by Tom Kerr
Toronto Star, June 21, 1990, page A7
Toronto Councillor Jack Layton should not move from his $800-a-month subsidized apartment even if he and his wife do earn $120,000 a year, a housing coalition says.
This issue is not people with high imcomes living in co-ops, but the failure of the federal and provincial governments to provide enough affordable housing, Penny McCabe of the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations said at a city hall news conference yesterday.
Layton and his wife Olivia Chow, a public school trustee legally qualify to live in the Hazelburn Co-op on Jarvis St. and are guaranteed security of tenure under the federal government's co-op scheme, said Scott Barry of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. provided the 75-unit Hazelburn Co-op with a 2 per cent mortgage, which costs the taxpayers $405,000 a year. The Laytons want to remain in the co-op and say they recently began paying an extra $325 a month to the co-op to offset the CMHC subsidy on the unit.
"It is wrong and cruel to blame or to suggest they (the Laytons and other members of the NDP who live in co-ops) have somehow betrayed people who are homeless or underhoused Barry said.
"Ottawa snd Queen's Park should get on with the proper funding of affordable housing."
Michael Shapcott of the Bread Not Circuses Coalition, said evicting Layton and Chow would not do anything for the poor and homeless in the city.
He and others blamed the media for attempting to "shift the blame" for the current housing crisis from the federal and provincial governments to Layton and other politicians and activists who support non-profit and co-op housing.
In a statement released earlier this week, Layton said his residence in the co-op "may seem curious".
But he said, "I support bringing these issues directly to city council and its committees and will participate fully in those discussions to defend the concept of co-op living."
August 10, 2011
Some people might not like us putting this up right now because of Layton's cancer. That is how we found this; it was overlooked for awhile.
But the issue is not Jack and Olivia so much as it is FMTA and Shapcott. The beef about the Laytons living in subsidized housing started with the Toronto Sun newspaper in 1990; not the most objective source of information. Note that the article above is from the Toronto Star, which tends to support center left politicians like the Laytons.
But there is a good point here. Until everyone can enjoy a housing subsidy, they must go to those who need them more. A problem with any form of government spending on housing is that people with connections tend to grab them, rather than those they were intended for, or who need them more.
It does not look just curious, it looks bad. But I think the Layton's eventually got the message and moved to private housing.
Shapcott never gets any moral message. He later became a director of the Housing Cooperative organization in Toronto. It is hard to say how much he is responsible for turning into the sewer of opportunistic phony left corruption it is now.
Some NDP type seems to get to be director of most of these coops. Things happen like people being forced out of their homes for refusing to volunteer for NDP election campaigns. The problem of those with pull rather than those with need getting into cops, has got a lot worse since the Laytons were living at 75 Hazelburn.
Housing cooperatives are not a bad idea in themselves, but they have to be done right.
Now, as for the FMTA, what business is this of theirs? They are supposed to be advocating for tenants. Housing coop members are not tenants. Of course, some housing coops have people living in them who are not members, and are therefore tenants. I know some cases where such people have been treated as bad by the coop boards as any slum land lord.
But I digress.
FMTA at that time was still funded partly by tenant donations but was already getting plenty of government money. I think, mostly from the province at the time. It was a conflict of interest, and completely out of line. But worse, Layton was a city councillor at the time and an important protector of FMTA.
So this tendency of FMTA which has been explored much more thoroughly elsewhere in these web pages, is not something recent. FMTA is an NDP project and line everything else in NDP Fabian socialist land is about protecting its power and its cadres, creating safe jobs and housing for them.
Toronto Tenants Associations info
Go back to the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations Story