Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/4/2011 (3138 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
ORGANIZERS of a rally and protest march in support of affordable and social housing say Tuesday's downtown event was a success even though one political party failed to show up.
Clarke Brownlee, co-ordinator of the Right to Housing Coalition, said the objective was to make housing an issue in the federal election campaign, adding that having three of the four main political parties participate was important.
"We had real people talking about real problems and we were happy with the turnout," Brownlee said, adding that only the Conservatives did not send a candidate to address the rally.
The event attracted about 150 people, who marched through downtown, singing protest songs and chanting.
"Prisons are a very poor form of social housing," John Hutton, executive director of the John Howard Society of Manitoba, told the crowd who gathered at Kennedy Street and York Avenue.
Organizers chose that downtown corner — adjacent to an Armed Forces recruiting centre and across the street from the Winnipeg Remand Centre and the Law Courts building — to highlight that governments are prepared to spend billions of dollars to fight crime and on military expenditures but nothing on housing.
Hutton said a lack of affordable and safe housing is a major factor contributing to crime.
The event was part of the national Red Tent March for Housing campaign, which held similar marches in major cities across the country.
The march moved its way northward through downtown, crossing Portage Avenue, past Central Park and ended at IRCOM House, a transitional housing complex for refugees. That's where candidates from the Liberals (Anita Neville, Winnipeg South Centre), NDP (Rebecca Blaikie, Winnipeg North) and the Green party (Alon Weinberg, Kildonan-St. Paul) talked about their policies for a national housing strategy.
The Tories were invited but did not send a candidate, Brownlee said, adding they are the only major party without a national housing policy.
Brownlee said it wasn't a coincidence that the Selinger government released a statement Tuesday on the status of its goal to create 1,500 affordable housing units. The province said it was approaching 50 per cent of its five-year target two years after making the pledge.
Brownlee said only the Manitoba government is taking action on housing.
Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.