Hurrah! “They” Grant “Us” the Human Right to Shelter...
On March 27, the Ottawa government pronounced its intention to grant us, its loyal subjects, the “Right to Housing”. The proclamation leaves the impression that after the next Election, they will elevate Shelter to the sanctity status of our other rights, such as the right to not be jailed for lawful activities, the “right” to be loved by those who may not love us and the right to suppress freedom of speech society-wide lest someone, sometime, say something that may displease someone else.
The politicians’ design for this new right is a tetrapod, its four pillars being: “inclusiveness; helping those in the greatest need; accountability; and participation”. So said the Minister, the Hon Jean-Yves Duclos. They top the tetrapod with “a National Housing Watchdog” bureaucracy, with the usual court of Committees, Consultants and Tribunals. In all likelihood, the watchdog will swallow most of the Dollars allotted to the tetrapod.
I am of the strong view that in a just society the “Right to Housing” is a human right. I have advocated that since 1978, which is half a century long. And I have experienced it myself - toward the end of WWII my family became “homeless” when our home was burned to the ground in a battle for the town. And so also was the family business - all without insurance, of course, due to it being an act of war...
Putting our money where their mouth is, the Ottawa-eans are endowing the tetrapod contraption with a whopping “$40B” which makes it a monster. It means 40,000 “$Millions”, which translates to the lifelong earnings of 20,000 “average” Canadians. It could buy some 160,000 condominiums... Instead, it will “facilitate” renters being accepted by rental housing owners, which means that some other housing seeker will be without shelter, for a zero gain in housed people. I don’t understand, but that could be due to him being Minister and me being not.
Elevating something to the rank of “human right” is like making someone a saint but this has greater dimensions of significance to Earth dwellers. As such, the “canonization” of a human right is too serious a matter to leave to the politicians, for they are adept at botching things. Democracy was invented to assign such serious matters to Demos, which is Greek for “Citizenry”. Not that Democracy is infallible, but because there is no other “agent” better suited to devise solutions approaching the “optimum feasible” at any given time, in any given society.
Irrespective of how it has come to be, we are governed by Party-o-cracy, intensely marketed as a form of “democracy” but “elected tyranny” may be a more appropriate name for it. There are gradations to governance systems and being somewhere on the right or the left of the “median” makes a system neither a Dictatorship nor a Democracy.
Party-o-cracy supplants “Parties” for the Demos. But it is not always that the interests of the two coincide and it is not rare that they clash. In this instance, I fear the worse. It looks as if the tetrapod beast is a mean vote-hound for the Liberals. It may mess up society, but making it more difficult to find a reasonable solution to the housing situation we endure, arguably also “thanks” to Party-o-cracy.
Are there solutions better than the tetrapod? Make mortgages interest tax exempt; Endow at birth each Canadian with the “interest on the Mortgage for their first home; Pay a percentage (up to the whole?) of the price of the Home; Countless more ideas would pop up if we put our minds to that. (All these referring to “basic shelter”).
The right to shelter is too precious a matter to be left to Party-election populace-manipulation hackers.