House of Commons Hansard #39 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was producers.


Indian Oil and Gas ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Some hon. members


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The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed)

Indian Oil and Gas ActGovernment Orders

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Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I ask that you see the clock at 5:30 p.m.

Indian Oil and Gas ActGovernment Orders

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The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Is that agreed?

Indian Oil and Gas ActGovernment Orders

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Some hon. members


Indian Oil and Gas ActGovernment Orders

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The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private member's bill as listed on today's order paper.

Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing ActPrivate Members' Business

April 2nd, 2009 / 5 p.m.


Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

moved that Bill C-304, An Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Madam Speaker, first, I would like to thank the member for Halifax for seconding the bill. The member is new in the House, but before she arrived here, she already had a terrific record of working in Halifax with anti-poverty organizations and for housing. Her presence is very welcomed in the House. She is a great advocate not only in Halifax, but across the country. She is also our housing critic. I am very proud she has seconded my bill and has been very supportive to get the word and information out about the bill. We think it is a pretty darned good bill.

When I was first elected to the House in 1997, one of the key issues I brought forward, as the member for Vancouver East, was the critical need for social housing and for affordable housing, not only in Vancouver but across the country. That seems like a long time ago. I feel we have had so many steps going backwards and only a few baby steps going forward.

I want to begin my comments about my bill by pointing out that Canada used to have a sterling record when it came to the provision of affordable housing. We had many good federal programs, whether it was for co-op housing, social housing or special needs housing. There were great programs through CMHC during the 1970s and the 1980s, even going back to the end of the second world war when the vets' housing was built in cities across the country. The federal government always had an incredibly strong presence in the provision of housing. It was seen as a responsible mandate of the federal government.

Regrettably, that all changed in the early 1990s, when a then Liberal government decided that it wanted to get out of the housing business. Ever since then, it has been an unfolding disaster across the country. Therefore, many of us today now represent communities where we see the travesty of growing homelessness. People are sleeping on the streets or living with housing insecurity. Working families cannot afford rents. Seniors are very insecure in their housing. The situation has deteriorated for people with disabilities and certainly for the aboriginal communities both on-reserve and off-reserve. That is all because of public policy. It was deliberate public policy to end those housing programs and offload it to the provinces. As a result, we have seen a dramatic increase in homelessness and lack of housing security.

As it stands today, about three million Canadian households live in housing insecurity, paying more than 30% of their income toward housing. That is the measure used by CMHC.

Canada is the only major country in the industrialized world without a national housing strategy. In fact, we have fallen far behind most other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, in our level of investment in affordable housing. We have one of the smallest social housing sectors now among developed countries. However, we still have tremendous expertise across the country in developing social housing and affordable housing.

We find that fewer Canadians are qualifying for the higher cost of home ownership. This issue really comes home to roost in an economic recession. People have failing mortgages. Some people's financing was arranged through sub-prime mortgages.

Over the years, we have seen a very piecemeal approach to housing. While we saw a few initiatives in the late 1990s toward a homelessness strategy, there was never a recognition by the previous government, or the current government, that this was a mandate of the federal government.

The bill before us today says to the federal government that we must develop that national housing strategy and that we should work in partnership with the provinces, territories, Quebec, first nations and municipalities. A great amount of expertise exists, but it needs federal leadership and an overall strategy to ensure the resource is fully developed.

My will bill speaks to that. It calls on the minister to convene discussions with the various stakeholders to develop such a national strategy to ensure there is adequate housing. In this day and age, where we see such severe problems, this is very critical.

I know that in Quebec there have been some really excellent programs developed. I do want to acknowledge the very good work that has been done there over the years. We often point to Quebec as an example of what can be done in the development of good social housing and co-op housing.

I am hoping that if this bill can move forward on second reading and into committee, that we will have the support from the government, certainly from Liberal members, many of whom have a great interest in this issue, and also from members of the Bloc Québécois.

I do want to make it clear that my intent and commitment, should it go through second reading and into committee, is to ensure that there is an amendment along the lines that would recognize the unique nature of the jurisdiction of the Government of Quebec with regard to social housing in Quebec, and notwithstanding any other provision of this act the Government of Quebec may choose to be exempted from the application of this act, and should the development of a national housing strategy cause to be created a transfer of funds to the provinces and territories, the Government of Quebec may choose to be exempted from the strategy, and notwithstanding any such decision shall receive in full any transfer payment arising from the implementation of the strategy.

Now we are not at that point yet because we are talking about the development of a plan and a strategy, but I did want to make it clear to my friends in the Bloc that we are hoping for their support, recognizing the unique nature of the jurisdiction of Quebec.

I also want to point out that there are many initiatives underway across the country. For example, this Saturday in Vancouver there is a grand march for housing. This is organized by the city-wide housing coalition. It is really a manifestation of the incredible anxiety that people are facing. Certainly, within low income communities, like the downtown eastside, groups like the Carnegie Community Action Project have done a lot of work to draw attention to the housing crisis in that neighbourhood, a neighbourhood that I represent as a member of Parliament.

This is now a crisis that has gone right across the city. It is affecting renters in the west end, in Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant, and South Vancouver. We have such a severe situation in Vancouver, with an almost zero vacancy rate, that people are now crying out for every level of government to see this as a key priority, not only socially in terms of providing for this most basic of human rights, the right to adequate shelter, but also as an economic stimulus. I cannot think of a better way to create good Canadian jobs than having a good investment in social housing.

