HANSARD: Call for the government to stop the loss of affordable housing units to the private market

House of Commons Hansard #242 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session
Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings
October 30th, 2023 / 4:50 p.m.

Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I, too, was at that committee and listened to both the representatives from CMHC, as well as various experts on the issue.

One of the issues that shocked me was to hear the now former CEO of CMHC saying that the government's goal of ensuring that housing is a basic human right is aspirational. Of course, we also know that the government's own track record has been missing the mark in addressing the homelessness crisis, as well the overall affordability crisis in housing for people in Canada.

One of the things that both the Liberals and Conservatives refuse to acknowledge is the financialization of housing. Would the member support the call for the government to say that we have to stop the loss of affordable housing units to the private market, where they come in and buy up low-cost rental apartments, then jack up the rent and renovict people, displacing people and escalating the housing crisis?

Louise Chabot Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I agree with most of what my colleague just said. Housing really should be seen as a right, just like food. Food and shelter are basic needs and every individual's right.

We have a collective responsibility as a society to ensure that everyone has a roof over their head, that everyone has safe, decent, quality housing. That is our collective responsibility. However, as long as housing is seen through a monetary lens, a market lens, we will not reach that goal because the market is there to make a profit.

We must not vilify the private sector. We need construction. However, we need to build housing that is actually affordable. We are falling far short on that front because a completely different approach is needed.

If there is a direction that should be taken, it is the one we have been calling for, the one that I think my colleague and I agreed on: If we want to address the current housing crisis, we need to be able to recover private markets and provide housing through non-profit organizations and housing co-operatives. We need to acquire these markets to ensure affordability.

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HANSARD: Foreign Interference and Alleged Reputational Harm to Members of Parliament

Outside this chamber, just yesterday, there were individuals shouting, questioning and jeering about who the traitors may be. Members of Parliament had to walk past these individuals on the members' way to the House to do their work. I believe we must find a way to disclose which MPs are knowingly, intentionally, wittingly or semi-wittingly engaging with foreign states or their proxies to undermine Canada's democratic processes and institutions. I believe this can be done in a way that does not compromise national security.

If there are no consequences for MPs who knowingly help foreign governments act against Canadian interests, we will continue to be an easy target. This will further erode the trust and faith Canadians have in our democratic processes. If allowed to continue, it will further impugn the integrity of the House. Revealing any member of Parliament, former or present, who is a willing participant in foreign interference activities would have the effect of deterring this kind of behaviour. Moreover, it would send a clear message to those foreign states that this cannot continue and that they will not be able to continue to use parliamentarians in this way. This will further reassure the public of the integrity of the House.

I strongly believe that the House should refer the matter to the procedure and House affairs committee. A possible way to deal with the issue would be for committee members to undergo the necessary security screening to examine the unredacted report and look into the allegations about parliamentarians who were “‘witting or semi-witting’ participants in the efforts of foreign states to interfere in our politics.” We could allow the named parliamentarians to be informed and to come before the committee as witnesses; we could then explore options on how to disclose the named parliamentarians without compromising national security or police investigations of the matter.

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