Amidst the much celebrated economic boom in Alberta, more and more people are faced with the dire problem of not having affordable housing. Dramatic rent increases and the rise in the cost of living have pushed many Albertans to the brink of poverty.

It is disgusting that in the midst of this housing crisis, developers and speculators are exploiting the situation to make the most profit in the shortest amount of time. Instead of building affordable housing, the developers choose to build 400k-500k houses because it is more profitable. More and more apartments are being turned into high-end condos and businesses. And landlords are competing with each other to increase their rents to an unheard of level.

In response to this, people are demanding rent control, a moratorium on condo conversion, and development of lower-income housing. The Alberta Conservative government, being the mouthpiece of landlords and developers, reject these demands and threaten Albertans by saying that such demands will push developers to pull out their investments, thus furthering the crisis. This goes to show that the developers, along with the government, have no real interest in providing housing to the people; their real interest is mere profit.

We cannot leave such a basic human necessity as housing in the hands of a small privileged group of capitalist landlords and developers. Their interests do not lie with the people, but instead with their own profit. The only true way to fight this housing crisis for today and tomorrow is to fight for universal housing. Only when we the people own and control the housing industry democratically on the basic idea of each according to his/her ability and need can we eliminate the housing crisis and the parasitic grip of the landlords and housing corporations.

40 years ago, working class Canadians won our first major battle for Universal health care, ensuring that each person has access to healthcare regardless of their race, gender, income, and class. This has helped improve the living standards of all Canadians. Today, we must once again raise the battle cry and fight for Universal housing, where society guarantees that each person regardless of their race, gender, income, and class has access to adequate housing.