In Vancouver, there is going to be a huge march with thousands of people in our city calling on all levels of government to work together. My bill today is an example and a reflection of what could be done if we have the will to do it.

I know that organizations like the Wellesley Institute and Michael Shapcott have done so much work on housing over the years. He has pointed out that hundreds of thousands who will experience homelessness this year will not get a single penny in desperately needed new programs and services. He again points out that three million Canadian households are precariously housed, which he calls a modern day record. He has expressed in his research, in the work that he does with organizations across the country, just how bad the situation is.

I think this is very alarming to people because we think of Canada as a wealthy country where these basic provisions of human needs can be met, and yet we have seen not only a growing gap between wealth and poverty but we have seen an abandonment of this most fundamental measure by the federal government.

We do think it is very important for the federal government to take up its responsibility as was called for by the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing. We have had visits by the UN rapporteur. He has issued reports that have in effect condemned Canada for the fact that it has not provided the kind of leadership for the provision of housing, particularly when it comes to aboriginal people.

I am very happy to read into the record statements made by the National Aboriginal Housing Association, which is an excellent organization that has done much work over the years to provide aboriginal housing. It points out:

Canada must put in place a National Housing Strategy; indigenous peoples must have a voice in developing such a strategy.

The proposed bill (C-304) includes a reference to, and a provision for, Aboriginal housing to be addressed, and calls for Aboriginal participation in developing a national strategy.

I would say that is absolutely right on. That is what the bill contains, so we are very pleased to see that the National Aboriginal Housing Association is supporting the bill.

We also received a letter from the mayor of Sudbury, John Rodriguez, who points out that he is pleased to lend his support to the bill and its objective, an effective housing strategy for Canada. He states in his letter:

Many years ago, the federal and provincial governments cooperated effectively to build affordable housing here in our community. Today, there is a crisis of homeless and housing stressed individuals and families in this city. The historic cooperation is needed again and the federal government has no real plan to address these challenges.

There it is. He hit the nail right on the head. There is no plan to address this crisis, whether it is in Sudbury, Vancouver, Halifax, Montreal or Toronto, which I know has had severe housing issues.

There is no question that this is something that is urgently needed.

During the last few years, we have seen some incredible leadership at the municipal level. We have seen municipalities go the distance using zoning, municipal land and incentives to develop social housing.

However, without the partnership of the federal government, without clear objectives laid out, as we used to have more than a decade ago, then all of these things become piecemeal efforts. We should be ensuring that the efforts of municipal governments, provincial governments, and the success of what we have seen in Quebec is something that we can strengthen and build on if the federal government was at the table.

Therefore, I am very hopeful that the bill that is being debated today for a national housing strategy for the development of such cooperation and partnership is something that can be and will be supported by members of the House.

I believe that when we talk to people in our communities, we see the dire circumstances that people are facing. I sometimes feel sick when I see people come to my constituency office and they have been on a waiting list for more than 10 years to get into social housing. It just seems so wrong for something so basic. When somebody puts their name on a list and they wait and they wait, they still do not manage to get into the limited housing that is there.

It is an issue of demand completely outstripping the capacity that we have. Therefore, it is very important that we develop this plan so that we can move on and begin to use the resources that we have to put such a plan into effect.

I want to thank the organizations that have been supporting the bill. I know that there will be more support coming in because it has gained a lot of interest across the country. This is something that housing organizations, like the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, the National Aboriginal Housing Association and others, have worked on year after year. They have never let it go.

There was a time when housing was not even on the national agenda. It is now. We are making this a political priority. We are saying front and centre that Canada's record on housing is now abysmal. It is something that is an embarrassment in the international community as evidenced by the report from the United Nations.

I look forward to hearing from my colleagues in other parties about the bill today. We look forward to support of the bill, so that we can work on it in committee. I certainly want to say to our colleagues in the Bloc that we are committed to presenting an amendment that we think will make the bill acceptable in terms of the jurisdiction of Quebec, as we did with our child care bill and our bill on post-secondary education.

I want to see the bill go forward. There is more debate to be had. We want to see this plan go forward and I hope the members will support it.

Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing ActPrivate Members' Business

5:15 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan


Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I certainly thank the member for her passionate speech. She raises a number of interesting points. Some of them I disagree with and I rise here today in the House to indicate that we I will not be supporting Bill C-304, a bill that would legislate the establishment of a national housing strategy.

The NDP sponsor of this bill tells us that it is meant to improve the access of Canadians to safe affordable housing. In fact, this bill would only serve to severely restrict the ability of the government to adapt and continue to meet the housing needs of Canadians. It would do this by hampering our ability to adapt our programs and initiatives in response to changes in the economy, to shifts in local needs, and housing market conditions into the changing realities of today's families.

The housing needs of 80% of Canadians are in fact met through the marketplace. For those who need some assistance, our government already has a comprehensive multifaceted approach in place which covers the entire spectrum of the housing continuum to provide Canadians from all walks of life and in all parts of the country with access to safe and affordable housing. This support ranges from promoting the success of the Canadian housing industry, to helping families buy a home, working with provinces to create affordable rental housing, and helping some of our most vulnerable citizens find a safe place to call home.

