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320 Comments

politics

Campaign Fact Check: Did Jack Layton and Olivia Chow Live in Subsidized Housing?

The answer is yes—but it's complicated.

Photo by Tania Liu, from the Torontoist Flickr pool

Photo by Tania Liu, from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

After much deliberation, Trinity-Spadina MP Olivia Chow has resigned from her federal seat and is launching her campaign to become mayor of Toronto. However, mere moments after she declared her intentions, old accusations surfaced that she and her late partner, Jack Layton, had lived together in “subsidized housing” earlier in their public careers.

Karl Baldauf raised it first on CP24, and later tweeted: “Day 1 of Olivia Chow’s campaign key message take-away: there’s a difference bw subsidized housing and a taxpayer subsidized co-op” and “Hazelburn Coop built under a fedprogram to provide affordable housing for low-to moderate-income families. Olivias family made $120k”. He also referred to Chow as a “double-dipper.”

So—did Chow and Layton live in subsidized housing? The answer is yes—but it’s complicated.


From 1985 to 1990, Layton and Chow lived in an $800-per-month “market value” three-bedroom apartment in Hazelburn Co-operative Homes, a federally funded non-profit housing co-op that receives financial assistance from the Government of Canada under the National Housing Act. Unlike private apartments or public housing, co-ops are non-profits owned and managed by their members, with elected boards, audited financial statements, and extensive reporting on the state of their buildings and their financial activities.

The co-op housing sector is complex, with some co-ops receiving federal funding, others receiving provincial funding, and still others receiving funding and assistance under multiple programs. The federal programs have changed over the years, but the general principles remain the same: the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) provides funding for fixed-rate mortgages for co-op properties and rent subsidies for low-income residents. This enables co-ops to offer a mix of both market value and geared-to-income housing—in Hazelburn’s case, 30 per cent low-income units to 70 per cent market value. While some co-ops have limits or caps designed to exclude residents with higher incomes, Hazelburn and other Section 95 co-ops do not—and so are not mandated to provide “affordable housing for low- to moderate-income families.”

This immediately puts to rest several myths and misunderstandings about Layton and Chow’s time at Hazelburn: they did not occupy a low-income unit at Hazelburn; their occupancy of a market-value unit did not have any effect on the availability of low-income units in their building or elsewhere in the co-op sector; and they were not inappropriately housed as, theoretically, one could be as rich as John Tory or Rob Ford and still be eligible to live in a market-value unit in a Section 95 co-op. Strictly speaking, though, every unit in most federally funded co-ops is to some extent subsidized by taxpayer money, whether the unit is designated as geared-to-income or market value.

(Other things subsidized by CMHC that may have benefited Toronto politicians: incentives for first-time homebuyers; condominium construction; mortgage insurance.)

This in itself is not a bad thing—many co-ops have struggled at different times over the years to fill their market-value spaces, and have suffered vacancy losses as a result. Market-value residents are essential to fulfill the needs of each co-op’s funding formula and CMHC requirements. Also, a key benefit of co-op living comes from the diversity of households in the co-op community. The various levels of government should be doing more, not less, to provide non-profit tenant-run housing, mixed communities, and affordable homes for all income levels, rather than privately run housing that is “low-income” in name only, and poorly maintained and managed “social housing.”

So what happened with Layton and Chow? Three months before the Toronto Star story broke in June 1990, they started paying an additional $325 per month to bring their rent more closely in line with those charged in the private sector. Even that was not enough to mollify the media, their fellow councillors, and many annoyed Torontonians, some of whom protested outside of Hazelburn’s front door; just two weeks after the first Star article, Jack Layton announced that he and Chow would be moving into a house that could accommodate the two of them and Chow’s mother, stating that he had been searching for a suitable home for seven months with little luck.

“We were hoping it wouldn’t take this long,” he said. “But the downtown ward is the most expensive area of Metro, and it doesn’t have many homes.”

Comments

  • Roy Schulze

    At the time, if I recall, there was also an attitude that if these two were making enough money, they *should* be living in a house, that there was something odd about them choosing to live in an apartment. Of course, co-op living fit perfectly with their philosophy, but most people then (and now) just didn’t get it.

    • Punned_It

      Exactly. They lived their values. How can Rob Ford claim to be all for the average guy when he doesn’t live with them?

      That’s why he thinks it’s OK to cut taxes but put a user fee on municipal pools. He has his own pool, and air conditioning. Like most cons it’s “I’ve got mine” and that’s all they worry about.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    The damage is probably already done; anyone already inclined to vote for Ford/Tory/Stintz won’t care. Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth.

    • dsmithhfx

      Jack & Olivia livin’ wit da peeps, vs. Rob Ford, crack tourist.

      • Punned_It

        Well said! You couldn’t get Ford to live in a co-op.

        Also, folks who live in co-ops do part of the work to run the place – saves a lot of money and keep rents lower.

  • Slapointe

    Not everyone is as rich as RoFo on John Tory. How is that a negative?

  • OgtheDim

    “Strictly speaking, though, every unit in most federally funded co-ops is
    to some extent subsidized by taxpayer money, whether the unit is
    designated as geared-to-income or market value.”

    The point of this article is to fact check whether this was true.

    If you are going to say its true, then provide a checked fact as to it being true.

    i.e. Don’t weasel out with a list of other susidies done at other times.

    Was their unit in any way subsidised? Yes or No?

    This article did not answer that question.

    • Isotop

      By paying market value, they are SUBSIDIZING (i.e. giving instead of receiving, to be clear) other low income units.

      To answer your question: yes their unit was subsidized, by the government AND themselves by paying market value where a regular landlord would make a profit, profit that goes back to the co-op.

      So yes all the way.

      • Brenda Rowe

        I lived in a federal gov’t co-op for awhile. The rent is geared to their income up to a specified market rent. If someone’s entitled to shelter subsidy from the province, the money goes to the co-op, not to the tenant. Income of everyone in the family has to be reported every month, so if the teenagers show some initiative and get a pt job to save for college, the rent goes up. No one living in the private sector has to conform to such invasion of their finances, and essentially a garnishment of their children’s income. … call it what you want, a rose is a rose by any other name. The co-op I lived in was totally electric and it cost more to heat the place then the rent was for subsidized members.

    • dsmithhfx

      Every single person in this country is “subsidized” by the government in some way, from highways to healthcare. When the current harper-government-of-canada gave a renovation tax credit (HRTC), that was a subsidy, a housing subsidy even. It’s how government is supposed to work.

      The question as asked is invalid.

      • Lloyd_Davis

        Indeed, to go reductio ad absurdum for a moment, if the Layton-Chows lived in “subsidized housing,” what are we to make of the Cadillac limos the Prime Minister rides around in, or the Escalade of unknown provenance that the Mayor rides around in? Built by General Motors. Subsidized motoring!

        • OgtheDim

          That’s not the accepted definition of subsidy when it pertains as to whether or not somebody received one.

          The accusation is that they received a specific subsidy to stay in that unit.

          This article purports to fact check that.

          It didn’t.

          • MaryL

            It DID: they did NOT live in a co-op unit designated as a subsidized unit where the housing charges were substantially lower than the ones paid by 70% of the co-op members, not just Layton and Chow. That was stated plainly.

          • OgtheDim

            And then muddied with the statement that I quoted.

          • Lloyd_Davis

            I understood where you were coming from, rest assured.

            And agree that Demchuk expended considerable efforts to equivocate and avoid answering directly. The short answer is that Layton and Chow were NOT living in “subsidized housing” as many seem to understand it — that is, projects owned by TCHC or its predecessors Cityhome, the Ontario Housing Corp. or the Metro Toronto Housing Corp. And they did NOT receive a subsidy to live in the unit they occupied.

            But ultimately, he did write: “they did not occupy a low-income unit at Hazelburn; their occupancy of a market-value unit did not have any effect on the availability of low-income units in their building or elsewhere in the co-op sector; and they were not inappropriately housed.”

            I wouldn’t have written “yes — but it’s complicated.” Something akin to “not the way you think” would’ve been more apt.

            My response to dsmithhfx intended to say that if you go looking for a government “handout” at ever turn, you’ll never stop finding them. Sorry that wasn’t clear enough.

    • daviddemchuk

      Actually, I answered the question twice. Once in the subheading (“Yes–but it’s complicated”) and once in the body of the article (“…every unit in most federally funded co-ops is to some extent subsidized by taxpayer money, whether the unit is designated as geared-to-income or market value.”)

      • OgtheDim

        That’s not a fact check.

        You basically said you think there was a subsidy.

        You didn’t provide any verification.

        Stating something is NOT a fact check.

        • joshua

          if you understand how a co-op works (tax free status, initial gov capital etc). You’d know they where. I don’t think it’s the fact that they did live in one was an issue, but the non-disclosure. I would think that’s a fairly pertinent disclosure.

      • Lloyd_Davis

        With respect, the read I’m getting is that a large number of people are still (as they were during the last federal election campaign, when this was trotted out against NDP leader Layton) under the impression that Layton and Chow were living in “Ontario Housing” or something along those lines. That’s patently false, of course. Co-ops are a different creature.

        To paraphrase the mayor, you didn’t really answer the right question. You gave an informative explanation of how co-ops are funded and operate, and in paragraph six you did write that “they did not occupy a low-income unit at Hazelburn; their occupancy of a
        market-value unit did not have any effect on the availability of
        low-income units in their building or elsewhere in the co-op sector; and
        they were not inappropriately housed.” By that point, it’s already tl:dr from most of those who’ve taken the ball and run with it.

