HANSARD: Jenny pushes to stop penalizing people on income and disability assistance

House of Commons Debate
Oral Questions
February 17th, 2023 / 12:05 p.m.


Jenny Kwan (NDP) Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, New Democrats pushed the Liberals to deliver a one-time $500 housing benefit to low-income renters, but now the Liberals are saying that people on income assistance or disability assistance, whose rent is paid directly to landlords, are not eligible. They are among the most vulnerable in our community. We are in the middle of a housing crisis, and families are struggling to afford to buy food with the rising cost of living.

They need this help now. Will the Liberals stop penalizing people on income assistance or disability assistance and withdraw this discriminatory requirement?


Soraya Martinez Ferrada (NDP) Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion (Housing)

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her work on housing, particularly with regard to the benefit and the $500 top-up that we introduced.

There has been no change to the eligibility criteria that all of us agreed on last October, with the exception of the Conservatives. I look forward to working with the member to ensure that the benefit will go to those most in need.



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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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