HANSARD: Will Liberals stop corporations from getting their hands on more low-cost rental homes with a moratorium and help non-profits secure these homes with an acquisition fund?

Debates of May 18th, 2023, 2:30 p.m.
House of Commons Hansard #200 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session
Oral Questions

Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, giant housing corporations are treating people's homes like a stock market and evicting long-time tenants to jack up rents. The Minister of Housing thinks a 1% tax on empty homes and a two-year ban on foreign investments will solve the housing crisis. He is wrong.

The housing advocate says these Liberal half-measures are dangerous and short-sighted. Financial firms already own 20% to 30% of the rental stock.

Will the Liberals stop corporations from getting their hands on more low-cost rental homes with a moratorium and help non-profits secure these homes with an acquisition fund?

Ahmed Hussen Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is denying the fact that we are the party in office that brought in the Canada housing benefit, a plan to support renters across the country that is currently helping tens of thousands of vulnerable renters. In addition to that, we have legislated an annual 1% tax on vacant non-Canadian residential real estate as well as a two-year ban on foreign investments in Canadian residential real estate. We are also reviewing the tax treatment of real estate investment trusts.

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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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