        And ultimately, it’s academic. The world doesn’t crave the exploration of nuance and besides, Joe Trackpants is never going to be shaken from his resentment-rooted belief that Layton and Chow were gaming the system, getting something they shouldn’t have been (and on his nickle [sic]), just as they’re never going to believe that smoking crack, getting faced and doing a half-assed job should disqualify one from holding that job.

        • rich1299

          True, facts and reality are irrelevant in politics.

    • dsmithhfx

      “So—did Chow and Layton live in subsidized housing? The answer is yes—but it’s complicated.” — TFA

      Your reading comprehension: F.

      • OgtheDim

        Its supposed to be a fact check.

        When somebody does that, I for one comprehend that to mean that actual facts will be checked, as against vaguely referenced as “well everybody is”.

    • Lloyd_Davis

      During the 2008 financial crisis, CMHC also put up money to backstop the Canadian chartered banks. I guess that means everyone who has taken out a mortgage through one of the banks over the past six years is living in subsidized housing.

      • Punned_It

        Well said!
        Also, anyone who bought a GM car I guess.

    • MaryL

      The entire co-op globally benefited from government subsidies.

      The co-op determined what mix of units they wanted and set aside 30% as subsidized, where additional subsidies would bring housing charges well below market rate.

      The rest were set at the co-op’s market rate — somewhat cheaper than the open market in the nighbourhood, but meeting the co-op’s need for operating funds, including all amenities enjoyed by those in subsidized units. This did not require any additional subsidies from the ogovernment.

      These market rate units are sometimes hard to fill. Leaving them empty leaves the co-op and all its members short of operating funds. Filling them does not rob the poor: it helps them.

      So while ALL units in ANY Ontario co-op benefit from government subsidies — see also: roads, transit, CHMC-backed mortgages, etc. — they lived in a unit that was designated as market, not subsidized, and took in no more government support than their share of the global co-op subsidies.

      • OgtheDim

        Oh look….a fact that could easily have been placed in this article.

        Thanks.

        • dsmithhfx

          That’s already all been said, repeatedly (ad nauseum).

          What makes it a “fact” in your view, this time?

      • John Robert Neilson

        Exactly. Well put.

    • tomwest

      The construction (capital) was “subsidised”, in that a below-market interest rate was used.
      Their monthly rent (operational) was not subsidised.

      • MaryL

        Thanks, Tom: that’s an important distinction.

  • OgtheDim

    On another note:

    I miss that mustache.

    • Punned_It

      And that smile!

    • rich1299

      Jack Layton really lived what he believed, easily the most sincere politician I’ve ever known.

  • Graeme

    True or not, it’s better than what Doug Ford was doing in the 80s.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      LOL! Well done.

  • Notcleverguy

    The fact that this is all the pro Ford folk can point to as some sort of abuse of power or entitlement, and it seems it really isn’t, just makes me so confused and sad about just what type of people make up a portion of this city.

    • dsmithhfx

      The Fords are ‘win ugly’ types, and they are truly desperate. Shame to see Tory & Stintz climb on that bandwagon, when a little class would help distinguish them. Ford-lite indeed.

  • David

    What a scandal…NOT!

    Look, every person running for office has dirt on them, we all do. God, if I were put under a mircoscope you would see some questionable decisions too. We need to take these revelations in stride. At least they weren’t smoking crack while in office, ya the bar is that low.

  • king

    Never trust a politician, if they want to end world poverty they can … but that wont happen because no one will work. Plus its all lies people are greedy she just wants this position

    • dsmithhfx

      “no one will work its all lies people are greedy”

      – conservative manifesto.

    • Punned_It

      You really should get out more.
      There are lots of studies that debunk that tired old right wing myth.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Politicians won’t end poverty because nobody would work if they did? How does that make sense?

      • dsmithhfx

        You need to be on crack…

  • MaryL

    You drive on roads? You own a house with a CHMC-backed mortgage? You’re on the government teat. That’s all we need to know.

  • Don

    So they started paying that market value 3 months before the story. Did they pay the previous years for the time they lived there?

    • MaryL

      They paid the market rate for their unit, same as the other people in market-value units (70% of the entire co-op) for the entire time that they lived there.

      They started paying the additional amount above and beyond what their membership agreement required (and above what all other market-value unit members were paying) a few months before they moved out.

  • OgtheDim

    Scott’s a nice guy but he’s sometimes been a little too focused on the cause rather then the people.

  • Astin44

    There are a few other issues I see with this old nugget.

    1.- This is the best you can do? This thing from the 80′s? 24 years ago? So the best piece of attack the right can come up with is something that happened a quarter-century ago, in another century, when most of the younger demographic were either babies or not yet born?

    2.- Was $800/month at Jarvis and Shuter in 1988 considered cheap rent? Was $1125? I honestly don’t know. Because if it really WAS the market rate at the time for that area, then who the hell cares?

    • Notcleverguy

      As a downtown resident all my life, $800 in 1998 at Queen and Shuter for an apartment seems about right.

  • lovetoronto

    SHAME ON YOU TORONTOIST for making this article’s headline a Question and not a Fact. You’re perpetuating the smear campaign that was inflicted on Olivia and Jack and has dogged them unfairly all these years.

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

    • JimmyHat

      The article makes it crystal clear that they were, in fact, benefiting from a subsidy provided by taxpayers. Jack tried to worm his way around it and fooled a bunch of people who enjoy ingesting their political ideas while wearing rose-coloured (orange?) glasses. I thought Olivia would fade into the background once Jack bit the dust. No such luck, unfortunately.

      • vampchick21

        I think you fail to understand both co-op and the concept of subsidy.

      • MaryL

        Roads, CHMC-backed mortgages, public transit: all subsidized by government. Anyone who uses any of these cannot point fingers and shriek “Subsidies!”

        And living in a co-op market-valued unit may be cheaper than a comparable private unit, but you also have to give back to the co-op with your time and services as part of membership. As mytwocentsworth said above, some people don’t find the tradeoff worth it.

        • Mic

          Roads are for everyone. By your comparison we should all have access to subsidized units.

          • Punned_It

            We all do.
            Anyone can choose to live in a coop.

          • Mic

            There is not enough federally funded coops for everyone.

          • Punned_It

            A very good reason to start building them again. No new co-ops have been set up for many years now.

          • vampchick21

            You REALLY don’t understand what a co-op is, do you?

          • Mic
          • Punned_It

            A little too general – try this for the Canadian definition
            http://www.coophousing.com/about/about_housing.asp

          • Mic

            a quote from your link with some highlights:

            “Co-ops can provide affordable housing for people with MODERATE incomes. They open their market unit waiting lists on a regular basis. There are co-ops with open waiting lists in every area of Toronto and York Region. Market rents in housing co-ops are often LOWER than the regular rental market.”

          • vampchick21

            Note that it doesn’t disallow for someone with a higher than moderate income?

          • Mic

            No but it was clearly designed to support people with moderate incomes.

          • vampchick21

            no. It was designed to create a mixed income community where everyone had a part and a say in things.

          • Mic

            The purpose, according to Punned_its link, is this:

            “Co-ops provide affordable housing for people with moderate incomes”

          • vampchick21

            you know what? fine. Whatever. You continue to think that Co-op = TCHC. Be that thick headed. You have refused to even begin to acknowledge the difference and have chosen to take information and work around to fit your own error in thinking.

            The fact is that you are incorrect in your thinking, all facts show that, you are wrong in associating it with the type of subsidized housing that is TCHC and Ontario housing. you are just wrong. And everyone with half a brain knows it.

            Done.

          • MaryL

            Note the word that didn’t bark in the night: “only”.

          • vampchick21

            and yet you clearly still do not understand. IT IS NOT F-ING SUBSIDIZED HOUSING LIKE COMMUNITY HOUSING. THESE ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. Layton and Chow did not live in TCHC Housing or Ontario Housing. They lived in a CO-OP. Paying what was MARKET RENT IN 1988. And you can’t grasp the basic difference.

            Why is it so hard for you?

          • Mic

            Do you get all your education from the media? Read the conversation below…

          • vampchick21

            Aren’t you a cutie pie! I have been reading it, and all the comments and posts here, PLUS darling dear, I went out of my own way to research co-ops….beyond wikipedia.

          • newman_goodmoon

            I recommend more research into co-op housing. Try a google search of ‘Co-op Housing Information Exchange’ and ‘Ken’s Site’.
            I could cut some fresh cheese for you…would you like some?

          • vampchick21

            Why, because you’re butt hurt about something in your own co-op? And are butt hurt about people here? Go play with someone else.

          • newman_goodmoon

            You seem upset because I share facts about co-op housing and that appears to hurt your feelings? – I have read some of your comments towards others, you don’t project a healthy inner CHIE…out towards others. You are correct in your comment that co-ops are not TCHC or public housing…but in my view, they all share some similarities because of housing co-ops inherent problems. Some are upset or angry with me because I share some negative aspects about co-ops. I’m a little hungery now and going to eat some cheese…

          • vampchick21

            What are you babbling about now? I don’t care. Go play with someone else.