Unlike this bill, our government's approach also recognizes the constitutional jurisdiction of the provinces and territories in the area of assisted housing, as well as the need to work with a variety of different partners in order to deliver results. This really is about partnership, collaboration, and working together at various of levels of government and with various partners.

It is not the job of government to mandate rigid national solutions to local problems that are under provincial jurisdiction and the member herself alludes to that fact. I am sure the Bloc will have some interesting things to say about that.

In fact, I would point out to the members of this House that the bill, as presently worded, neglects to mention the territories at all. This sort of oversight can be nothing less than a lack of respect for our provinces and territories and the constitutional jurisdiction that they hold on these matters.

Our government's commitment to housing has been part of our government's promise to Canadians for a long time. In total, our government is already investing more on affordable and supportive housing than any other government in Canadian history. For concrete examples, we need to look no further than Canada's economic action plan.

In creating this economic action plan we undertook an unprecedented level of consultation. We listened to Canadians from coast to coast to coast to make sure that the very best ideas were brought forward. Now we are working with our partners in all levels of government, and in the private and community sectors to turn these ideas into action.

Step one in this plan is to create jobs and to create them now. Because of the economic downturn, many people in the construction industry are out of work. Building and renovating homes is a powerful way to get the economy moving again because it puts those people to work quickly and because most of the materials and supplies that are involved in home construction are made right here in Canada. This has an even more economic impact.

Through Canada's economic action plan we will make up to $2 billion available over two years in repayable low-cost loans to towns and cities for housing related infrastructure projects. These loans will make it easier for municipalities to break ground with shovel ready projects that can create new jobs quickly, while also building better roads and developing more efficient and reliable water and sewage treatment systems.

Even while we grow our economy, we cannot forget that housing is about more than financial stability. Having a place to call home has a direct and tangible impact on the health and welfare of Canadian families and their communities. That is why the economic action plan is also investing in the well-being of some of our most vulnerable citizens, including low-income Canadians, seniors, persons with disability, aboriginal Canadians, and for people like Karen from Queensville, Ontario.

Karen lives with a mental illness. As a result, she has led an isolated life which often left her feeling alone and without hope. The Valley View Rest Home changed all of that. Valley View provides accommodation and support for people who are seeking treatment for mental health or addiction issues. More importantly, it offers its residents a sense of family, a feeling of belonging, and a rediscovery of hope.

After a devastating fire in April 2004, Valley View was almost forced to close its doors. However, thanks to a grant from CMHC's residential rehabilitation assistance program, Valley View reopened its doors in January 2007. It has been helping Karen and many others like her ever since.

Like Karen, there are about 1.5 million Canadian households that are unable to afford safe, adequate housing on their own. In September 2008, this government committed $1.9 billion over the next five years to help the homeless and improve and build new affordable housing for low-income Canadians.

Canada's economic action plan builds on this commitment with a further $2 billion over two years to build and renovate existing social housing.

In total, the government currently provides $1.7 billion each year through CMHC for social housing assistance to some 630,000 low- and moderate-income Canadian households. This is a crucial part of our national social safety net. However, much of this housing is in need of major repairs and renovations.

The economic action plan will provide $1 billion to renovate or improve older social housing. This investment will help improve the quality of life for residents of these communities while also ensuring that their homes will be available and affordable for future generations. At the same time, it will put more construction workers and tradespeople back to work and put more money into the hands of Canadian suppliers and manufacturers.

For low-income seniors and people with disabilities, we will be investing $475 million in new social housing to ensure that they can continue to live independently in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.

Our government also recognizes the significant need for affordable and sound housing in many first nations communities and in the three territories. That is why we are investing $600 million to build new social housing in first nations communities and in Canada's far north and to repair and modernize existing housing.

In this regard, our government was pleased to hear all three northern housing ministers say they were thrilled with the northern housing investments contained in our economic action plan.

Here is what the Nunavut housing minister had to say in this regard:

I think we all agree this is good news for housing all across the North. It's an investment in our communities, an investment in our economies.

Really, it depicts how partnership and partnering can work when it needs to work.

Overall, Canada's economic action plan provides $7.8 billion to build quality housing, stimulate construction, encourage home ownership and enhance the energy efficiency of Canadian homes. This just builds on the many other housing programs and investments that are already in place.

Of course, when it comes to housing, the challenge is too great for any one entity to handle alone. We all have a role to play, from the federal government to the provincial and territorial governments, municipal governments, non-profit groups, community associations and the private sector. All have an important part to play in the housing continuum.

In Canada, for instance, assisted housing is first and foremost a provincial and territorial jurisdiction. Provinces and territories support a range of social policy and program interventions. This includes the shelter component of social assistance, operating and support subsidies for special-purpose housing, subsidy programs for home ownership, and the delivery and cost sharing of federally funded programs.

Bill C-304 does not recognize this jurisdiction, nor does it recognize the differences in local need that require local solutions. Indeed, Bill C-304 would provide the federal minister with a carte blanche provision to implement a national housing strategy in any way the minister sees fits, regardless of the views of our provincial and territorial partners.

Consider, for example, how the provinces and territories would react to subclause 4(2) of this bill, which would give the federal minister the power to “take any measures that the Minister considers appropriate” to implement the proposed legislation.

From a constitutional point of view, this approach runs directly counter to provincial and territorial jurisdiction. From a practical perspective, it also works against the clear and compelling need for a flexible approach to housing that recognizes local needs and solutions.

