Letter: affordable housing blues

Editor, the Gauntlet,

I could not stomach more than 20 minutes of the Sept. 29. Students’ Union housing forum which invited the provincial housing minister, opposition housing critic, an alderman, university and student representatives. The Conservative government minister admitted their ignorance by saying that they are studying the issue and will have the results of their study next year, completely ignoring the fact that they have been ignoring this issue for four decades and need to step aside and allow a party that already knows what they are doing to get on with the needed work. The Liberal critic was more irrelevant than critical. The University Housing Representative was gleefully bragging about the few dozen beds that will be added next year, while the SU president confidently presented an extremely weak and pathetic proposal that 15 per cent of University of Calgary students should be housed on campus. Even Global TV was getting bored and ready to leave.

Questions for the “out to lunch” University management: Why are they so excited about the pathetically few units they are building for students? Why are they too cowardly or ignorant to demand their Conservative government masters build the tens of thousands of housing units the University of Calgary so desperately needs for students and staff? Why are all the student residences built on the most inaccessible side of the campus and why aren’t they built on the LRT side?

Questions for the city and provincial reps: Why did they privatize thousands of public housing units in the last three decades, converting them into condos and high rent housing? Why do they need to study the problem now?

Questions for the pathetic Student’s Union: Why aren’t they asking for enough housing to house 85 per cent of students? Why didn’t they invite the NDP to send their critic and maybe the Greens and other parties to send representatives to share their ideas or were they afraid of turning this into an intelligent and productive discussion?

Questions for students: Why aren’t you complaining more? Do you come to university to be herded and fleeced like mindless sheep?