          • newman_goodmoon

            You don’t want to play the non-profit co-op housing game today?….butt don’t worry, I won’t give you a cheesy smile : > )

          • vampchick21

            What part of I don’t care about your special snowflake butt-hurtedness are you having difficulty understanding?

          • newman_goodmoon

            HAVE A NICE DAY ! { : < )

          • dsmithhfx

            Every new post takes you further into loon territory… might want to bail out now.

          • newman_goodmoon

            I may perhaps be getting some CHF Canada, its Member Federations’ and Member Co-ops’ annoyed today that troll Social Media in support of co-op housing Projects!

          • dsmithhfx

            I think you need to freshen up your blog in case, you know, someone reads it.

          • dsmithhfx

            Hello housing crisis!

          • vampchick21

            Co-op is not TCHC or Ontario housing. But you don’t care.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            And there aren’t roads everywhere. That doesn’t mean they weren’t paid for by the government.

          • MaryL

            CMHC-backed mortgages aren’t obligatory. You are required to buy insurance if your deposit is less than 20% of the purchase price. Are people who put less than 20% down on their homes moochers because taxpayers fund the CMHC and their insurance?

      • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

        Because goodness knows private developers never get tax breaks.
        To me – someone who lives in a co-op, paying market rent – it’s like saying that all rich kids should be in private school, because if they attend public school, they are taking resources away from a kid who can’t afford to go to private school.

        • Pseudanko

          Bingo.

  • craigbear

    It’s not obfuscation to clarify how co-ops actually work.

  • vampchick21

    Reading comprehension, how does it work?

  • dsmithhfx

    On their daddy’s cash? Oh wait, you probably didn’t mean Rob and Doug…

    • andrew97

      “Son of a conservative politician and business owner” describes both Ford and Layton.

      • vampchick21

        And look at the difference between the two men. Even with one of them no longer among the living.

      • Lloyd_Davis

        Hmm, yes. One applied himself, earned a doctorate, and gave back by teaching university courses. The other dropped out after one year of university, bummed around Daddy’s company, and “gave back” by exposing high school football players to the likes of Payman Aboodowleh.

        • andrew97

          I’m just saying, let’s not pretend that Ford is the only guy in politics who has family money and connections.

          • Lloyd_Davis

            You’d think Olivia Chow’s biography would appeal to all those self-styled Horatio Alger, pulled-up-by-their-own-bootstrap types, a constituency to which the Ford boys have often claimed allegiance.

          • TheSotSays

            Horatio Alger ??? Is that right?

            Surely a brilliant, well-read NDP genius would know that there’s a substantial difference between the career of “Ragged Dick” and that of “Jumper Jack” or the female equivalents thereof.

          • dsmithhfx

            True. By the same token, let’s not pretend that Ford is a “successful businessman” who has any grasp of how to manage a business, let alone a municipal budget.

          • Punned_It

            Doug was a successful drug dealer according to some. That has to count for something

          • TheSotSays

            Why yes, let’s pretend instead that Olivia Chow, TROC, and her band of Perky leftoid cohorts should all be entrusted with the job. Joe Mihevic for Commissar of Finance.

          • john_willow

            Did Layton’s family spend city money to have potholes fixed outside their house just in time for a big company party? The Fords did. Did Jack Layton become one of the directors of a multi-million dollar company while being utterly unqualified for the job? Ford did. What possible connection do you make between Layton and Ford?

        • TheSotSays

          Hmmm, yes.

          One went off to Carlton, took a quick look at the bushy beard brain washers on the faculty and headed back to Toronto to help his ageing parents run and expand a 100 million dollar business that they built from scratch.

          The other went off to York University, sucked up to a pack of marxist “professors” and picked up a two-bit doctorate. He then gave back by getting picked up by the vice squad at a “clinic” full of illegally immigrated adolescents

          • john_willow

            You’ve posted three times and said absolutely nothing other than that you have fantasies about the non-value of university degrees, with which you are obviously not acquainted.

          • Pseudanko

            Ford nation pretzel think. Drugs bad. Drug dealing good. Education bad. Being born wealthy good.

      • rich1299

        Olivia is the daughter of working class people who immigrated to Canada and worked hard at low paying jobs to give Olivia a better chance. Her father wasn’t a business owner or politician but a former teacher who ended up doing odd jobs such as delivering food and her mother was a seamstress. Its not Jack Layton running for mayor, Olivia is a powerhouse in her own right very capable at working with the community and organizing.

        • poniesinjudah

          Here, here. There’s no way her life story is anything other than amazing. She should be judged on her policies. But in the Amazing Life Competition she totally wins. Ditto the not getting falling drunk in public one.

          • TheSotSays

            Well right now I see her only as a quitter and a left wing opportunist who just stuck the taxpayers with the cost of another federal by-election in Toronto 3 months after we had one.

            As for “totally winning” the Amazing Life Competition, the notion is ridiculous. A pond scum politician with an amazing life? You must be intoxicated! My vote on that competition goes to Justin Bieber.

  • newman_goodmoon

    CMHC reports market rents for a geographical area that are some 15-20% higher than what non-profit housing co-operatives’ set their housing charge market rents voted on by their membership.
    The General Public At-Large need to understand the many misconceptions about co-ops reported by stakeholders such as CHF Canada. Co-op housing has inherent problems that include lack of participation, a lack of competencies, little interest in training, a non-existent, inadequate or disregarded management structure, a lack or improper exercise of leadership, collusion, abuses of power, cliques, favoritism and fraud…

    • dsmithhfx

      Landlords hate co-ops, understandably.

      • newman_goodmoon

        I don’t think landlords give a rats-ass about co-op housing, besides very few new non-profit housing co-ops have been built since 1995 in Canada….I reside in a housing co-op that has many inherent problems.
        newmangoodmoon.blogspot.ca

        • dsmithhfx

          Poor you! Your mom should buy you a condo.

  • ZachSwan

    As with most articles these days, this one is pointless. Regardless of the facts, one side of the political spectrum is going to defend it and talk down to the other side; the other side is going to be outraged and complain the behaviour being discussed was unacceptable. There is no middle ground or rational discussion any more. I don’t know why I bother reading such content anymore.

    • http://www.yasmary.com/ yaz

      It was nice to read about the issue as a whole though. I for one, am more informed about how co-ops work.

  • mytwocentsworth

    A couple of years ago, I checked out a coop in Scarborough because a former neighbour of mine had recently rented one, and was happily trying to recruit new tenants in order to keep the place filled with market-paying people. Things I noticed were: clean building, well-kept grounds, nice people, nice modest apartment though smaller than regular apt. buildings, applicants with children who needed subsidized accomodation, well-organized committees, and the obligation to help keep costs down by serving on a committee, e.g. financial, maintenance, social, management board, etc.

    Though in the end, I decided not to apply, I found out more about myself than people who live in coops. I wasn’t willing to take a more dated, 1-bedroom apt. than I already had — even though it was cheaper, I didn’t want to shoulder the responsibility of helping to find new residents, I didn’t want to give a lot of time to serve on a committee, and bottom line, I wasn’t sure I’d be comfortable living in mixed (average and low income) coop housing.
    In conclusion, I’m not proud of that decision, but it was an honest one. And I am full of admiration for all the people like Olivia Chow and Jack Layton who voluntarily live in that environment in order to help keep it functioning for those who need it. That’s a plus for Chow, IMO, and she probably will get my vote.

    • Punned_It

      She and Jack lived their values every day. Something I admire.

      I admire Justin Trudeau for taking time to be with his family and their new baby. That’s living your family values.

      • torontothegreat

        I couldn’t agree more. It’s amazing that they even had time for themselves with how dedicated to building and being involved in so many aspects of society.

  • vampchick21

    Facts are hard to understand – Ford Nation

  • Mic

    You can minimize it however you like but that fact remains they lived in publicly funded housing which had the overall intention of supporting low income families. The Laytons simply capitalized on cheap rent in the downtown core without regard to the general purpose of the coops existence.

    • Punned_It

      The housing is not publicly funded. The CMHC provides a mortgage, which the coop members pay through their rent. The co-op is funded and managed by its members. The Laytons, by living there, and paying the market level rent, provided money for subsidies so that others could afford a decent place to live. If they didn’t live there, less money would have been available for subsidies.

      Do you have a mortgage? If so, you too receive a subsidy.
      Do you use transit? Ditto.
      Do you drive a car made by one of the manufacturer’s who got bailed out?
      Do you have a bank account? Remember your tax dollars bailed out the banks too.

      • Mic

        Costco, my mortgage and my transportation is not funded by our government. In fact, its exactly the opposite. I pay tax on all those services which funds the government which in turn funds coops which apparently benefits the Laytons lower ‘market rent’.

        • MaryL

          Psst — government money for the roads you drive on comes from your taxes! No, really!

          • Mic

            Psst, government roads were not designed for only specific income classes.

          • Testu

            Neither were the co-ops you incredibly dense person.

            They are specifically designed to have mixed income residents. They are not meant as ghettos for the poor.

          • Mic

            Hey, go fuck yourself. No need for personal attacks.

          • mixandserve

            Heehee! You know Mic has painted himself into a corner when he starts to swear. He’s so far up a tree, he’ll still be there next week.

            Tune in for his brilliant spin and/or backpeddle folks…because you know he ain’t got the cohones to admit he’s been bestest.

