Thursday, June 16, 2022

Guarantees don’t mean much with current government

“And I can guarantee you, right here today, that the small percentage of landlords who are trying to find loopholes to circumvent this system are not going to be successful.”
This was the statement from Service New Brunswick Minister Mary Wilson during question period on May 10, 2022. Fast forward just over a month and her guarantee is already void. It aged as well as the promise by Health Minister Dorothy Shephard for everyone to have a family doctor in six months only to see the list continue to grow with no end in sight.
Just three days after government passed legislation to limit rent increases and help protect tenants, it appears some landlords have found a way around the new laws.
A recent CBC story documented how residents of an apartment building in Fredericton received eviction notices as the owners are converting the units to Airbnb style short-term rentals.
From the article: an exception in the legislation that allows renters to be forced out if the building is to "be used other than as residential premises," has given space to the landlord to end their tenancy.
In other words, it appears to be a loophole, the kind the minister guaranteed wouldn’t be successful. Perhaps this could have been prevented if government had consulted with any tenants’ groups about the legislation.
Wilson stated she consulted with the NB Coalition for Tenants Rights and Acorn NB. Both groups advocate for better protection for tenants as well as economic and social justice. Professor Matthew Hayes works with the groups and stated on Twitter:
Just going to say we were not consulted at all about the legislation, and made recommendation pre-budget that were not followed.
So maybe it is less of a loophole or more of an intentional flaw in the legislation. What it comes down to is people are being harmed by the very legislation government said would protect them.
Time and again, this government has helped those in wealthier tax brackets at the expense of the working people of our province. It shouldn’t be surprising at this point, but the lack of empathy and compassion on display is still shocking.
The record to break a guarantee from a member of this government was set at six months by Shephard. Wilson set a new standard breaking her guarantee in just over a month. So, the next time you hear a guarantee from a Minister of the Blaine Higgs government, check back in a week and see if a new record has been set.