): Mr. Speaker, five minutes is not much to talk about the issue of social housing. I can see that the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party have more or less the same view on this issue, which is nevertheless important for the Canadian and Quebec population as a whole.
When I am given the list of repairs that have been done in social housing that already exists, I have to believe that there have been some. Still, what we want to deal with in this bill is not only the renovation and restoration of already existing housing, which dates to before 1994. Of course attention is required when roofs leak, hot water heaters have to be replaced and windows are broken. So 1% of expenditures for all government programs, or $2 billion, goes to pay social housing mortgages that already exist, as well as repairs.
What Bill C-285 is seeking is new social housing. When we look at the situation, there are 450,000 households in Quebec that need social housing and $1.7 million in all of Canada. Why? Because families are living below the poverty line. Families are living with annual incomes of $10,000, $15,000 and $20,000. We know there has been an increase, in all the large Canadian cities and in Quebec, in the cost of housing and rental housing. Rents are higher. So families cannot find affordable housing, social housing.
The Conservatives share the same view as the Liberal Party. They say that we cannot go looking for money from the CMHC in spite of its surpluses because, we are told, it needs its reserves.
I think that the Bloc Québécois is responsible enough to recognize that reserves are necessary. Even the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions says that it could keep 1% of its capital. If the CMHC has $233 billion in loan guarantees, there could be 1%, which would mean over $2 billion in reserve. The $2 billion remaining could be transferred to social housing.
They try to pass us off as people who lack common sense, who wanted to strangle CMHC, while it could also have a reserve.
I believe that there are urgent needs. We know that CMHC is not a private business but a crown corporation. It must return to its social mission. That is what we are asking for.
To respect its social mission, CMHC could ensure that more Canadians have access to decent housing with the money available in their budgets, which is often very limited.
Often, when a person does not have much money, housing is too expensive; if you earn a low salary and are not able to pay for it. Living accommodations cost at least $450, $500 or $600. Many people living alone cannot afford that on their salary or pension. They need help. In any case, there must be a sense of sharing, a feeling of community, and a social sense to be able to help all the people in that situation get decent housing.
I think it is a slight exaggeration when people say that the Bloc Québécois wants to take all the money, all the assets of CMHC, for affordable housing. I would like to bring CMHC back to a more social vision. I am not surprised by the position of the Conservative party. As for the Liberal party, when they were in power they did nothing; they ignored the problem.
I remind the member who just spoke that 1.7 million people in Canada need social housing. I ask the member who just spoke to lean a little more to the left, to have a heart that is a little more sensitive to the reality of people who often live in housing that is not only unaffordable but also unhealthy because they cannot get anything better.
In looking at my colleague, I realize that what I am saying does not arouse in him the least sensitivity toward the situation. I have the feeling that I am talking to a blank wall.