          • Testu

            You are very dense, you’ve had the purpose of co-op housing explained to you like a dozen times and you still wilfully misrepresent it. This is pretty much the definition of being dense.

            They lived in a market rate unit in a co-op, it was exactly the way the unit was intended to be used. There is no possible way you can misunderstand this by now.

          • MaryL

            Neither are co-ops.

        • dsmithhfx

          “Costco, my mortgage and my transportation is not funded by our government”

          Oh yes they are: Costco is funded by corporate tax breaks, your mortgage by low interest rates set by the BoC, and your transportation… seriously? Do you actually fail to understand that the government builds and maintains roads? If you had to pay “market value” for that stuff you’d be in debtors prison in about 5-minutes.

    • dsmithhfx

      “the general purpose of the coops existence”

      And what is that?

      • Mic

        “provide affordable housing for people with moderate incomes” its a quote from the Toronto Coop website.

        • vampchick21

          which you willfully twist to suit your own concept.

          • Mic

            its not a concept, its a direct quote, not my words. Your perspective is the only thing that is twisted because you refuse to believe what you read.

          • MaryL

            A direct quote taken out of context can be deceptive. Do try harder.

          • Mic

            Mary, read for yourself.

            http://www.coophousing.com/about/about_housing.asp

            These subsidized coops were not meant for wealthy people.

          • MaryL

            Subsidized UNITS are not meant for wealthy people. Read the opening paragraph from that link:

            “Housing co-ops are in every neighbourhood in the city. A co-op can be a medium size apartment building or townhouses. People who live in co-ops come from every walk of life. They are people with different backgrounds, varied incomes and sometimes they are people with special needs. These diverse and vibrant communities are the unique strength of housing co-ops.”

          • Mic

            and it goes on to say “Market rents in housing co-ops are often lower than the regular rental market.” Why? to “provide affordable housing for people with moderate incomes”

          • dsmithhfx

            The key word there being “often”. As in: not exclusively. Get it now?

          • mixandserve

            Spin! Backpeddling! Obfuscatation! Playing dumb!

            (keep going, Mic…this is entertaining!) :)

          • MaryL

            *sigh* Every co-op determines what mix of units and incomes to support. Nothing you quote there invalidates that.

          • Notcleverguy

            Often, does not mean all the time.
            You clearly do not understand co-op mixed unit housing. Mic you should stop now before you embarrass yourself any further.

        • MaryL

          And one way that people with moderate incomes get affordable housing is by putting aside a portion of units at what the co-op determines to be a fair market value. The higher housing charges for 70% of the units in this co-op helped provide housing for the 30% of the units that received targeted subsidies.

          (Yes, there were global subsidies that the entire co-op benefited from, just as drivers benefit from road subsidies, transit users benefit from transit subsidies, and home buyers who put down less than 20% buying a house benefit from CMHC-backed mortgage.)

        • dsmithhfx

          And by living in a co-op, the Laytons were doing exactly that.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          Are you being thick on purpose? Two paragraphs above that line explains how co-ops are set up. Market-rate units and subsidized units. Which one – not both! – do you think is meant for people with moderate income? Now, who are the remaining units for?

          Figure it out.

          • Mic

            Both types of units benefit from the government subsidies. It brings the overall costs down.

          • Testu

            And what does that have to do with the intended use of the market rate unit that Layton and Chow paid for?

          • Mic

            The intended use for those ‘market rate’ units was for moderate income families. There is obviously no law against it in this case but when wealthy people consume the scarce resources intended for lower income families, its morally wrong, especially as a politician.

          • Testu

            The intended use of the co-op is to create a mixed income community. That includes moderate, low, and high income families. Layton and Chow were one of the higher income families in the mixed income co-op.

            This is not a difficult concept. The co-op is very intentionally a mixed income community, it helps prevent ghettoization. You can’t have a mixed income community that is exclusively inhabited by moderate income families, that is, by definition, impossible.

            Do you understand why you are wrong yet?

          • Mic

            Im not wrong, you are. But im finished explaining complex issues with pea brained kids.

          • Testu

            An excellent rebuttal.

            You are demonstrably wrong. Your (very silly) argument relies entirely on your wilful misunderstanding of the purpose and operation of co-op housing. There’s nothing morally wrong about being a member of a co-op community, regardless of your income.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            The intended use in the case of the co-op Layton and Chow lived in was whatever that co-op said it was. If they had rules against people above a certain income level then Layton/Chow would have been wrong to rent, but there’s no evidence of such a rule.

          • AllanG

            People would prefer to set their own standards and then hold Chow accountable to them. It’s a phony argument.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            The costs are the same as any building of comparable size and use. Being nonprofit and internalizing the labour where possible, which is what co-ops do, go a long way to lowering the rent for the market-rate units. When the landlord isn’t profiting (income in excess of expenses) the rent is generally lower than otherwise. My apartment (I’m not in a co-op, to be clear) is probably 30% under what the owner could be getting, given it’s location, and my downstairs neighbour has only had her rent increased once in the 16 years she’s lived there, because the owner is retired and just wants the house occupied.

    • MaryL

      You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts /Moynihan

    • vampchick21

      Facts are hard – Ford Nation.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      The Laytons and everyone else in the building who wasn’t living in the subsidized units. Why aren’t Chow’s former neighbours being dragged through the mud for their exploitation? (Who cares if it was all in accordance with the co-op’s rules, let’s get angry and ridiculous! Rabble rabble rabble!)

    • Pseudanko

      You can voluntarily misunderstand all you like, but the fact remains that by paying full market value in a housing co-op, they subsidized the low income families who were living at the co-op. This is precisely the general purpose of the coop’s existence. That you obstinately continue to ignore this fact makes you sound more and more like a liar.

  • newman_goodmoon

    Phil: Co-op housing has inherent problems that include poor or bad management. Some examples: lack of participation, a lack of competencies, little interest in training, a non-existent, inadequate or disregarded management structure, a lack or improper exercise of leadership, collusion, abuses of power, cliques, favoritism and fraud…Phil, do you now understand how some of those folks survive? And why few new housing co-ops have been built since 1995 in Canada…

    • dsmithhfx

      You should probably not live in co-op housing.

      • newman_goodmoon

        Tell me why I should not live in co-op housing?…is it because I share my own democratic views and opinions or is it because I share some of the facts about co-op housing for anyone to view?
        In my view, there are far too many self-serving stakeholders that lack the qualities we should expect from leadership in the non-profit co-op housing sector in Canada

        • dsmithhfx

          “Tell me why I should not live in co-op housing?”

          Because you obviously hate it? Hello?

          • newman_goodmoon

            Wrong answer. Its a **Love-Hate Relationship** – Do you live in co-op housing?…and do you support the inherent problems associated with co-op housing?…You are not in view as being opposed to the inherent problems with co-ops!

          • dsmithhfx

            So… what? You’re just in it for the cheap rent? Because I’m pretty sure that’s not what co-op housing is for.

          • newman_goodmoon

            Your responses to my comments are what should be expected from a imbecile…Our conversation is now over, so please don’t reply back with any unpleasent or rude comments.

          • dsmithhfx

            Have a great day!

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Calling someone an imbecile is pretty rude and/or unpleasant.

          • dsmithhfx

            Have a great day!

          • vampchick21

            Have some cheese.

        • Guest

          You don’t know anything about co-op housing. Fantasizing about it doesn’t count.

          • newman_goodmoon

            Your comment is nonsense…!

    • rich1299

      Actually the reason co-op housing hasn’t been built in recent years is do to gov’t cuts and not any problem with co-ops.

      • newman_goodmoon

        Economic policy in Canada has changed since 1995 and the economy has had its ups and downs. All levels of government understand non-profit co-op housing inherent problems that include conflicts of interest and fraud…and that’s the reason why so few co-ops have been built since the mid 1990′s Other types of so-called affordable housing options are available that can be less costly than co-ops.

        • john_willow

          Show one study that indicates these are problems.

          • newman_goodmoon

            That information can be found in my comments here, by checking my profile comments, and on my site ‘CO-OP HOUSING INFORMATION EXCHANGE’ with a google search. [ : > )

    • David Church

      I’ve read your blogs. You clearly have a personal axe to grind with the management of your own coop (which might be entirely justified.) But it’s not fair to suggest that all coops are equally problematic.

      • newman_goodmoon

        Most non-profit housing co-ops have associative difficulties related to the information that I shared. The information was taken from a research highlight and survey that was sponsored by CMHC. Thanks for making your point.

    • Kenn Kirby

      …..Or maybe there are so few Co-ops being “built” because for some strange reason the loan program was cancelled by conservative governments? The biggest problems with Co-op’s is for the land developers, because co-ops rarely sell ever. Therefore cannot be bought, raised, rebuilt into a ghastly condo tower with the exact same issues as you state co-op’s have.

      • newman_goodmoon

        CMHC now allows non-profit co-ops to pay-off their mortgage and get another mortgage that also covers much needed replacement & repairs through financial instutions such as credit unions. Members’ with **zero equity** place these co-ops at a greater risk to mismanagement and fraud…Government and the Private sector have no interest in building new co-ops like these because of a 35+ year track record these co-ops cannot support themselves without additional Taxpayer support…

        • Kenn Kirby

          Not all Co-op’s are as dysfunctional as the one(s) you’ve encountered. The one I lived in (78 units) had a few million in multiple savings accounts (for future expenses), a strong participation committee, the loan was a couple years from being paid off, I only paid $735 for a 2 bedroom, and only 1 employee. Also why would the Private sector have any interest in Co-op’s? The whole point of a Co-op is to cut out the landlord. This is not for profit housing. Your experience is yours, not everyones.