Our government is committed to doing everything it can to work with all our partners across the country to ensure that Canada's housing system remains world-class.

Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing ActPrivate Members' Business

5:25 p.m.


Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to speak to this issue. I clearly support this bill going to committee.

I would like to review the preamble of this bill and its objectives. It specifically states that this bill is to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians. Frankly, I am shocked to hear that the Conservatives would not support that and would vote against this bill. I cannot understand that as a Canadian.

How can anybody argue against at least studying the establishment of a national housing strategy? That is all that would occur if the bill went to committee. Canadians need to know that the Conservatives do not even wish to study the establishment of a national housing strategy. That is unbelievable.

It has been proposed in clause 5 that there be a conference between the federal government and provinces within 180 days. How could anybody vote against that? Why would we not try to come up with some ideas?

There is a major problem with this bill: It should be a government bill. That is the problem. The government should be concerned about social housing and alleviating poverty in Canada. It should not be up to a private member to put this forward. I find that shameful.

I have a letter from Peel Poverty Action Group, dated March 18, 2009, which talks about:

the need for affordable housing in Peel Region, which has the largest waiting list (13,500 families) and the longest wait (more than 10 years) of any municipality in Canada;

On behalf of the 13,500 families in the region of Peel that are waiting for affordable housing, I say shame on the Conservatives for not even wanting to study the possibility of a national housing strategy. They will not even let it go to committee to consider it. How is that reasonable? Canadians need to know that they are opposed to even thinking about helping people who need housing in Canada.

Poverty and housing are related. Obviously if people were not living in poverty they would not need affordable housing. So the first question is, how do we fix that?

Before I get to that, I would like Canadians to know that not only do the Conservatives currently oppose studying this issue and trying to fix it, but they made it worse. Canadians need to know about all their cuts.

In budget 2006, the Conservative government cut $200 million of the $1.6 billion the Liberals had committed to affordable housing. Imagine how much better Canadians would be now if that had not happened.

On September 25, 2006, the Conservative government cut $45 million in the administration of CMHC programs.

On May 8, 2006, the Conservative government cut $770 million from one of Canada's most popular, efficient and effective programs designed to fight global warming, the EnerGuide program.

I know it is unbelievable, but there is more.

The Conservatives later reversed their decision to cut EnerGuide in February 2007 but did not restore the $550 million to help low-income households.

There is more. In December 2006, the Conservative government announced that it would also cancel the SCPI program. After all that, Conservatives pretend that they are actually trying to help. Yet they will not even study this issue in committee if they have their way.

If Liberals had been elected last fall, things would already be better. The Liberal government had committed to the alleviation of poverty. It had a 30-50 plan, a well thought-out plan, to alleviate poverty by reducing by 30% all Canadians living below the poverty line and by 50% all children. People would be better off. There would not be the same need for affordable housing going into the future if Liberals had been elected.

There were additional tax measures such as the guaranteed family supplement to help 500,000 needy Canadians, giving them each $1,225 more per family per year. We are not seeing the Conservatives help people in that measure.

In addition, income supports would have increased in areas such as public transit, child care and social housing. This is right from the Liberal platform.

If the Liberal Party had been elected, this is exactly what would happened. We care. A Liberal government would tackle the housing crisis by helping to provide for 30,000 new social housing units and refurbishing another 30,000 existing units to make them more livable.

As part of this commitment we would also expand subsidies for dedicated units for low-income Canadians in federally funded cooperative housing. The Liberal Party would have renewed the residential rehabilitation program and the homelessness partnering initiative. A Liberal government would help low-income families with their energy bills. This would have the double benefit of alleviating poverty and helping the environment.

With the platform that we ran on, if we had won the election, suffering would already be in the process of being alleviated and when we win the next election, that is what will take place. We will work toward helping the people who need it.

In the interim, I am proud to state that I will be supporting this private member's bill. It should go to committee. I do not understand how any responsible Canadian, regardless of political affiliation, would not wish at least to study the issue, to bring in anti-poverty groups and other experts to hear what they have say, and make some form of meaningful recommendations to the House for the benefit of Canadian society. I find it shocking that the Conservatives will not even let us consider making people's lives better.

On behalf of the people in the region of Peel, on behalf of all Canadians living below the poverty line, I am proud to state that I will be supporting the further study of this issue in committee. I challenge all colleagues in the House to put aside their political affiliations and recognize that this is a serious problem for all Canadians and that the issue should at least be studied in committee.

Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing ActPrivate Members' Business

5:35 p.m.


Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise in the House today.

I am also happy to hear my colleague in the Liberal Party say he will support the bill and is concerned about social housing. That is not really what we remember of the Liberal government, especially under Paul Martin, when it made deep cuts to the transfer payments for social housing. This seems to confirm what people always say about the Liberal Party: it is more progressive in the opposition than in power. If it ever does get back into power, the Bloc Québécois will make sure it forms a minority government and there are as many Bloc members on hand as possible to ensure that its alleged concerns about social housing actually result in some concrete action.

What we are talking about here is safe, affordable housing. I started talking spontaneously about social housing, although that is not the only issue here. It is a major concern, though, of the Bloc Québécois and there is a lot of it in my riding. Jeanne-Le Ber is a riding in southwest Montreal that is crossed by the Lachine canal, and which, as hon. members may recall, was Canada’s industrial birthplace. It was here in my riding that industrial Canada was born.

