by Morinville News Staff
For the second time in as many days, the Alberta NDP is calling on Premier Kenney and the UCP government to ban evictions during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Premier Kenney is creating a crisis by failing to act,” said Rachel Notley, Leader of the NDP Official Opposition in a media release Wednesday. “I am gravely concerned he does not grasp that this is a serious public health issue. People need to stay home, and that means they need a home to stay in. Pushing an Alberta family into an emergency shelter or crowding them into another family’s home is directly contrary to the advice of public health officials, and will harm Alberta’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus.”
The Opposition party supports the deferral of property taxes and utility bills already announced by the UCP as well as major banks deferring mortgage payments, but are expressing concern that many evictions are moving forward.
The NDP accuses Premier Kenney of offering excuses for not implementing an eviction ban.
“Obviously eviction is appropriate for tenants who are putting others at risk or engaging in criminal activity,” Notley said. “That is no reason to fail to protect law-abiding Albertans from homelessness during a pandemic, whether their financial distress started before or after the pandemic arrived.”
Notley went on to say that even though physical eviction may be a few weeks out, an eviction notice and proceedings would create additional stress on Alberta families already under pressure.
“[G]overnments across North America understand that the housing market can handle an eviction pause during this pandemic,” Notley said, adding British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island have implemented bans or measures to delay evictions.
“This should not be an ideological issue. Leaders of all political colours understand this is a public safety issue. Premier Kenney needs to stop admiring this problem and take action,” Notley said.