          • newman_goodmoon

            Private sector never had any interest in financing & building these type of co-ops, I just wanted to cover all bases. Although some condo(s) have struck agreements with some housing providers that allocate some condo units for RGI housing. I appreciate you sharing some information about your co-op experience and I have no doubt some are managed well

          • Kenn Kirby

            I took a look at some of your other writings Ken and have to say your facts and numbers are good and your obviously smarter than myself, but your style is so combative that you are quickly dismissed by those on your board. Your Co-op looks to be in pretty good condition and just needs a few repairs and some paint (as I see in the pictures). Getting along with the people you work and live with is the first step in progressing towards a goal. It seems from your writings you have burned some significant bridges at your Co-op as well as a few other Co-op websites. At what point do you look at the situation and wonder why it’s everybody else with the problem? My advice is to walk away from this issue and move (if you haven’t already), you’ll be happier for it. Don’t let this consume you anymore then it already has.

    • Axel

      None of those are ‘inherent’ to the structure of co-op housing.
      They are all potential problems in any management structure.

      • newman_goodmoon

        We can agree to disagree. Co-op housing stakeholders that pander to co-op board of directors and management define it as ‘inherent problems’. In my view, CHF Canada propagates this problem because of their personal self-interest to profit in the so-called non-profit co-op housing sector in Canada.

    • whatdo ithinkeh

      I wonder if a low income family was deprived of housing once Olivia and her husband moved into the government subsizided co-op. You know, an apartment that was built to house LOW INCOME FOLKS to being with and why it was subsidized by the taxpayer.

      • john_willow

        Wrong. They moved into a market-value unit that would have been rented to anyone regardless of income. No poor person was displaced for it because it wasn’t intended to be rented by someone who was poor. Their complex was not built just to subsidize low-rent units. You might try actually absorbing what the article said before raising all your red herrings.

  • mytwocentsworth

    Really??? Tell me more, please.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Citation needed, on both counts.

  • Notcleverguy

    After reading through all these comments, I really hope vampchick21 has not thrown away the impaling poll, I think we’re going to need it.

    • vampchick21

      I never throw it away.

      • Guest

        If you start impaling all the people who question the quality of journalism around here, you’ll have to impale yourself at least once a week.

        • vampchick21

          It’s good to have a hobby. :)

          • Notcleverguy

            This conversation made me curious, so now I know one name for an impaling pole is a, pfahl.

          • vampchick21

            In my head, that sounds like falafal.

          • Notcleverguy

            Mmmm falafal.

  • Shannon

    “Strictly speaking, though, every unit in most federally funded co-ops is
    to some extent subsidized by taxpayer money, whether the unit is
    designated as geared-to-income or market value.”

    Please elaborate. I’m a manager of a Section 95 co-op and I disagree with this statement. Co-ops have a mortgage payment and the housing charges of all units go into maintaining the building and paying off the mortgage. The federal government provides subsidies that go directly to reducing the cost of subsidized units, no where else. How exactly were Chow/Layton receiving a subsidy? As members living in the co-op, they were helping to pay off the mortgage of the non-profit co-operative corporation where they lived.

  • HotDang

    No, you are reading comprehension. Times infinity!

    • HotDang

      No tag backs.

  • Lloyd_Davis

    By the way, add anyone who has sold at least one principal residence in their lifetime to the ranks of those living in subsidized housing. No tax on the capital gain. Unlike so many other forms of income. Now, I’d say that John Tory, Karen Stintz and even David Soknacki live in rather handsome piles. (Whereas Mayor Ford’s residence would probably make a perfectly lovely tear-down.) They’ve probably even traded up at least once. As I’ve said elsewhere, the public teat gives more than one kind of milk.

  • vampchick21

    Did we revert to grade school? Again, learn to read and understand words. I know facts hurt your little brain, but you must move past that pain in order to grow as a human being who actually adds value to society.

  • vampchick21

    Are we the clever little one! you still don’t actually understand facts though, and your ‘comebacks’ such as they are need work.

    • dsmithhfx

      Harsh. But fair.

  • Rhonda Sussman

    The answer is “no”, but it’s complicated.

    • OgtheDim

      Except the author said the opposite.

  • Pseudanko

    My experience in co-op living is that there is always a disgruntled and somewhat loopy subset of members that loves to grumble for the sake of it.

  • Pseudanko

    To all of those still struggling to understand this issue, Co-op housing is NON-PROFIT housing. I know this makes some folks anxious, the idea of housing that doesn’t exist to make a profit for some landowner, but simply exists to benefit everyone who chooses to participate. But it’s why “market rent” at a co-op can be somewhat lower than in comparable FOR PROFIT housing where a landlord typically charges more than is required to cover mortgage and operating expenses and scoops the rest as profit.

    In a co-op, higher income members pay more than is required to cover the mortgage and operating costs of their units. Their rent directly subsidizes the rent of lower income members, who pay less than is required to cover the mortgage and operating expenses of their units. In some cases, the government also pays some housing subsidy for the lower income members’ units – subsidies that are far smaller than if they were paid to have those families in public housing. So the correct answer to the question posed in this article should have been Yes, but by participating, the Laytons were actually doing the lions’ share of the subsidizing.

    The result is a community where people with all different incomes live together in close proximity. Typically the members share the duties that other buildings charge for – from snow-removal and gardening, to book-keeping and self-governance. It is an entirely democratic way of living, and requires a time commitment from those who are members.

    Practically, this means children from lower income families grow up in a community with children from higher income families, which gives those lower income children access to social opportunities they do not have when they are relegated to ghettos. They cost Canada nothing, help those in need and produce stronger, more democratic communities. For obvious reasons, those who profit from poverty and inequality are revolted by them.

  • MaryL

    They paid the market value for the unit they lived is, as set by the co-op, from the day they moved in because their unit was never a subsidized unit.

    The housing charges for a co-op’s “market value” unit may be lower than the rent for a comparable unit in a for profit building because a co-op is non-profit: see Pseudanko’s excellent explanation above.

    The extra amount they paid a few months before they moved was, I think, a mistake:

    1) They were not required to pay it. Like the other people in the 70% market-value units, they were paying what the co-op had, as a whole, decided was a fair rate.

    2) It complicated the story then and now. A LOT of people read the $325 extra over the $800 all the people in market value units were paying as them finally paying the co-op what was fair. It wasn’t: it was a well-meaning but flawed attempt to pay what a FOR PROFIT unit in that neighbourhood would charge. It made it look as if they were doing something wrong for all those years, when they did exactly nothing wrong AND were doing their bit to create a healthy and flourishing co-op.

  • dsmithhfx

    Um… yes.

  • Pseudanko

    Oligarchy is poison to man’s will. That’s a fact.

    Fixed. You’re welcome.

  • Doug Earl

    Did they do crack there? Did they consort with criminals there? Did
    they get into a lot of drunken stupors and talk fake Jamaican and
    threaten to kill people? Was every word that came out of their mouth
    there a lie? While they were there, did they vote to cost the taxpayers
    of Toronto a billion dollars for a subway to Scarborough when the
    province was offering to build an LRT for free? Did they show up late
    for work every day for eight months because they were too hungover to
    get out of bed? Was their schedule of meetings absolutely blank for
    months on end? Did they fail to make allegiances with other
    municipalities to lobby for funding from other levels of government
    because they were too stupid to see the value of it to the city? Did
    they waste time running around on pothole calls instead of seeing to the
    important work of building a city?

    No? You mean all they did
    was live there legally, without contravening any kind of government
    policy whatsoever and without in any way preventing anyone deserving
    from accessing low-income housing in the same co-op?

    Well on its own merits–and by comparison to the sins of others–then it doesn’t really amount to a hill of beans does it?

  • Ian Coutts

    Subsidized housing neighbourhoods that do not allow or require a certain amount of non-subsidized residents is the definition of a ghetto.

    • TheSotSays

      “a certain amount of residents” ????

      Way to go Coutts! If she actually taught you to talk like that I’ll bet you might be able to recover legal damages from your incompetent NDP kindergarten teacher.

  • rich1299

    It amazes me how this is an issue for right wingers considering how comparatively little fuss was made over Ford’s use of tax payer money for his own personal benefit. Just by working P/T hours he was getting paid for doing personal things on the city’s time, you’d think the mayor of Canada’s largest city would be very busy putting in long hours but not Ford who wouldn’t even put in the minimum number of hours expected of anyone with a F/T job. He used city staff for his personal benefit even having them come to his house to change the batteries in his children’s toys! Besides his substance abuse issues and domestic problems what sort of father won’t even change the batteries in their own children’s toys? He treated city paid staff as if they were his personal servants instead of the city employees they were.

    Meanwhile Jack and Olivia have been demonized for almost 25 years now for living in a mixed income co-op. Its unbelievable to me how many comments this story has got but then considering this is the only hint, and its only a hint, of anything suspect in Olivia’s past its no wonder right wingers will make the most out of it they possibly can.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Their rate wasn’t subsidized in any way.

