Toronto

Spadina-Fort York candidates spar over housing

Affordable housing in Toronto's increasingly pricey, condo-filled downtown was at the centre of a debate between the candidates for Spadina-Fort York on Metro Morning today.

Candidates vying for new downtown riding debate housing numbers

Adam Vaughan, who is running for the Liberals in Spadina-Fort York, touted his party's plan to invest in affordable housing. (CBC)

Affordable housing in an increasingly pricey, condo-filled downtown was at the centre of a debate between the candidates for Spadina-Fort York on Metro Morning today.

"I've spoken to families where they lost their kids because Children's Aid stepped in because of poor housing conditions," said NDP candidate, Olivia Chow, calling the situation "desperate."

Chow told Metro Morning host, Matt Galloway that an NDP government would build 10,000 units of affordable housing their first year in office, hard numbers that Chow tried to get out of Liberal candidate Adam Vaughan.

Vaughan wouldn't commit to a number of units, but fired back with the Liberals' $20-billion plan for social infrastructure, which includes money for affordable housing. The money would be provided over 10 years and provide $125 million per year in tax incentives for developers and landlords to build and renovate rental units, and would make investment in affordable housing and residences for seniors a priority. The Liberal candidate believes housing is key to solving most federal issues.

Olivia Chow, who's running for the NDP in Spadina-Fort York, said there is a 'desperate' need for housing in the riding. (CBC)

"You want to deal with greenhouse gas emissions? Build better housing. You want to settle people? Build more housing. You want to change the economic indicators that are showing us a gap between rich and poor? Build housing, it's the best social program."

Conservative candidate Sabrina Zuniga didn't speak to future spending from her party, but she was critical of the status quo.

"Toronto Community Housing spent money to renovate their own offices, so you have to wonder what their priority is," she said.

Sabrina Zuniga is running for the Conservatives in the Spadina-Fort York riding. She was critical of how Toronto Community Housing is managed (CBC)

Chow and Vaughan have represented the downtown core before. Chow was the MP for Trinity-Spadina until she stepped down to run for Mayor of Toronto last year. Adam Vaughan won the by-election to replace her in June 2014.

Eighty thousand people live in the Spadina-Fort York riding, which spans from City Place to the Distillery District and includes many of the neighbourhoods from the old Trinity-Spadina riding.

Voters head to the polls on Oct. 19. 

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