This Platform Overview page is an online version of Rob’s main campaign flyer, briefly summarizing the main points of Rob’s platform.
ROB DUNCAN for Mayor of Victoria in 2018
VICTORIA’S HOUSING SOLUTION CANDIDATE with a comprehensive program of solutions for Victoria’s multifaceted housing emergency
– Citizens’ assemblies & participatory budgeting
– A municipal living wage program
– Fare-free buses & designated bus lanes during rush hour
– Promote development of walkable communities
– A moratorium on further construction of separated bike lanes until usage increases
– Advocate & support worker-owned co-ops
– A municipal affordable childcare program, beginning with working low-income
Victoria’s HOUSING CRISIS is multifaceted, & consists of 3 distinct but interrelated crises:
(1) a NONMARKET SOCIAL HOUSING crisis
(2) a RENTAL market crisis
(3) a REAL ESTATE market crisis
AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING PROGRAM OF SOLUTIONS ADRESSING ALL 3 FACES OF VICTORIA’S HOUSING SHORTAGE
The full program is summarized in more detail in the Housing In Brief section & posted in full in the Housing section on this website.
HOMELESSNESS & NONMARKET SOCIAL HOUSING –
Housing is a basic HUMAN RIGHT, & HOMELESSNESS is both a POLICY CHOICE & a human rights VIOLATION.
When Super InTent City was happening in downtown Victoria a couple of years ago, a one-day count of Victoria’s homeless population produced an estimate of 1387; a few months after that count, a judge agreed that a promise to create 326 new units of supported housing (57 % of which were in CONDEMNED BUILDINGS, & another 15 % of which were actually TENTS, in either a gym or a courtyard) was sufficient to justify an injunction closing the camp. Victoria presently needs more than a thousand units of supported housing. Homelessness still has never been seriously addressed in Victoria.
Funding from the Province is available for MOBILE MODULAR HOUSING, as well as other initiatives. Miniature houses (in clusters of 10 or 12 in selected locations) & a municipal campground.
Victoria also needs more nonmarket subsidized housing, including housing for single parent families, women & children fleeing violence, & seniors.
RENTAL MARKET –
–> Require inclusion of affordable rental units in all multi-unit residential developments, incentivize inclusion of additional rental units, by permitting additional stories (promoting increased density), by fast-tracking development applications, & with property tax reductions.
–> Encouraging & fast-tracking creation of secondary suites, & facilitation of greater density.
–> Establish a HOUSING SECURITY FUND
–> Assist with the establishment of a TENANTS’ UNION to protect the rights of tenants & enhance their ability to protect themselves from unfair landlord practices.
REAL ESTATE MARKET –
Work with the Province to make 4 changes for Victoria:
(1) Foreign Buyer’s Tax should be increased to 30% (instead of 20 %)
(2) Foreign OWNER’S Tax, partially refunded depending on income tax paid in BC
(3) Empty Homes Tax, regardless of whether the owner is a BC resident or pays income tax in BC (as stipulated in provincial Speculation Tax)
(4) Increase Property Transfer Tax on luxury homes to 10 % (instead of 5 %), & reduce the threshold for the higher rate to $2M (instead of $3M)
Encourage renting to reduce runaway demand in the real estate market & the market distortions this causes.
>> CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLIES & PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING
Monthly or quarterly assemblies to create opportunities for residents to publicly voice their perspectives, to include a diversity of points of view, to help keep local government accountable & responsive to the community, & to discuss budget priorities & policy ideas & make recommendations to Council.
…because democracy is not a spectator sport!
>> A MUNICIPAL LIVING WAGE PROGRAM
– A requirement that workers are paid the locally-calculated living wage for Victoria (currently $20.01/hr), covering all City of Victoria employees and all employees of businesses that have contracts with the City.
– Increased municipal role in the Living Wage Employers Certification program
>> FARE-FREE BUSES going into downtown during morning rush hour & going out of downtown during afternoon rush hour, coupled with designated rush-hour bus lanes & an expanded park-&-ride system.
