First all candidates Kitchener Centre meeting will focus on housing

By Justine Fraser

The Kitchener Centre by-election is set for Nov. 30. Voters will decide who will be replacing Laura Mae Lindo, who stepped down from the seat last June.

The Kitchener Centre provincial by-election date was announced Nov. 1, which led to a coalition of local housing advocacy groups wanting to schedule the first all candidates meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for Thurs., Nov. 23. The focus for the evening will be on housing issues in Waterloo Region.

The candidates will be asked questions about affordability, tenant protection, housing supply and climate friendly sustainable housing. 

“It’s just outrageous the prices here in Kitchener and Waterloo. Everyone here knows someone who has faced that with the housing market or have faced that themselves,” said Acer Bonaparte, the media coordinator for the upcoming meeting.

Bonaparte is also the chair of Waterloo Region ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. They’re one of the event sponsors for the meeting later this month, alongside other groups like Basic Income Waterloo Region, Waterloo Region Yes In My Back Yard and Beyond Housing.

“With inflating costs and lack of rent control, people are scared to lose their homes, their apartments, because they don’t know when it’s going to turn,” said Bonaparte. “Talking to people with my advocacy group, it’s definitely been top of mind for them.”

So far, only three out of the four candidates have agreed to attend the meeting to discuss housing issues.

The Green Party candidate Aislinn Clancy, Liberal Party candidate Kelly Steiss, and New Democratic Party candidate Debbie Chapman have all confirmed their attendance. But, the PC candidate Rob Elliott, told the organizers he would not be able to attend.

“Conservatives don’t generally come to things like this, but we reached out anyways and we’re happy the other three candidates are able to come to help tackle the housing crisis,” said Bonaparte.

The meeting will go from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at St. John the Evangelist located at 23 Water Street North in Kitchener. Doors are set to open to the public at 6:30 p.m. that evening.

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