Published on May 25th, 2021 by Paul Manly, MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, BC
The federal riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith falls within the traditional territories of the Snaw-Naw-As, Snuneymuxw, Stz’uminus and Lyackson First Nations. These nations have small land bases. On-reserve housing is over-crowded and many community members are unable to live on-reserve. Successive federal governments have failed to provide funding to address the need for more on-reserve housing. The Nanaimo-Ladysmith area has a significant urban Indigenous population, which also includes Indigenous people from neighbouring Coast Salish territories, and from all over Turtle Island.
Like many other Canadian cities, Nanaimo has a large homeless population and a disproportionate number of the people who are homeless are also Indigenous. This is a reflection of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people.
The financialization of housing, and the predatory investment practices that go along with it, are harming many, many people, all over this country. And Indigenous people are, of course, being disproportionately harmed. Here’s an example. A single Real Estate Investment Trust controls 74% of the private multi-family rental units in Iqaluit and 85% in Yellowknife. This REIT prioritizes housing for government and resource workers, and is known to blacklist Indigenous renters. The rate of homelessness In Yellowknife is ten percent, and 90% of the people who are homeless are Indigenous.