There are still many people in my riding who are part of what is called the working class. They have very modest incomes, and all too often, they even live in poverty. In some cases, their families have been living for generations in such working-class areas as Saint-Henri or Pointe-Saint-Charles. They are therefore very rooted in the community.

There are some new people as well, including me. They come to live here and are more affluent. Often they are professionals or retired baby boomers who want to move closer to the centre of Montreal after having raised their children in the suburbs. They buy splendid condos with views over the Lachine canal or convert apartments, duplexes or triplexes into single-family homes. It is fantastic. It is a great place. This influx causes a problem, though, because it results in a clash or confrontation, even though I do not like the word. There are two conflicting uses for the land. Every time a triplex, for example, is converted into a single-family dwelling, two apartments disappear where people of more modest means could have lived.

We have to find a way to reconcile these uses because I think that kind of diversity is good. It is good to have neighbourhoods that include people of all social classes, people with higher incomes and those of more modest means. That is a social ideal I can envision, and I think it is much better than a society with poor neighbourhoods, ghettos in one part of town and rich neighbourhoods with big fancy houses in another.

However, we have to understand that the people who have been living there for generations, people who have relatively low incomes, are finding it harder and more expensive to keep living in south-western Montreal because newcomers to the area, those who have moved to Verdun, are improving their properties, which causes rent to go up and makes it nearly impossible to find affordable housing.

What should we do to encourage diversity in these neighbourhoods? We have to find a way to create a more balanced market. Demand is high, and that kind of pressure increases rental rates, so we have to intervene to create downward pressure that will result in a more balanced market.

There are ways to do that. One way is to build social housing, affordable housing and housing co-ops. People in my riding are working very hard to make that happen, and they need government support. The question is, which government should be providing that support?

The Bloc Québécois believes that this issue falls under the Government of Quebec's jurisdiction. These are social programs that provide direct assistance to individuals. We believe, as does the Government of Quebec—unanimously, I might add—that it should have full control over the implementation of social housing, community housing and affordable housing policies in Quebec.

However, we also believe that the federal government should contribute financially. Among other things, we believe that 1% of the budget for federal government programs—some $2 billion per year—should be transferred to Quebec and the provinces so that they can implement their own housing policies.

Furthermore, in the last session we introduced a bill that proposed using the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation surpluses, which are funded in part by revenues generated through premiums paid by wealthier citizens when they purchase homes. Thus, it would be a meaningful gesture to distribute this wealth and use these billions of dollars sitting idle at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to provide affordable housing to those most in need.

Having said that, I am pleased to see that, at least on this matter, the NDP has broached the issue of respect for Quebec's jurisdictions. The clause giving Quebec the right to opt out of any national program with full compensation—that goes without saying—is necessary in order for us to support the bill. We will support it and send it to committee. Needless to say, if it returns to this chamber without that clause, we will no longer be able to support it.

We are hopeful that this clause will be introduced and debated in committee. We are talking about the right to opt out with full compensation. It goes without saying that if Quebec is not given compensation and is simply told to take it or leave it, this will not work. The Government of Quebec already invests in affordable housing programs and it must continue to be the one and only authority in this matter.

In this regard, I would like to read an excerpt found on page 21 of a study on the cost of federalism for Quebec in the housing sector prepared by the Société d'habitation du Québec in September 1995.

Federal housing measures represent interference in a provincial jurisdiction. The federal government has imposed very rigid rules for housing measures. It has also made its financial participation contingent upon a multitude of administrative rules as well as pan-Canadian objectives and criteria, making it difficult to plan interventions in a Quebec context. The presence of the federal government in this sector of activity has resulted in much administrative duplication engendering additional costs that undermine the coherence of interventions.

This was obviously written before the deep cuts by the Liberals. Now that it is time to reinvest in affordable housing, we believe that the government must continue to respect the authority of the Government of Quebec in this matter.

Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing ActPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, now more than ever we need a national housing strategy. I want to commend my colleague from Vancouver East for presenting Bill C-304, one which I hope will have speedy passage through this House so that we can finally realign our efforts at fighting homelessness with the actual needs of Canadians.

I am very proud to second this bill. I am honoured that the member for Vancouver East would ask me to be involved, since housing and homelessness is an issue that I am very passionate about.

As the housing and homelessness critic for the New Democratic Party, I have had the opportunity to speak several times on the housing situation in Canada, in speeches, in questions to the minister, and constantly I refer to the situation in Canada as a crisis. Canada is truly in a housing crisis.

In 1998, on the 50th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee declared that housing was in a crisis situation. It made the following statement:

We call on all levels of government to declare homelessness a national disaster requiring emergency humanitarian relief. We urge that they immediately develop and implement a National Homelessness Relief and Prevention Strategy using disaster relief funds both to provide the homeless with immediate health protection and housing and to prevent further homelessness.

That was 11 years ago and the rallying cry is still echoing today. However, my question is, is anybody actually listening? Many Canadians still do not have access to adequate, secure or affordable housing.

Our international friends would be surprised to hear that we have a housing crisis in Canada, because in 1976 Canada signed on to the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights. This covenant guarantees everybody's right to an adequate standard of living, including food, clothing and housing. What this means is Canada has said out loud to the world that there is a right to housing in our country. Unfortunately, we have not lived up to those international obligations and Canada's once positive reputation has now been tarnished.

