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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