  • EDMUNDOCONNOR

    The bringing up of a story that is old enough to vote is a mark of the desperation by the other campaigns. If this the biggest and best story they have, a lot of people have heard it already. More than a few of them will be sickened by such attacks, and will be all the more ready (eager?) to donate to/vote for Olivia because of it. The other campaigns are smart enough to realize this, and have done a calculation: for every voter motivated to support Olivia (and who were never likely to vote for us anyway), we can probably scoop up more undecideds. It’s cynical politics, but it happens. The sheer venom and vitriol shows fear, though. Real fear.

    This article is useful, but it likely won’t reach anyone who hasn’t already made a decision of how they feel about this one way or another. The two sides amply demonstrated in the comments section are talking past each other. No minds will be changed, just a lot of keystrokes entered.

  • Zane Six

    this is going to be an ugly election showing us all exactly why politics suck.

  • baba2006

    This article defending Chow and Layton is missing the exact information that every article defending them is. Namely, who’s name was this apartment under? If it was Chow’s mother, the rent would have been geared to her income – not theirs. And if that was the case, although not illegal, it sure is walking a fine ethical line. This information should not be hard to find out, and until it is, this story is incomplete and this episode will remain suspicious. I have a feeling the answer to this is known, and is purposely not being reported.

    • Fear! Uncertainty! Doubt!

      Co-op housing market rates are not geared to income.

    • dsmithhfx

      What part of “paid market rent” don’t you understand? They were not in a subsidized unit. Why don’t you go talk about subways or ferris wheels or football or something?

      • baba2006

        Why so angry? I didn’t say anything about subsidised rent. I’m asking a legitimate question: who’s name was the apartment under? If it was the mom, the rent would be geared to her income. Would you be okay with that if that was the case?

        • MaryL

          They. Had. A. Market. Rate. Unit. The co-op clearly stated this at the time. There is no “rent geared to income” in co-ops: you get a market rate unit or a subsidized unit.

          • MaryL

            Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Layton#Toronto_City_Council

            “In response to the article, the co-op’s board argued that having mixed-income tenants was crucial to the success of co-ops, and that the laws deliberately set aside apartments for those willing to pay market rates, such as Layton and Chow.[37] During the late 1980s and early 1990s they maintained approximately 30% of their units as low income
            units and provided the rest at what they considered market rent.”

            [37] Kerr, Tom. “Co-op residents answer critics”. Toronto Star. July 19, 1990, p. A21.

        • dsmithhfx

          I wonder why you’re so angry about something that happened in the eighties, it’s really none of your business, yet here you are ranting and raving about it. Tell us about Rob beating his wife, smoking crack, and having a drug dealer babysit his kids. That’s a lot more recent, and perhaps more indicative of why someone should not hold elected office. In my opinion. What’s your view on that?

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          Market rate is geared to the market, not the income of the occupant, so stop intentionally obfuscating the issue. Dumb people have a hard enough time understanding the issue as it is without people like you suggesting impossible possibilities.

    • Orson

      Perfect example of the cognitive dissonance cons and racoon nation idiots suffer from. Faced with legitimate and verifiable facts that contradict their position, they just refuse the nature of reality because it collides with and explodes their own delusions. Reminds one of anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, birthers, conspiracy paranoia, and religious apologists.

    • Emmy

      All people living in a co-op unit must be reported to the co-ordinator/manager. Their income is also required and verified. There are many rules and procedures that all co-ops must follow. It is highly unlikely that any RGI
      co-op member could get away with allowing someone to live with them, especially ones as well know as the Laytons.
      Please, if you don’t know all the facts, don’t jump to false conclusions about co-operative housing.
      The Laytons did nothing unethical or immoral.

  • newman_goodmoon

    Based on your rude comment, perhaps you may be one of those CHF Canada or Federation ‘Fed-Head’ wannabes trolling Social Media in search of folks like me and others that don’t share some of your views! – Let this post be a warning to others who get attacked with disparaging language from those who are not objective about co-op housing and likely have politicical views from the far left.

    • dsmithhfx

      You mean pinkos?

      • newman_goodmoon

        Well, what do you mean exactly? Some may think a ‘pinko’ is a clit or prick that gets rubbed the wrong way too often in politicts! We know Olivia & Jack had bleed NDP orange in Ontario that are now trying to fool voters into believing ‘Orange’ is now looking like Liebrial ‘Red’. Jack & Chow from co-op housing to nearly free housing as official federal oppisition leader. Smiling Jack’s rub & tug days in the bawdy house…Jack-In-The-Box :: tinyurl.com/k6kaznr Chow or mayor campaign fundraiser…

        • dsmithhfx

          Whoa. A pervert as well as a loon. Keep digging!

          • newman_goodmoon

            Unfortunately, it was necessary to stup to your level in order to try and answer your question, so you may understand!

    • john_willow

      What makes you think brass from co-op housing are searching for your opinions about it on an online forum? You sound rather self-important.

      • newman_goodmoon

        You seem to have answered your own question and some…

  • ephena

    So just to be clear, Chow lived in a less expensive form of housing, saving money over buying a house that didn’t suit their needs, but she is a wasteful, over-spending pinko, who can’t manage money and will put us all into bankruptcy?

    • Mack Attack

      She also gave up on any profit she could have made by buying a home.

  • poniesinjudah

    Sorry Torontoist but your story suffers from confusions that make it wildly misleading. The correct answer to did Olivia Chow live in subsidized housing? is What’s subsidized housing?

    Answer : Nothing. That is not the name of any actual thing. So let’s start over.

    Did Chow live in “public housing”? (real name of a real thing. TCHC, Ontario Housing.)

    NO!

    Did she live in a government owned facility with people of all different income levels?

    NO! I don’t even think that exists.

    Did she live in a housing complex where the government made monthly payments to low income tenants that were tied to the apartments? The government writes a check every month for unit 205, but not for 306?

    NO! That doesn’t exist.

    Did she live in a building where some tenants got government money (don’t say ‘sudsidy’ say ‘money’. ‘Subsidy’ just confuses things) every month to help with rent?

    NO! That didn’t exist back then. Should exist now, and might do. But literally ANYONE could live in a building where someone was receiving that kind of assistance/money.

    Did Chow live in a privately owned housing complex?

    Yes. She lived in a private nonprofit housing COOP. Short for co-operative. A 19th century invention. It’s a business that the workers own, there are no shareholders so what would be profits for owners goes into a rainy day/capital improvements fund and into higher wages. In housing COOPS the money saved from not paying a profit to shareholders goes into lower rents. The “rents” people in housing COOPS are not really rents because the members own the buildings. In the real legal sense, not some hippie metaphorical sense. The money they pay each month is JUST to pay the mortgage, keep the rainy day fund in good shape and operating costs (water, etc).

    Did this magical COOP thing get money from the government every month to run, like it’s government funded right? Like the ballet?

    NO! It is privately owned by the members. Or we could call it the ‘board of directors’ if you prefer.

    But the government gives it special stuff right?

    NO! As a nonprofit the tax rate is different. But it is for the ballet too. And when the COOP is 1st built it gets loans or loan guarantees (= lower interest rate on bank loan) from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. As do charity nonprofits like churches that building housing. And as private citizens do when first time home buyers. So it’s a bargain from the government on a LOAN. It’s not funding, a gift or special.

    OK but every month the government’s housing department gave low income people who lived there money and Olivia somehow got some of that money and that’s what everyone is upset about right?

    NO! 1st there is no “government housing department”. There should be. The low income people who lived there brought whatever crappy income they had, say someone like me on disability for life, would have my money connected to ME not to the apartment. And I would be a full member of the COOP, despite putting less money in the kittie each month. MY money came from the government but I would decide to go be in the COOP. The government would not have gotten me the COOP place either. Another low income member isn’t even on social assistance. They just have a low paying job. Somebody else is a senior citizen on a combo of private pension and Canada Pension Plan. That doesn’t make the COOP a government program either.

    So how in this COOP system did Olivia Chow get government money?

    She didn’t.

    But how can the COOP have some people paying a reduced rate, no government money added in every month and not go broke? The ‘market rent’ people aren’t paying extra are they?

    Yep, they are. Apartment A in a forprofit building costs $1000 a month. That has to pay for the landlord’s mortgage, property and other taxes, capital repairs fund, hydro and water, staff and repairs. PLUS every month leave something left over: the profit. Including for big executive salaries in huge real estate corporations. Apartment B costs $1000 a month. That has to pay for the mortgage, lower taxes, capital repairs fund, hydro and water and repairs. No staff costs because the members do all that (and COOPS are often townhouse complexes so less janitorial work). And no need for something left over each month to give to shareholders. No big executive salaries as in giant real estate corporations. So the money leftover from apartment B’s $1000 is what pays the rest of the expenses (water, mortgage etc) for the apartments low income COOP members live in.

    So Chow was paying the full wack, so somebody like you, on disability could live there?

    Yes.

    So Olivia was subsidizing low income people and actually living beside them?

    What did I say about the word ‘subsidizing’? Olivia was putting more MONEY in the kittie than her share of water, mortgage etc. so some low income people could live in the clean, safe COOP instead of a slum.

    So Olivia Chow did not get government paid for housing? And did not get government money?

    Nope. No government housing. And not one dime.

  • KeithB

    This is a “campaign issue”?
    Really?!?!