Right now, there are as many as 1.5 million families in Canada in precarious or unacceptable housing situations. Three hundred thousand people use our shelters every year. If asked, most Canadians would probably say we have a strong social safety net, with employment insurance, pensions, social assistance, and the like. The reality is that many of those programs do not actually meet the needs of Canadians. These programs have been continuously eroded by the actions, or inactions, of successive governments.

To give a snapshot illustration, in my community of Halifax, Community Action on Homelessness recently released a report card on homelessness for my area. One of the things it found was that the wage one would need to afford a one bedroom apartment is $14.23 an hour. That is the wage one would need for rent, bills and groceries. The minimum wage in my province is $8.10 an hour. It is obvious that it does not add up. A person on social assistance would need the equivalent of 144% of his or her personal allowance in order to afford even a bachelor apartment. It is just not right. Imagine how that person's situation would change if there actually were affordable housing that the person could access?

In my life before becoming a member of Parliament I worked as a community legal worker with Dalhousie Legal Aid Service. I worked a lot on the tenant rights project, where we would work with low-income individuals to try and keep them housed. We would help advocate at the residential tenancies board to try to keep them housed. It was slum housing. It was in poor repair. There was mould. There were overcrowded rooming houses. I had a client whose ceiling fell in on her. There were bedbugs. I was fighting to keep people in that housing. Imagine actually fighting to keep someone in a place where the ceiling has collapsed on her in the middle of the night.

This is why I ran federally. I wanted to be involved in creating a national housing strategy to create options for low- to middle-income Canadians to offer them just a little bit of dignity, because that is what this is about. It is about human dignity. Thankfully there are policy solutions that can be made right here in this House.

The best way to combat homelessness is, surprise, by housing people. I know, it is a bit out there.

I was reading recently about tent city, an area in Toronto where people were homeless and living in tents. At the culmination of the events down at tent city, a very concerted effort was made by the city to actually house a lot of these people.

A staggering number of those people who were housed, I think it is around 80%, are still housed. That shows us that it is not necessarily about these people being drug addicts or having mental health issues and that is why they are homeless, they are choosing to be homeless. The majority of the people from tent city are still housed. The answer to homelessness is to build housing. It is pretty radical.

To illustrate the point further, I will tell a brief story, again featuring an organization in Nova Scotia. Many people are familiar with the Elizabeth Fry Society. It works across Canada with women involved in the criminal justice system and it does great work. In Halifax, it found that regardless of how much advocacy it does, regardless of how much support it gives to women in need, the results were just not what it needed. It was really clear, as I am sure it is to most of us here, that we cannot help women whose lives are touched by crime, addiction or the associated risks of poverty if they do not have a safe place to stay and a roof over their heads.

The people in this group actually shifted direction slightly and decided to try to fill that need themselves. They opened up housing for women. It is called Holly House and it is located in Dartmouth, on the other side of the harbour to my riding. Having worked with this organization, I can say that creating affordable housing options has saved lives and it has increased the prosperity and well-being of the clients they serve and of my community.

Holly House gets it but so far the government does not. Perhaps, after hearing these very passionate interventions in this honourable House, maybe it will introduce its own bill for a national housing strategy. We can always hope.

I will acknowledge that there was some money in the budget for affordable housing, which is great, and I will not really criticize what was there. However, sadly, the money that was in the budget was specifically designed to be a one time only measure.

This might be fine if homelessness were a one time only problem. Maybe it is a two year phase that people suddenly find themselves in, but the crisis is real in this country, in our cities, in our rural communities and it is tragically higher among first nations.

To tackle a problem that is this large, we need bold and comprehensive plans. There needs to be coordination between the federal government and its responsibility for the well-being of Canadians, the provinces and their responsibility over housing in general, and the municipalities, first nations governments and friendship centres that provide the front line services in our communities.

The bill we are debating today seeks to re-align the government's approach to dealing with this issue by mandating a national strategy for a national problem. It takes our current patchwork of programs and it strengthens them, setting national standards and calling for investment in not for profit housing, housing for the homeless, housing for those with different needs and sustainable and environmentally constructed homes. It is about rights and it is about dignity.

For those who are not swayed by a human rights argument, let me put it in a little bit of a different way. Let me put it in economic terms. Operating emergency shelters in this country costs more than it would to simply build affordable housing, the foundation from which our most vulnerable people can build a meaningful life.

Earlier today I spoke with Sheri Lecker who is the executive director of Adsum for Women & Children. Adsum offers quite a few programs for women and children, including an emergency shelter and second stage housing, as well as long term housing for women.

Sherry explained to me that the per diem she receives from the province for a single person, a women or a child, to stay at the shelter is $86.80 per day. Let us contrast that to Adsum Court, which is long term housing for women that Adsum provides. It has 24 units and it is supportive housing. It is housing where people are there to support the women who are in this housing. The rent being charged is anywhere between $125 and $535 a month. It does not make a profit but it does come out even. I share this example to illustrate how simple it is. It is remarkably easy to solve this problem. We just need leadership at the federal level to do it.

In closing, with this bill we have an opportunity to make a real difference by implementing a plan to tackle this crisis. I would ask that all members of the House join me in support of the bill sponsored by the member for Vancouver East and join in this national project for a just and more prosperous Canada.

Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing ActPrivate Members' Business

5:55 p.m.


Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to add my voice against Bill C-304, the bill that seeks to create a national housing strategy. In fact, the only thing this bill would do is handcuff the efforts of this and future governments to continue to respond to the housing needs of Canadians in a timely, flexible and proactive manner.

What else would it do? It would run roughshod over provincial jurisdiction in this regard, empowering federal governments to make housing decisions that are rightly to be made by the provinces and territories.

The NDP would have this House believe that Canada does not have what they call a “national housing strategy”. The truth, though inconvenient for the NDP, is much different. The reality is that our government already has a multi-pronged, comprehensive and well-funded approach in place which provides housing for Canadians from all walks of life and across the country.

As a result, Canada's national housing system allows the housing needs of 80% of Canadians to be met through the private market. This approach recognizes and respects the constitutional responsibilities of the provincial and territorial jurisdictions in the area of assisted housing. More important, our approach actually includes both the provinces and territories, unlike the NDP's bill which fails to even mention the territories at all. Our approach recognizes the need to work with a variety of partners, to support vulnerable Canadians, homeowners, renters and the housing sector.

Our national housing agency, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, has been working with these partners to help Canadians access safe, affordable housing for more than 60 years. In total, this government is already investing more on affordable and supportive housing than any other government in Canadian history.

Even more important, those investments are achieving real results, making a real difference in the lives of Canadians across this country. For example, for those Canadians who need help to find housing they can afford, our government provides $1.7 billion each year through CMHC in support of some 630,000 low and moderate income households. This includes ongoing financial support for many non-profit and cooperative housing projects.

In September 2008, our government committed more than $1.9 billion over five years to improve and build new affordable housing and to help the homeless. Canada's economic action plan builds on this commitment with an additional $2 billion over the next two years to build new social housing and to repair or retrofit existing social housing.

Under the affordable housing initiative, more than $900 million of a total of $1 billion federal funds have now been committed or announced, every dollar of which has been matched by the provinces and territories. This funding will help an estimated 41,000 Canadian families to have access to a safe, affordable place to call home.

Through Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and CMHC, we are also helping first nations build the capacity to manage their own housing programs. In our 2007 budget, we announced the creation of a $300 million first nations market housing fund, which opened its doors in May 2008. This fund will help provide new homes for up to 25,000 first nations families living on reserve over the next 10 years.

Those are only some of the steps taken by this government on housing and only a part of our national approach.

When it comes to housing matters, the provinces and territories expect federal governments to respect their jurisdictional responsibilities. In this regard, our government will continue to work with the provinces, the territories, the private sector, first nations groups and community and non-profit partners to facilitate access to housing and to lend a helping hand to those whose needs cannot be met by the marketplace.

These kinds of collaborative programs are essential because in Canada assisted housing is fundamentally part of the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories. Bill C-304 does not recognize or respect this jurisdiction.

That is why I cannot support the legislation and urge all members to oppose it as well. To put it in perspective, we have debated this bill for 55 minutes and we have already faced two amendments, so there are many flaws in this to begin with.

Allow me to continue to tell the House about other measures within this government's national approach to address the housing needs of Canadians.

Each year CMHC's many renovation programs help low income households, landlords, persons with disabilities and aboriginal people bring their homes up to minimum health and safety standards. These programs enable seniors and persons with disabilities to live independently in their own homes and communities, close to friends and family. Other CMHC programs provide funding for emergency shelters for women and children who are trying to escape domestic violence and a start to a new life free from fear.

CMHC also helps those Canadians who are looking to buy a home where they can put down roots and raise their families. Through its mortgage loan insurance, CMHC has lowered the cost of getting a mortgage and helped one-third of all Canadian families with the purchase of their home, regardless of what part of the country they live in.

In 2007, for example, 37% of CMHC's mortgage loan insurance business helped Canadians who lived in areas that were underserved by private insurers. CMHC also facilitates financing for affordable housing projects by allowing borrowers to have access to loans at the best possible rate. Its securitization program helped to lower the overall cost of borrowing. CMHC remains the only mortgage insurer in Canada of large rental housing buildings, nursing and retirement homes and first nation housing on reserve.

I know my time is coming to a close. I would like to conclude by saying that, as I mentioned before, we are 55 minutes into this debate and already we have uncovered several flaws in this legislation as well as several amendments that would need to be made before we even get going.

Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing ActPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired, and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

6:05 p.m.


Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in tonight's adjournment proceedings. A few weeks ago, I asked the Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) a question, but it was the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food who answered. I hope the minister responsible for the ACOA will answer my questions tonight.

The question I asked was relatively simple and clear. I asked why the ACOA had not yet paid the $6 million it announced in December 2007 to assist Atlantic Beef Products of Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island. The federal government announced this $6 million in funding with great pomp and fanfare in December 2007. One might wonder if it was not just before an election campaign, but that was the announcement, in any case. Officials from three Maritime provinces, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, were also there.

Under the terms of the agreement, each of these provinces was to contribute $2 million. The federal government was to invest $6 million in order to save jobs. I should explain that this slaughterhouse is the only one in the Maritimes, and it is important to all the beef producers in these three provinces. The provinces contributed their $2 million shares, to be paid into a trust fund to be managed. The federal government was supposed to do the same thing.

However, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food answered:

Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no delay. There was a process put in place. ACOA is forwarding the money to the provinces as they require it. I am not sure what the member opposite is talking about.

