Statement on Housing Crisis and Police Response to the Removal of Shelters

What took place this week in Halifax has made it more clear than ever that we have an urgent housing problem to solve.  What happened this week made me sick to my stomach.

The lack of homes for vulnerable residents is the result of years of neglect from previous Provincial governments. For the last nine years, I’ve been working on this and lobbying the Province to do more.

I continue to believe that the municipality should take back housing from the Province, assuming the funding comes with it.

It has been depressing and frustrating to watch the situation between protestors and police. None of us wanted to see events unfold the way they did this week. I don’t want anyone to be hurt or suffer and I appeal for calm.

I have heard the concerns about the policing approach and some officer’s lack of name tags and wearing thin blue line badges.  This is unacceptable and this will be reviewed by the appropriate bodies, the Board of Police Commissioners, (edit) NS Police Commission, and possibly SiRT.

I do however feel that tents and temporary shelters in parks are not the answer and better options are now available from the Province.

HRM’s decision to do this was built on the Province’s commitment to providing both immediate, temporary accommodations (hotel) and long-term stable housing. I understand that this may not have been made available to all of the people involved yesterday, and I will work to connect them with provincial housing support workers to ensure they can access housing options as was intended.