article

colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Wed Apr 11 21:26:30 CDT 2001


[ed:  Jill is responding to the "Bad Times" article link Doug posted 
yesterday.  If you missed it, it's at 
http://www.demos-usa.org/Pubs/IssueBriefs/default.asp?page=/Pubs/Callahan/BadTimes.htm 
]


From: "Jill Hanley" <jhanley at total.net>

This is a response to the "Here's the Bad Times" article passed on by Doug
Hess. Writing from Montreal, I have to say that many of us who work in the
housing rights movement here are guiltily pining for 'the bad times' that
Montreal is slowly coming out of.

For most of the '90s, Montreal lived with double-digit unemployment rates.
There was a surplus of apartments, cost of living was low. Times were tough
for many people but at least it seemed imaginable to make ends meet. I must
say that for steadily low-incomed young people with few responsibilities, it
seemed rather like paradise!

Over the decade, the provincial government has cut back welfare and barely
raised minimum wage. The federal government has made unemployment insurance
inaccessible to those who most need it and has stopped building social
housing. The end result is that those at the low end of the distribution are
worse off now that when the decade began.

Now Montreal is experiencing an economic boom but, not surprisingly, we're
not all sharing in it equally. Rents are skyrocketing and housing groups are
seeing unprecedented numbers of people facing huge rent increases,
harassment by landlords, even eviction. And we STILL have comparatively
strong tenant legal protections in place. Imagine if we didn't? Anyway, more
people are working but their added income probably doesn't really make up
for the rising costs.

So, here we are in the perverted situation of working for social justice and
equitable, sustainable community development - and wishing the recession
would come back! Sick.

Well, I guess it's time to get serious about the anti-FTAA movement that
will converge on Quebec City in two weeks time...

So-so-so, solidarité!

Jill.





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