourg News Blog.

Jeff Wheeldon’s speech:

Thank you all! It is an honour to represent the Green Party of Ontario in the 2018 provincial election.

I don’t need to tell you that the Green Party has a thorough, comprehensive platform rooted in core values that speak to people from across the political spectrum; if you’re here tonight you’re either a member or you’ve probably come with one, and I know they’d be happy to talk out the platform over coffee. And I don’t need to tell you that we have a leader who is highly intelligent and the hardest-working person in Ontario politics; you’ve just heard him speak. But I do want to take a few minutes to tell you a bit more about myself and why I’ve put myself forward as a Green candidate.

I’m running to represent the people of Northumberland – Peterborough South for reasons so deep in my heart and soul that you might say I couldn’t not run.

I don’t claim to have the answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, but I believe that my purpose in life boils down to serving others, and it was for that purpose that I was trained for ministry and leadership in my undergraduate degree. But the more I learned about serving others, the more I realized that there are systemic issues that we must face together, so I expanded my concept of ministry from personal issues and spiritual guidance to structural issues and social ethics in my graduate studies. The more I looked to heaven, the more I was directed back to earth, to my neighbours and the institutions that govern how we relate to each other.

Looking at our systems of government, I am struck by two powerful convictions: first, that government must always be an “us” and never a “them”, the result of us coming together to achieve things we could never achieve on our own rather than some outside force that we are beholden to; and second, that the way our political institutions behave now is NOT the way that they were designed to behave, and so they are no longer capable of fulfilling their purpose. Simply put, our government should be a tool to advance our civilization, but right now it is barely capable of being civil. A key reason I am Green is because we are willing to work across party lines, we pledge to uphold the dignity of our province and parliament, and we keep the good of our constituents ahead of party politics. There are two phrases that I love that I think sum up our approach to politics: the first is that “There is no limit to what can be accomplished if we don’t care who gets the credit”, and the second is “Be the change you want to see in the world.” As a Green candidate, I want to be the best MPP in the house – not only for the sake of my constituents, but also for the sake of creating an island of nonpartisan politics at Queen’s Park. I’m here to serve you, to get the work done, and I’m happy to work together with others to get it done.

I love this riding. It is full of character, beauty, culture, innovation, community. I am not originally from here, but my family and I chose to settle down here. This is my home by choice, and I am committed to our communities. I am invested here: my wife and I have small businesses here, we are raising our two children here, and even my parents have moved here from across the country. I want to see this region, this province, and this country thrive, today and forever.

We face tremendous challenges right now: the world is changing, like it or not, and I strongly believe that how we prepare for change now will determine the quality of life our children will have. In many ways, “prepare” is the wrong word: we have already fallen behind the pace of change, and many of our social institutions are still based on ideas from the nineteenth century. Communism has collapsed or faded away, and while there are some powerful ideas and tools in socialist paradigms, so much of the NDP outlook is still rooted in concepts of class and labour and production that seem downright quaint in today’s increasingly automated and digital economy; raising the minimum wage and increasing social programs, without a new paradigm for our new world, will not solve our problems.

At the same time, neo-liberal capitalism cannot be smug: it is on the brink of collapsing under its own weight, with growing inequality, massive internet monopolies, unsustainable production of throw-away products, and virtual dependence on both private and public debt to achieve the illusion of wealth we enjoy today. The Liberals too often answer this crisis by repeating the word “innovation” and throwing money at startup companies, and creating more social programs to support the people left behind by our economy; the conservative approach is to cut taxes and regulations and pretend that nobody does get left behind. This is not the 1980’s; our conversation needs to get bigger than these tired ideological disputes of yesteryear, to take innovative policy ideas seriously and start to think about what Ontario will look like in an automated world that is two degrees warmer. We need to learn from the past, but plan for the future. The Green Party is doing that, and we’re taking those ideas to Queen’s Park to lay the foundation for that future.

We face economic and ecological crises, but these also present us with opportunities. I believe that we have everything we need to not only survive in an automated and warming world, but to thrive in it. We already have the technology, the resources, and the knowledge we need to prosper, to move beyond the endless crisis mentality we now live in toward a brighter and cleaner future. What we lack is the courage, the political will, to take concrete steps out of the status quo. The question that I pose to you tonight, and to the people of Northumberland – Peterborough South come June 7th, is: are you willing to commit to a better future?

To you tonight, I will ask more concretely: are you willing to commit to volunteering, donating, coming to events, talking to your friends and family, writing letters to the editor, putting a sign on your lawn, waving signs on street corners, engaging on social media (politely), collecting signatures, promoting our platform, driving people to the polls on election day, or anything else you can do to help us make that future? Nobody has to do everything, but we can’t do this alone. Please talk to Minnie afterward about any donations, and to Patricia about how to volunteer. Anything worth doing is worth doing together, so please join our team however you are able!

Thank you for the trust you’ve placed in me; I will work hard to earn that trust, and to serve the people of Northumberland – Peterborough South.

To hear Jeff speak, watch this website for upcoming events in your area. To invite Jeff to your event, contact us.

Nomination Meeting

GPO-NPS-logo

Press Release

Green Party of Ontario

Northumberland-Peterborough South

Constituency Association

Northumberland-Peterborough South Greens are getting ready to nominate a candidate for the Ontario election June 7, 2018.

A Nomination Meeting will be held Tuesday, February 20, 2018 in the Spoolon Room of the Cobourg Community Centre. All those who plan to attend are asked to contact Patricia Sinnott at info@greenpartynps.ca

Green Party of Ontario (GPO) leader Mike Schreiner will be our special guest. The evening begins with an opening reception at 6:30 pm; the Nomination Meeting will follow at 7:30 pm. Notice has been sent to current GPO members but new members are always welcome.

Momentum is building for the GPO to bring a new voice to Queen’s Park, just as we’ve seen Green Party members taking their place in other provincial legislatures across Canada. Three Greens hold the balance of responsibility in the British Columbia legislature. In New Brunswick, Green leader David Coon continues the fight against fracking, and most recently, voters in Prince Edward Island elected their second Green Member of the Legislative Assembly.

In order to vote at the Nomination Meeting, you must become a member before Feb. 6, 2018. Go to http://gpo.ca and pay the membership fee by making a minimum $10 donation or call 1-888-647-3366.

Nomination contestant Jeff Wheeldon will join us February 20th but others are welcome to apply. If you would like to be a candidate, you must join and apply before February 6, 2018; please send an email to nominations@gpo.ca or call the phone number above.

The Cobourg Community Centre is located at 750 D’Arcy Street, Cobourg.