HANSARD: Will the minister initiate a Vancouver Agreement bringing all levels of government together to address the crisis in DTES?

Opposition Motion—Bail Reform
Business of Supply
Government Orders
February 2nd, 2023 / 11:10 a.m.

Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was glad to hear that the minister wants to engage in addressing the causes of crime. 

In my riding of Vancouver East, and particularly in the Downtown Eastside, we have a major homelessness crisis. We have people with mental health issues who cannot get mental health supports. We have people with an addiction issue who cannot get support or treatment on demand. People are dying in the community. The fallout of that is that it impacts the entire community in all its ways.

Will the minister support and will he have the government initiate what had been done before, which was the Vancouver agreement, bringing all levels of government together, working together, to address the crisis in the Downtown Eastside? That is a possible approach to bringing forward solutions to the problem.

Marco Mendicino Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, the short answer is yes. In fact, I have met with battered women's groups and shelters in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. We have met with municipal leadership there. I had the chance to meet with the new mayor. We are looking forward to being able to make, I hope in the not too distant future, some announcements around the building safer communities fund, which speaks to the core of our issue around prevention to address the systemic issues that have far too long plagued our justice system.

We need to ensure that we put an appropriate focus and emphasis on those who have been marginalized: women, members of the 2SLGBTQI community, indigenous peoples, racialized Canadians. That has to be part of this debate, and that is precisely what this government will do. Let us keep all Canadians safe.

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