  • thedingo8

    its not complicated at all… the market rent in coops like hazelburn is far less than similar privately rented units in the same area… and if they werent doing something totally immoral why did they move almost immediately?

    • dsmithhfx

      You’re right, it’s not complicated: they did nothing immoral, illegal or unethical. They didn’t smoke crack. They didn’t hire criminals to coach high school football. They didn’t hang with gang- bangers and drug dealers. They didn’t drink and drive. They didn’t get thrown out of a Maple Leafs game for being drunk and disorderly. They didn’t threaten to kill anybody on YouTube. They weren’t hashish dealers. They weren’t accused of spousal assault. Their staff didn’t all quit because they didn’t want to associate with a criminal element. They didn’t turn the city into an international laughing stock.

      Instead, they lived in a housing co-op where they paid market rent, set by the co-op so that higher-income tenants like Jack and Olivia could subsidize the rents of low-income tenants.

      Simple indeed.

      • thedingo8

        lol… and jacques wasnt a frequent abuser of oriental sex slaves.and you dont have a clue about social housing… so save your moronic serial outrage..

        • dsmithhfx

          You obviously don’t have a clue about co-op housing. Go back to your separatist rag…

          • thedingo8

            lol..the serial moron always demanding.. olivia chow quote “the average canadian is not capable of making a rational decision”…lol..you only aspire to be average..

          • dsmithhfx

            How many times have you pasted that? Fifty or sixty? (sorry if it’s a lot more, but that’s as far as I got in your sad record of posts)

            You’re quite the little troll.

            But the fact is, Jack Layton and Olivia Chow were helping lower-income tenants by paying market value in a housing co-op. Their rent wasn’t subsidized, they were subsidizing others’ rents. Get it?

            Protip: if you don’t understand a subject, don’t comment on it.

          • thedingo8

            lol…try taking your own advice… because you know nothing… and just cant wait to reiterate that fact… they were subsidizing others?… lol.south of the borderline imbecile..

          • OgtheDim

            Ur inability to understand nuance betrays a certain lack of depth of commitment to things.

            If I might suggest, consider that playing a knock off of Flappy Bird is maybe not a good warm up before discussing politics?

          • thedingo8

            politics? lol.. i was discussing morals… actually lack thereof …never mind nuance … you apparently missed that fact

          • poniesinjudah

            Morals?! Your username celebrates a tiny baby, a real person, being killed and eaten by a wild animal.

          • thedingo8

            lol…is that shiny pony? why bother replying when you have no point…oh you cant help being self absorbed.. ….lol… lack of morals seems to have been a constant theme from this dynasty of hypocrites..

          • dsmithhfx

            lol… ur a fule… lol… imbecile… lol…

            There, I just spared you your next ten posts. You can put down the pipe.

          • thedingo8

            a poignant reply will garner more credence than hours of blown smoke and denial….. south of the border…

          • dsmithhfx

            Come back when you can write a complete sentence. I won’t wait up.

          • TheSotSays

            It’s no surprise to see that your NDP username celebrates a most disgusting type of bestiality. I guess we better sic the PETA on you just to be on the safe side.

          • dsmithhfx

            ..

          • TheSotSays

            You must be a busy little troll scurrying around looking things up.

            Tell me this. With the increased activity on account of Mrs. Jumper Jack backing herself into the starting gate, did you get a raise? That old two bucks an hour doesn’t seem like much for an attentive little specimen like you.

            You could hardly buy a round of dandelion root sandwiches and sushi snotters with a meagre pay cheque like that.

          • dsmithhfx

            Whoa! Thumbs way up! Bet Rob let’s you scrape the crack pipe for that one. Or hoover the escalade floor mats for roaches. Careful what you smoke, those may be real insects! Bumbaclot!

          • TheSotSays

            Very nice heated leather seats in Rob’s caddy.

            It’s pretty easy see how you NDP flakes can adopt a hateful outlook on life when the most comfortable thing you have to sit on is that piece of 3 inch sewer pipe you use as a bicycle seat.

            Spandex parade tights and sewer pipe bicycle seats are also very tough on your prostate

      • TheSotSays

        What about Jumper Jack’s run in with the vice squad over at the Velvet Touch?

        • dsmithhfx

          Aw honey, haven’t you heard: Jack’s dead. And you need a new hobby.

          • TheSotSays

            The NDP is a sewer of mistakes but their biggest one was neglecting to send Jumper Jack to a taxidermist.

          • dsmithhfx

            Do try and sober up in time for the debate.

          • TheSotSays

            Great, I can hardly wait to hear Olivia Chow, TROC, telling everyone that she’s committed 100% to attending the parade.

          • dsmithhfx

            Olivia’s not running for PM.

          • TheSotSays

            That’s too bad because with Warren Kinsella on board she might win that one.

            I notice he has her adopting a number of Chretien characteristics and like the great man himself she could easily be described as being illiterate in both French and English.

          • dsmithhfx

            Are you afraid of Olivia? This is well over the top.

          • TheSotSays

            Afraid of Olivia ??????

            No, I don’t think so. She looks to have been ignored by the Mulcair camp and by resigning has failed to fulfill her electoral obligations to her constituents.

            The voters will realize she’s just put the taxpayers to the cost of a by-election, that she and her late husband were the amongst the biggest expense account plunderers in Ottawa, that the last time she was here she got kicked off the Police Commission and that her actions with respect to public housing are questionable.

            I think she’s toast and well she should be.

          • dsmithhfx

            OK, well you go back to skinning armadillos or whatever it is you do for a living.

          • TheSotSays

            Ah merci bien mon petit moron marxiste.

          • dsmithhfx

            “Ah merci bien mon petit moron marxiste.”

            Cute, a Péladeau quote!

          • TheSotSays

            Peladeau ?????

            You are thick aren’t you? My illiteracy in French is equalled only by Olivia Chow and Jean Chretien.

  • poniesinjudah

    Errata
    Sorry to post yet again. (I made the second better post when I thought the first had disappeared.) And sorry for my error.
    In my dialog form post I have the question asker describe a housing complex where the “government made monthly payments to low income tenants that were tied to the apartments”. And I say that doesn’t exist. Apparently it does. Shannon in her comment describes that and I checked it on the COOP association website. Ironic I didn’t know that since I’m eligible for it!

    So did Olivia Chow live in a PRIVATELY OWNED housing complex where the government made monthly payments to low income TENANTS?

    No. She lived in one where the government made monthly payments TO THE COOP. The payments were the difference between what the low income person paid and the COOP’s own monthly charge. If the low income person is me they’d charge me the “shelter allowance” section of my monthly disability check. It’s actually itemized that way. The shelter amount now is $479. So if the COOP’s normal charge is $1000 the government would pay $521 a month TO THE COOP. Unless Olivia did the accounts she would have no contact with that money.

    But she had one of THOSE apartments right? WITH the government money? If not what are people so cheesed off about?

    She didn’t have one of THOSE apartments. The payments were tied to the apartments. Some were low income. The COOP organization unhelpfully calls it “modest income” but they mean low. Olivia lived in a REGULAR PRICE unit. People in the COOPS don’t switch around between units. You come in as full price you stay there. If a low income person’s income increased (like they got married or became a welder) would the COOP kick them out? I don’t know, I think so. And the government money would either drop or end. But OLIVIA ‘S status was never going to change because she was in the regular priced unit. The physical apartments were the same no matter where the money came from.

    So did Olivia help pay the low income members costs?

    Not as much as I thought. The low income members were putting the same amount in the kittie each month as the other members. Which as a poor person I have to admit I think is phenomenal and great. What Olivia and the other COOP members did for low income people was create a non slummy safe place to live. By having a lowish full price rate they did save someone money: the government. If the unit was $1200 a month with my shelter amount the government would pay $721. And the government is only willing to give people “rent money” vs living in a TCHC building because COOPS are nonprofit.

    But the government sets the price for the “full price” units and the are NOT for wealthy people right?

    NO! The COOP owns itself, it is private property and can charge what it wants and have existed for over a hundred years without the government payments/low income people thing. What COOPS want is people who embrace COOP spirit. If you are living below your means they don’t care.

    Then why did Olivia and Jack start paying more?

    Political pressure. They shouldn’t have.

    But if they have more shouldn’t they give more?

    They could have given one whopping donation to the COOP’S roof fund. But COOPS exist for self ownership, pleasant surroundings, egalitarianism, security of tenure and as a force against rent inflation. Which in the 1980s was phenomenal. They don’t exist to redistribute income. The income tax is supposed to do that. Also COOP’S are private property. This kind (one of many) is one of the non-capital kind. The capital type of COOP, ones you have to invest a big chunk of money in, are usually called by a different name: condos.

  • MaryL

    You are ignorant. Members paying the co-op’s market rent for a unit don’t need to use anyone else’s name and income to qualify.

    • TheSotSays

      What about the federal mortgage subsidy the building received as a result of being designated low income.

      It amounted to several hundred dollars a month for their 3 bedroom unit and they benefited from it for the entire 5 or 6 years they lived there.

      After they were humiliated in the press they coughed up for 2 or 3 months and them moved out. Maybe they moved because their new digs were closer to Jack’s local “clinic.”

      • dsmithhfx

        Did you ever wonder whether the Sun is a separatist plot to make TROC really, really stupid? Well, you’re living proof.

        • TheSotSays

          TROC ??????

          That’s apparently tinker talk for something. Is it some sort of wacko social engineering ddiploma from York University?

