Mr. Speaker, I have two fundamental questions. The first one concerns the issue of housing.
For many years, the previous government and now the present government seem to face a crisis over the ability to enable or allow first nations to develop new ways to create housing within the reserve system. I am talking about on reserve bands.
When I look across my region, the housing crisis is being predicated and continued by a government policy that says that houses must be paid for and built by the federal government, using figures from, in some cases, 1989, as if housing prices have not changed since then. It also does now allow any innovative programs that would allow local first nations to combine with training facilities and training institutions to actually build the houses themselves and start to create those programs and training opportunities that first nations need and create the houses that would be more practical and applicable.
We have houses designed in Ontario for the west coast of British Columbia. These houses quickly mould and fall apart. Non-aboriginal Canadians look at this and somehow point back to the first nations as if they had designed and built those houses themselves.
My second question is perhaps a more fundamental one. What efforts has the member or his party made to look at the root cause of this? Is it the Indian Act. In his comments, he mentioned how the act was an anchor around the ankles of first nations people. The act, which was created decades ago, has very little in it that is applicable to the real world and yet no one seems to want to take a real march toward reforming the Indian Act. Any attempts that have been made have been pushed back.
The previous Indian affairs minister and I had some conversations about reforming the act but, apparently, that did not advance anywhere. I am wondering what the member's views are on both of those issues, both the practical in terms of housing but then the more fundamental, which is changing the very act under which first nations people are forced to live.