Tim Louis prefers empty promises

Tim Louis has his facts wrong on the accomplishments made by the current City Council on social housing.

Yesterday, former COPE Councillor Tim Louis wrote an op-ed on City Caucus claiming that the Vision Vancouver led Council has been responsible for no new social housing.

But here are the real facts that Tim failed to mention:

Under the NPA, the city signed a 2007 Memorandum of Understanding with the Province to open 14 sites of social housing.

At the time it was hailed as a landmark agreement, and on paper, it absolutely was.  It was very positive.

Except for one thing…there was absolutely no money attached to the commitment.

Fast forward to 2008, and no construction had started.  Why?  Because as Mayor, Sam Sullivan was unable to secure anything but lip service, and as a result, no provincial money had been set aside.  The social housing sites sat empty.

It wasn’t until March of 2009 that Gregor and Vision got the BC Liberals committed to funding the first six social housing sites in Vancouver, and subsequently in April of 2010, they committed funding to the rest, for a total of $333 million in new money.

MOU’s are great.  They signal inter-governmental cooperation – well, on paper at least.  Just take a look at the Evergreen Line MOU, which sat idle for many years without any commitments for tangible money, and you will see that the road to hell is always paved with the best of intentions.

It takes political will, negotiating, and a strong working relationship to make things actually take shape – something that Sam and his Chief of Staff Daniel Fontaine never seemed to grasp.  Truth be told, there are many within the Vision caucus that were open to a Rich Coleman leadership run because of all the progress he has been able to make with the City of Vancouver on social housing during this Vision Vancouver term.

So Tim Louis’ spin on no new social housing under Gregor Robertson is a sly trick and some great politics, but it really doesn’t reflect the reality of what has actually happened over the past two years in contrast to the previous three to Vision coming to power.

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