          Olivia Chow, TROC

          • dsmithhfx

            The persecution rests…

      • vampchick21

        Are you truly that bloody stupid? Since all the valid, factual information that will show your post to be utterly moronic are just an easy scroll down away (have someone smarter than you explain anything you don’t understand – which would probably be everything written), I’m not going to bother repeating the words of others.

        I’m just going to point at you and laugh.

        • TheSotSays

          “Point at me” ??? Which direction are you pointing right now toots?

          This woman Chow is a leftoid wacko who was loopy enough to have married Jumper Jack

          The biggest laugh at the moment is the NDP spin in every newspaper blog in Canada. Olivia and “Jack” weren’t diddling the low income housing project they were making a sacrificial contribution to keeping the cost lower for the poor people.

          What a laugh. You have to hand it to Warren Kinsella; he’s an expert at polishing political weirdos and he does it with a fine sense of humour.

          • vampchick21

            Yup. You’re an idiot. Congrats! That’s hard to do.

          • TheSotSays

            “Yup” – ????

            Is that NDP Olivia speak for “yes.?”

            Maybe that will work out OK for you. Kinsella managed to get Chretien elected and he too was illiterate in both official languages.

          • vampchick21

            So everyone who doesn’t agree with whatever idiocy you’re spouting is an automatic NDP supporter. Yay. Aren’t you the special little guy? (PS: I’m sure CAMH can treat whatever ails your overworked little brain)

          • TheSotSays

            “CAMH” ???? That must refer to another of those wacko two-bit social engineering diplomas from York University.

            Olivia Chow, CAMH

          • vampchick21

            Idiot. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. AKA – the looney bin, where you belong. Now go away before I taunt you a second time, you empty headed animal
            food trough whopper!

          • TheSotSays

            Ah so I was right?
            Olivia Chow, CAMH and with her loving spouse they were a power couple to be admired

            Olivia Chow, CAMH and Jumper Jack, OVT (Order of the Velvet Touch)

          • vampchick21

            Now WTF are you babbling about? Go start a blog from your mom’s basement and leave society alone already. You bore me now.

          • dsmithhfx

            You’re not from around here. I’m thinking you must be a teabagger. Look it up, you seem to have a pretty limited vocabulary.

          • vampchick21

            I think it’s from under a rock or something.

          • dsmithhfx

            I’m thinking Idaho survivalist bunker.

          • TheSotSays

            Shouldn’t you be off somewhere getting ready for summer by cutting the seat out of your parade pants.

          • dsmithhfx

            I don’t need a parade to moon you, big boy!

          • TheSotSays

            Well as long as you don’t bring Olivia with you. I don’t want to have to look at anything that Rubber Jack looked at.

            For health reasons I’d rather look at the butt end of an armadillo.

          • dsmithhfx

            “I’d rather look at the butt end of an armadillo”

            I’ve no doubt you will.

          • TheSotSays

            An NDP troll with a reading disability must be a laugh at it’s kindergarten reunions.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            If you’re going to troll someone by claiming they are somehow deficient in language you might first learn the difference between “it’s” and “its”.

          • OgtheDim

            Now I know who you are.

            Got bored of the Sun, oh sock puppet one?

          • TheSotSays

            No no it’s not a sock puppet. It’s an NDP Fluffy Mitt. You get them from either Gord Perks or Don Peat.

          • OgtheDim

            Nah, I recognise the writing style.

            I give you about 8 hours before you get bored on here.

          • TheSotSays

            Interesting, you and playtheguitar both got canned over there did you?

          • OgtheDim

            No idea who that is. I’m me wherever I go.

          • TheSotSays

            You’re certainly not known for clear thinking; but not from around where, exactly?

          • OgtheDim

            “Yup” was used on Red Green.

            You gotta a problem with Red Green, you gotta problem with being Canadian.

            Do you prefer a chai latte at ur Starbucks or a Mochachino?

  • TheSotSays

    There’s plenty more but it won’t be needed. The fact of being married to Jumper Jack would disqualify anyone in the Country..

    • dsmithhfx

      Are you working for Olivia or Tory? Because folks like you give Ford Nayshun a very, very bad name. I’d like to think it’s undeserved but, well, there you go again.

      • TheSotSays

        “I’d like to think” says the NDP troll.

        When was the last time you ever had a clear thought about anything?

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Qualify for what? They weren’t in a subsidized unit.

  • Leon

    I volunteered at CCNC in the Chinese Community in my High School years and met this woman. She basically said to all the females that “men were useless and easily temped”.

    I have never felt the same ever since. She will use your tax dollars on needless stuff and increase taxes to cover it. That’s just her way.

    • dsmithhfx

      “I volunteered at CCNC in the Chinese Community in my High School years and met this woman. She basically said to all the females that “men were useless and easily temped”.

      I have never felt the same ever since. She will use your tax dollars on needless stuff and increase taxes to cover it. That’s just her way.”

      Hilarious! Did you just make that up?

      • Leon

        You are funny you can ask Esther yip of wood green and Barrett chow of ccnc if they are still working there. I have direct behind the scene experience with this woman and it’s not a pleasent one. Both part of the Chinese community. She literally said men were useless and then I was glaring at her then she point me out and made me look like a fool so I remember that for life.

      • TheSotSays

        She’s a flake, a nasty one. The federal NDP rigged the Toronto mayoralty poles to suck her into resigning so they could get rid of her. .

    • dsmithhfx

      “She will use your tax dollars on needless stuff and increase taxes to cover it.”

      You mean she’d increase taxes by a billion dollars to pay for a subway we don’t need !? Good lord what a fool!

      • Leon

        I never said that, you said that. The only fool is yourself.

        The subway is not the problem. The problem is the amount of time spent + money. If Taiwan can build their subways in less than 6 months and have a full-fledged system but Toronto take 5-6 years. How much is the tax dollars wasted?

        You are a fool and a socialist and I know you wouldn’t spare your dollars to the poor. You’d probably say no i help the poor man, i give them a dollar, that’s not helping them if you wanted to help them give them 500$ then you’ll probably walk away because that’s just how socialists are.

        • dsmithhfx

          You predicted Chow would do something Ford has already done: waste money and raise taxes.

          It is the Fords that want to raise a billion dollars in new taxes to pay for something we don’t want or need. Why? They think it will buy them votes in Scarborough (it won’t).

          This isn’t Taiwan. Rob Ford has had almost 4 years to build subways. By your standard, he should have built 7 or 8 new subways by now. He hasn’t even started one.

          It is the Fords who show up at TCHC, throw a handful of $20s and run away. Then at City Hall they vote against programs to help the poor.

          So again, you accuse me of the Fords’ sins, without any evidence to back it up.

          You are confused, hypocritical, and a liar. Please stop posting lies.

          • TheSotSays

            C-H-O-W
            T-O-A-S-T

          • dsmithhfx

            Why does Olivia frighten you?

          • Leon

            I’m not confused. You are confused with reality.

            You have zero understanding of economics and you’re here perching salvation for the poor. The reason the poor is poorer is because of people like you that wants everything with subsidy.

            This isn’t Taiwan because it’s worse. The TTC didn’t get anywhere because it is a public transit. Bring it back to the private sector you will see evolution like none other before.

            You just like things that are shoved down your throat as long as you feel it’s right without understanding the underlining implication the society as a whole and in a long term scale that will affect generations to come.

            It is because of people like you that has caused the country to be in billion dollars of debt. Start doing the right thing instead of looking at things you “think” is right at “this” time, when in the future you destroyed your children’s future.

  • Mark

    If this was Ford who did this the media would go crazy . Does it not even seem a bit suspicious to anyone else that everything Ford does is broadcast and all after he changed the garbage contract in the west to GFL . Am I the only one who sees media manipulation here . Ford is not the one embarrassing Toronto it is cupe doing it .

    • dsmithhfx

      “If this was Ford who did this the media would go crazy”

      If Ford lived in coop housing the media would go crazy? No.

      The stuff Ford has done is truly beyond the pale. The media would be derelict not to report it. He seems to love the publicity, going on late night US tv shows etc. Can’t have it both ways. CUPE has nothing to do with it.

      • TheSotSays

        “Beyond the pale” ??????

        Have you ever consulted with a Psycholinguist?

  • whatdo ithinkeh

    This article and this program do NOT make any sense at all to me and if it does make sense to government politicians then they really do need to have their heads examined. IF provincial and federal government PAY TO BUILD CO-OPS for low income folks THEN WHY DO THEY ALLOW HIGH INCOME EARNERS TO LIVE THERE AT ALL when there are so many low income earners around to begin with and NO, I do not believe that mixing high income earners who get these breaks with the low income earners benefits ANYONE AT ALL because then the low income folks get envious of the high income earners who have more money to spend on luxury than on necessity. This is just another one of those bloody idiotic idea that came out of a now DYSFUNCTIONAL GOVERNMENT.

    • dsmithhfx

      Yes, the Harper government is clearly dysfunctional. But don’t worry your pretty little head, we’ll soon be rid of it.

  • john_willow

    Unfortunately, besides undocumented accusations that Chow is a wild spender, the only thing right-wingers have going for themselves is the ongoing mantra that Chow ripped off public housing. They cannot let go of this fantasy. They will cling on to it no matter how much you demonstrate that there is no logic to their claims.