NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh talks costs of living in Penticton, B.C.


Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was in Penticton, B.C., on Thursday to talk with community members about the rising cost of living. Singh believes the the two main areas where the cost of living is hurting people the most is groceries and housing.“With groceries, we know that people are going to buy groceries and every week it’s more and more expensive. But at the same time the grocery corporate chains that own basically all the grocery stores in Canada are posting record profits,” said Singh.“There’s a disconnect there and that’s where government has to step in and stop these corporations from gouging. We’re exploiting the crisis and making money off the pain of people.” Story continues below advertisement Global News spoke to several residents about their concerns with the cost of living. Some agree that groceries and housing are top of mind.“Housing affordability, obviously groceries. When you see all the homelessness on the street you realize you have to do some more to get them in houses, living and to get them to eat — those are my main concerns,” said Penticton resident Jason Skafel. “We are renting right now; that is quite expensive and in the grocery department.”“Yeah, it seems like when you go to the grocery store it’s like double the price now in the last couple years,” added Penticton resident Melanda Danenhower“Affording childcare, it’s basically impossible to get in and if you don’t you quit your job and you can’t afford to live,” said Penticton resident Jamiee Remond.“In the last couple months, feeding a child, formula costs, diaper costs — it all adds up.”According to Singh, the first step towards solving this issue is an inquiry into food prices.Last month, Members of Parliament summoned the CEOs of Canada’s largest grocery store chains to answer for rising food prices.“They’re going to be coming to the House of Commons because we forced them to come and we’re going to challenge them and say, ‘Why is it that you’re making these huge profits while people can’t afford groceries? Why are you increasing your prices well beyond any increased costs associated with maybe the war in Ukraine or increased fuel costs,” said Singh. Story continues below advertisement “Once we identify exactly the problem, which we think is corporate greed, then we can actually bring in some changes in terms of better competition laws and we can force the government to put in place the wealth tax that we’re talking about, but we need to identify the problem.” Trending Now 2:28 Penticton single mom pleads for affordable housing options Meanwhile, from the rental market to the housing supply, Singh says there’s issues across the board regarding affordable housing.“If you’ve got a good job, and even if you’ve got two income-earning folks in your family, if you’re a couple, they cannot find a place that’s in their budget. And forget buying a home, people can’t even afford to rent a home,” said Singh.“And what we’re seeing is across the country, rent is going up. The cost of housing hasn’t come down in a way that made it more affordable. The Liberals and Conservatives have set up the current market. They’ve been the ones in power and have set in place, in motion, a housing market that it’s out of control that is hard for people to find something they can afford. Story continues below advertisement “And we’ve got to change that.”The provincial government has promised a $400 renter’s rebate, but that is nearly a quarter of the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Kelowna.Last year, the federal government also provided a one-time renter’s rebate, though Singh says that is not enough.“The BC NDP has done some really great things. I think some really meaningful things are going to help out people, but B.C. needs a federal partner that’s also going to step up. We fought hard and made the federal government do a rental relief of $500. We made that happen last year. And that was a part of our agreement. So that’s some relief for people,” he added.“We need to do a lot more. So we’re going continue to push for help for renters, push for real investments in housing, push a real building of more affordable homes that are actually in people’s budgets.” 2:35 Kelowna becomes fourth most expensive city to rent in across Canada Singh went on to say that there is also a growing need for non-market housing that is not going to continually rise in cost year after year. Story continues below advertisement “Seeing those huge increases in rent which we saw in Kelowna, we’re seeing in Penticton we’re seeing across Canada, so we really need to take housing seriously,” he said.“New Democrats believe in that. I’m focused on that and we’re going fight hard to get people help.”Singh finished his time in the South Okanagan with a roundtable discussion about these concerns and possible solutions. 9:56 Jagmeet Singh extended interview: March 2, 2023 &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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