On March 10, 2020, I rose to follow up on the need for the allocation of the necessary additional funds to support the national housing strategy in Budget 2020 and action for a urban, rural and northern indigenous housing strategy led by and for indigenous peoples:
"Mr. Speaker, when I rose to ask the Prime Minister about the failures of his national housing strategy, including the glaring absence of a housing strategy that would be led by indigenous people for rural, urban and northern indigenous people, I received the usual meaningless talking points, despite the Liberals pledge in 2017 with the introduction of the national housing strategy to address the housing crisis for Inuit, Métis and first nations people.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development even said on the public record that the Liberals were committed to a separate national urban indigenous housing strategy by and for urban indigenous people. However, years later there is still no action.
Aboriginal people in Canada are 10 times more likely than non-aboriginal people to become homeless. When I pointed out that 40% of the homeless population in Vancouver was indigenous people, the Prime Minister was busy patting himself on the back with self-congratulatory rhetoric that I do not even think he realized how severe the housing crisis was and how grossly disproportionate it was effecting urban, rural and northern indigenous communities.
Across the country, indigenous peoples are experiencing the highest levels of poverty, with a shocking 25% of indigenous people living in poverty, despite making up only 5% of Canada's population. High poverty rates for indigenous people are part of the continued legacy of colonization. Ignoring the housing crisis they are facing will only result in having these numbers increase and further perpetuate the impact of colonization.
With a staggering 87% of indigenous households not living on reserve lands, we need to have an affordable housing strategy to address the needs of indigenous people living in the rural, urban and northern parts of Canada. It is a matter of urgency requiring immediate action that is consistent with international human rights law.
This strategic approach must be founded upon cultural-based practice and action, led by indigenous people for indigenous people. No more kicking the can down the road. Canadians need to see the allocation of the necessary funds to support the national housing strategy in budget 2020 and action for a urban, rural and northern indigenous housing strategy led by and for indigenous peoples. The government promised to do better, Canadians expected better and the government must do better."