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Jagmeet's Housing Horrorshow
More Dipper Unseriousness
This past weekend saw F1 in Vegas, and it was a weekend that got off to about as good of a start as possible – massive delays and a team getting screwed. It also ended up being the race of the year. As a spectacle, Vegas is a shambles for F1 – bad press, class action lawsuits, a lot of annoyed people – but as a race, it was spectacular.
I’m thinking of this now, because of the inability of some to get over the artifice and the exterior when it comes to Vegas, because it’s how I think of the defenders of Jagmeet Singh. Yes, Singh is this superficially fine leader – he’s nice and personable in private, he says he cares about things, but it’s all an artifice. Strip all the glitz and the shit away, he’s a failure. And he confirmed it this weekend.
On Friday, it was reported that the NDP will pass the Liberal government’s bill to take the GST off new rental housing, before Singh put up two videos this weekend attacking the Liberals for not building affordable housing and only building luxury condos. He is explicitly making the argument that the Liberals and the Conservatives are as bad as each other, while voting for the Liberal policy agenda. He is lying to everyone, while trafficking in failed ideological thinking that has failed to stop a housing crisis many times.
And we all need to accept that he is the poison I’ve been saying he is for two fucking years.
Let’s first dispense with the substantive critique he’s making – yes, building more “luxury condos” does help reduce housing costs, whatever his nonsense says. If we planted 100000 units of “luxury condos” in Toronto tomorrow, and a bunch of rich people filled every single one of those units, guess what? We’ve now got all those units they used to live in available, which would substantially lower costs!
Despite the NDP leader’s refusal to understand basic supply and demand, it is the case that building more will help. Is it a solution unto itself? No, we need public housing and purpose built rental and more fourplexes in residential neighbourhoods and everything that leading housing advocates are calling for, but opposing any development at a time when we need as much new building as humanly possible is a complete show of incompetence and idiocy.
There needs to be a strengthening of the regulatory framework around multiple property owners, short term rentals, and minimum conditions (especially given the stories we’ve heard of how students are being treated), and there’s also a conversation which Jagmeet wants to avoid which is that the high level of immigration we’re seeing is raising prices. But he’s either too lazy or too stupid to engage with what it means that the only ways out of this crisis in the short term are either developers making money or severely curbing immigration, so he’s engaging in fantasy thinking.
The appeal of his brand of thinking is simple – he’ll never have to be in power, so the details don’t matter. But his plan would be actually insane. To build the amount you’d need to build – CMHC says 5.8M over a decade – as public housing would be a bill in the trillions of dollars. If you’re opposed to developers building condos, you also better be opposed to sprawl, so what’s his solution, exactly? It doesn’t exist because he’s an unserious person.
Singh has as much chance to build a NDP legacy as any of his predecessors as federal leader have, or at least since Douglas. He could, if he wanted to, use the leader’s office as a vehicle for left wing thought and advancing causes that could make this country immeasurably better off. Clearly there’s people willing to help write ambitious housing policy for third party candidates – all four Ontario Liberal leadership candidates have strong platforms. (You can take or leave whether Bonnie believes in it or not/would implement it or not – I certainly don’t – but on paper it’s undeniably quite good.) But the NDP engage in fantasy thinking.
If the NDP wants to have the balls to stand for a complete reorganization of the Canadian economy, they should do so. They should call for a national builder with a mandate to build and sell at a loss to lower and middle class Canadians, while also guaranteeing the loans taken to pay for it from the banks. Or they can admit that the logical end of their attack on letting developers build is for the government to own large swathes of property and never sell them, acting as both builder and landlord. Or they can admit they didn’t think any of this through because they’re led by a chucklefuck.
To defend any of this would be to defend the idea that political parties don’t really think through their claims, which would be hard to make. It would be especially hard to make when so much of the argument against the Conservatives is that they have nice sounding ideas that would actually be a disaster if implemented.
None of this is actually policy – because the NDP doesn’t exist as anything other than a vanity exercise for a man whose daftness is his entire persona now. They have abandoned social democracy for protecting the vanity of someone who claims to be for the people but is only for his pension. In any other profession, a moron who was overpromoted being elevated too quickly would be pushed out after not just one but two failures, but the values of his failure now infects the entire party.
The NDP has given up in a fundamental way on seriousness, and on being worth their existence. It’s a sad state of affairs for a party that has served this country well at times, but they have decided that fealty to a man is better than fealty to any form of ideas or values. The NDP has waited so long to decide what path they should take, faced with the inevitable choice between their social politics and their social democratic economics, that they now are becoming a party for no one.
You can quote me a poll today showing they’re at 20% all you want, and you can even believe it, if you’re desperate enough to. The public have made their minds up about Jagmeet, and whatever gains they’ve made amongst 2021 Liberals will be undone by the brutal reality of First Past The Post as it is every fucking election. Celebrate now, I guess, if only because it won’t continue.
Right now we have evidence of what smart, left wing politics can look like, and it makes Jagmeet’s insipid nonsense more clear. We have BC New Democrats showing how an all of the above housing strategy is correct, we have Ontario New Democrats positioning themselves to a winnable position at the expense of crank lunatics, and we have an NDP Government in Manitoba that showed how to campaign – and more importantly, win – in tough terrain.
Jagmeet is a federal leader unworthy of his predecessors leading a federal party unworthy to share a name with parties that actually care about helping people. His asinine housing shift this weekend just proves how fundamentally useless he is.