Your humble organ has reported at length on provincial Housing Minister Rich Coleman's apparent plan to shift focus from funding social housing to handing out rent supplements. So it was not surprising that, in yesterday's Speech from the Throne, the Campbell administration promised it would be introducing "a ground-breaking new housing strategy aimed at helping those most in need, more quickly and effectively. The new housing program will give individuals greater choice and new felxibility. It will transform housing options to help people positively transform their lives." In a scrum following the delivering of that speech, Premier Gordon Campbell refused to elaborate on that plan, saying "You'll hear about all the housing strategy once it's released by Minister Coleman." When it was pointed out the minister had already discussed elements of that strategy with industry interests (at the Canadian Home Builders' Association of British Columbia's annual crystal ball session), the premier replied "There's lots of discussions that are taking place as we build that. And he'll let you know what he's going to announce when he announces it." Of course, those discussions have yet to take place with social housing advocates.
February 15, 2006