>> Promote development of WALKABLE COMMUNITIES
… compact communities where people can walk to places like school, work, parks, restaurants & to access services, as a form of everyday transportation. On a case by case basis, consider altering/relaxing zoning for selected development proposals & business license applications that make a demonstrable contribution toward increasing walkability (especially businesses or government facilities that employ large numbers of workers locating in residential areas, & residential developments in areas with high concentrations of employers). Walkability can also be promoted through facilitation of greater density.
>> A MORATORIUM ON FURTHER CONSTRUCTION OF SEPARATED BIKE LANES UNTIL USAGE INCREASES
Many believe decisions around separated bike lanes weren’t sufficiently democratic. Data collection on usage levels (to facilitate evidence-based discussion), followed by one or more citizens’ assemblies.
>> Advocate & support WORKER-OWNED CO-OPERATIVES
Businesses that are closing or going up for sale can be taken over by their employees, to be run as worker-owned co-operatives, & the City can identify ways it can work with the provincial government & other organizations to facilitate & assist with this process. Worker-owned co-ops reduce inequality, poverty, & worker alienation, & keep profits in the local community.
>> A MUNICIPAL AFFORDABLE CHILDCARE PROGRAM, BEGINNING WITH SINGLE-PARENT LOW-INCOME WORKING FAMILIES
– Many families pay more for childcare than for any other household expense except housing.
– The shortage of childcare spaces in Victoria is severe, & market pricing puts paid childcare completely out of reach for low-income families.
– Funding from the federal Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework & the provincial government.
SOME OTHER IDEAS…
– support the call for a VALUE-FOR-MONEY AUDIT of Johnson St. Bridge project
– seek additional funding for Johnson St. Bridge from other levels of government
– creation of DOWNTOWN GREEN SPACE
– increased protection for URBAN TREES
– greater FOOD SECURITY through:
… promotion of URBAN AGRICULTURE (backyard market gardens, City-organized fruit picking, seasonal neighbourhood markets)
… mandating of FOOD SALVAGING by retailers & enhanced integration with food banks (40 % of food in Canada is not eaten but thrown out)
– RETRACTABLE NEEDLES ONLY to be provided as harm reduction supplies, to stop accidental pricking
– MORE SAFER-CONSUMPTION SITES in Victoria.
– FASTER ACCESS TO DETOX programs, & more meaningful SUPPORT AFTER DISCHARGE, including housing in an appropriate situation without delay
A PAYROLL INEQUALITY TAX – The City of Portland, Oregon recently passed a new kind of business tax surcharge, the first of its kind anywhere, on companies with a ratio of CEO-to-workers’ pay that exceeds 100 to 1. Cities don’t levy business taxes (i.e., corporate income taxes) in British Columbia, so a change will be needed in provincial legislation to make a tax of this kind possible. Proceeds to be directed toward ANTI-POVERTY PROGRAMS, such as a municipal affordable childcare program for low-income working families.
DR. ROB DUNCAN is a former academic, a child poverty activist (& more broadly, a social & environmental activist), feminist, amateur bass player/singer, birdwatcher & amateur naturalist, & lifelong socialist currently working in low-barrier supported housing.
Rob’s first PhD is in developmental psychology (Waterloo, 1999), & more recently he was working on a second PhD in political sociology at UVic (2012-2016), until he ran out of money. Rob was born & brought up on traditional Coast Salish territory in Victoria. He moved to Ontario & the Maritimes for nearly 20 years, first for grad school & then for work, & moved back to Victoria 12 years ago.
Rob organizes a local child poverty awareness campaign known as Clowns Against Child Poverty, and in 2014 he ran for Mayor of Victoria in the character of Changes the Clown to raise awareness of Victoria’s 1-in-5 child poverty rate, on a two-plank platform of affordable childcare and a living wage.
Rob lives with his cat Winston (who would really prefer just to be left out of this whole thing) in a small apartment in a big old house in Fernwood.
“Unarmed truth and unapologetic love.” – Dr. Cornel West
No glossy flyers, no slick signs, no fancy ads…
JUST IDEAS, PLANS & SOLUTIONS IN PLAIN OLD BLACK & WHITE
LET’S GET THE BIG MONEY OUT OF POLITICS