A shameful display of arrogance by Mayor Jim Watson at the Nov 27th Council vote on a proposed “Landlord Registration Pilot Project”

A shameful display of arrogance by Mayor Jim Watson at the Nov 27th Council vote on a proposed “Landlord Registration Pilot Project”
Posted on December 7, 2019 | Ken Billings | Written on December 5, 2019
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Letter type:
Op-Ed

Publisher

Publisher:
Digileak Canada

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

Attending the voting at City Hall to cover the ACORN request for Landlord Licensing which Councillors amneded for a proposal vote to study called Landlord Registration. First of all the action was watered down by City Staff to Landlord Registration, and even that did not go for further study, let alone implimentation. I was shocked and dismayed at the nerve of the Mayor Jim Watson who preempted the vote for further study of this pilot to suggest to the council to vote No on this proposed study. The lack of empathy for tenants astounded me.    Editor: Ken Billings

Nov 27th, Ottawa City Council Chamber: Most people arrived early for the Ottawa City Council discussion and vote on housing issues starting at 10 am. Among the many corporate types that were their regarding the Air BnB, there was a solid contingent from ACORN Ottawa of at least 30 members, waiting to see if the proposed pilot project on Landlord Registration put forward by Councillor Shawn Menard, would get passed. Note: ACORN is requesting Landlord Licensing, not just registration.

After about an hour discussion on Air BnB, Council addressed the request to send to Committee for further study, the pilot proposal by Shawn Menard. The 2 year pilot study for the (originally - Sandy Hill) area would help gather evidence and stats regarding the scope of problems, the resources required, the costs involved and lessons learned. It never even had a chance to go to Committee for further study.  Mayor Watson, preempted the vote with a speech stating that the pilot project would cost $170 to $1000 per renter, putting an unfair burden on the 133,000 rental units in Ottawa. In Mayor Watson’s own words, "I don't think that's fair to penalize tenants." No justification for these stats and a very heavy handed tactic to squash the pilot project in its tracks. Do the math: $100 x 133,000 units would be $13.3 million dollars. That would garner a great deal of Bylaw officers and lawyers and that $100/yr could be split between the Landlords, City, Province and tenants. But alas there was a quick vote of 14 to 7 against the proposed Landlord Registration pilot project.

Our mayor has lost site of his mandate to help all members of the City of Ottawa, especially those in greatest need. If we ignore the problem of inadequate and affordable housing, the issue is just being kicked down the road for someone else to deal with while growing numbers of people on low incomes needlessly suffer. The actions by Mayor Watson are unseemly and troublesome to say the least.

On the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities - Dec 3rd it would of been an appropriate jesture by our Mayor and Councillors to pass this much needed Landlord licencing pilot project.

Let’s look at some success stories in other parts of the world…

Finland is the only EU country where homelessness is falling. Its secret? Giving people homes as soon as they need them – unconditionally.

When the policy was being devised just over a decade ago, the four people who came up with what is now widely known as the Housing First principle – a social scientist, a doctor, a politician and a bishop – called their report Nimi Ovessa (Your Name on the Door).

“We decided to make the housing unconditional,” says Kaakinen. “To say, look, you don’t need to solve your problems before you get a home. Instead, a home should be the secure foundation that makes it easier to solve your problems.”

More info at: 'It’s a miracle': Helsinki's radical solution to homelessness

 

In Venezuela:

Started in 2011 by President Hugo Chavez, the goal of Venezuela’s Great Housing Mission (GMVV) is to build at least five million homes by the end of 2025.

As of Jan 2, 2019 the Venezuelan Housing Mission has passed midpoint 'Milestone' with 2.5M affordable Homes.

The homes are attributed through the Carnet de la Patria, or Homeland Card, a state-regulated mechanism for accessing social programs, and the city of Lagunillas in Zulia State was the venue where the midway point of this mission, to provide homes for impoverished or disadvantaged Venezuelans, was reached.

Despite the economic difficulties brought on by sanctions imposed by the United States, the Bolivarian nation has continued the task set out by former president Hugo Chavez in 2011.

"You can always do more to improve the country, to recover. Commander Chávez set a goal of two million homes, but we went further (...) We are going to reach three million, towards the five million homes," Maduro said.

If we are to grow and mature as a City, Ottawa and all of Canada for that matter has to take care of its most vulnerable. Affordable and healthy housing is a key component to solving the rest of our challenges. It is time for our City Councillors to work towards solutions and not build roadblocks to the baby steps that proposals like a pilot project for 'Landlord Registration' and hopefully eventual 'Licensing' that was just rejected.

If we don’t become part of the solution then we are part of the problem. Help us bring hope and dignity for a better future for all. Inclusion for all starts with ‘YES WE CAN’

Ken Billings, Editor, Digileak NEWS

Voting Record:

Scott Moffatt    .............No 

Rick Chiarelli    ........ Absent 

Eli El-Chantiry   ...........No

Stephen Blais  .............No

Mathieu Fleury ............Yes 

Jan Harder  .................No

Jean Cloutier  ..............No

Mayor Jim Watson ......No

Jenna Sudds ..............No

Jeff Leiper ..................Yes

Riley Brockington .......Yes

George Darouze ........No

Matthew Luloff …….. Absent

Allan Hubley ..............No

Glen Gower ...............No

Keith Egli ...................No

Diane Deans ………...Absent

Tim Tierney ...............No

Carol Anne Meehan .No

Shawn Menard .........Yes

Laura Dudas .............No

Theresa Kavanagh ...Yes

Rawlson King ...........Yes

Catherine McKenney .Yes



 

 

About The Author

Kenskyman's picture

Editor of Digileak Canada, Executive Director of the Canadian Council on Food Safety and Health, videographer, singer, poet, gardner and avid cyclist.