The question was simple, so the response should have been as well. The provinces made their contribution, so why has the federal government not yet paid its share? That was in 2007, and it is now 2009. What the federal government is doing is unacceptable.

Even worse, two of these three maritime provinces had to provide an extra $140,000 each in temporary financing to make up for the money that the federal government and ACOA had not yet paid to the firm that was managing the money. We need to create jobs, especially during an economic crisis when we cannot afford to lose even one more job. More than 70 people work full-time for this company, but this beef slaughterhouse creates nearly 400 jobs in all. That means that 400 jobs could be lost in Prince Edward Island, which manages the only slaughterhouse in the Maritimes.

This is more irresponsibility on the part of the federal government. It says it wants to help people work. If it wants to help people work, then why has it not deposited the $6 million in the trust account where the maritime provinces have put their money in order to secure the future of this slaughterhouse, which is so important to beef producers?

I hope the Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency will answer me this evening.

6:05 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick


Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank my colleague from New Brunswick on the opposite side of the House. It is a pleasure to be here this evening to address this question. I know we have little time in question period to do it and I hope to expand on the answer this evening, so that there is a better understanding.

The $6 million loan has been approved and the funds have been ready for some weeks. The Atlantic Beef Products plant was seeking support and received it from this government. The Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadians in all regions of Canada. Since taking office our government has stepped up to the plate and we have provided the leadership Canadians want and deserve.

We have taken action through my department, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, to encourage growth and foster economic success. This includes a one time investment of $6 million from our government to Atlantic Beef Products.

The hon. member will be interested to know that the provisions for the repayment of the loan allow for the gradual development of the value added products that the plant must produce. With matching provincial contributions, that means a total investment of $12 million. This investment is being loaned to help make Atlantic Beef Products the only federally inspected beef processing facility in the Maritimes become more efficient and competitive, and encourage the development of new products and markets.

Because our government in partnership with the three maritime provinces took action, the only federally inspected beef plant was able to remain open. Because our government listened to Canadians, we were able to save 350 direct and indirect jobs in Atlantic Canada, jobs that are keeping Atlantic Canadians home, spending their hard earned money in local stores, buying local products, supporting local businesses, and generating economic activity that benefits the entire Atlantic economy.

Our government understands the importance of helping communities, small and large, urban and rural, to help them prosper and keep local industries competitive. That is why on December 9, 2007, my colleague, the member for Central Nova, announced the $6 million federal investment. This investment reaffirms our government's confidence in the maritime beef industry. It is a sign that this government is standing up for Canadians and for Canada's traditional businesses.

Our national government is all about action. Since taking office, our government has announced more than $761 million in over 1,000 projects across Atlantic Canada. Our government continues to support ACOA, so it can help further strengthen Atlantic Canada's economic advantage.

Our government is getting things done in Atlantic Canada. The results speak for themselves. They clearly show that this government is successfully tackling the economic development issues that are facing the Atlantic region.

6:10 p.m.


Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, clearly, the answer is certainly not satisfactory. They are still talking about December 2007 when it is now April 2009. Those are two different years and the money is still not there. It has not be paid and it cannot be seen. Why have they dragged their feet so long?

The other thing is that it was an investment. How is it that suddenly that investment in that company gets turned into a loan? An investment is a contribution to ensure survival. We are not talking here about a repayable loan; they were talking investment. One wonders whether, when all is said and done, when ACOA made the announcement—when his predecessor made the announcement—perhaps the expectation was that one or more of the three maritime provinces would not manage to make its contribution and then they could just let the agreement slide. But that was not the case.

When are we going to see this situation settled and when will the money be put on the table so that the producers can have a guarantee that this slaughterhouse, the only one in the Maritimes, will continue to operate?

6:10 p.m.


Keith Ashfield Conservative Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, the arrangement with Atlantic Beef Products was always a provisional loan, one tied to the production of value added products. There are certain terms and conditions that had to be met in that process. Those have been met. It took some time to do that. Those were conditions that were also worked out with the three provinces with which we work very well and closely on a continuous basis.

The three provinces were aware of the arrangement. We understood the arrangement very well. The terms and conditions were met. The money was flowed several weeks ago. The fact that Atlantic Beef Products has not taken advantage of that is up to the company. It is a business decision when the agreement was signed.

6:10 p.m.


Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise here in the House again this evening because I would really like to understand why, after more than three years of this Conservative government, Canadians have seen the loss of over 20,000 jobs in the forestry sector. Small communities in Quebec, Atlantic Canada, Ontario and British Columbia have been hit the hardest.

At present, even the giants of the forestry industry, such as AbitibiBowater, are suffering from this government's mismanagement.

On March 10, 2009, the House passed a motion to help the forestry sector in Quebec and elsewhere. As we all know, the Conservatives opposed the motion.

This government continues to talk about measures introduced in its 2009 budget, measures that would provide $170 million over two years. Unfortunately, that money only serves to extend programs that are obsolete and ill-suited to the needs of the forestry sector in this crisis period.

The forestry industy does not expect the government to come up with a magical solution. It merely wants a responsible government that will save jobs today and create jobs for tomorrow. The forestry sector also wants the government to ensure that any aid that is provided is shared equally among the regions, does not create more debt and protects this already vulnerable industry.

Forestry industry representatives are not asking for a bailout. What they want is help to break into new, lucrative markets in China and India, and funding to support research and development on new products.

Liberals believe in delivering a real plan for Canada's forestry sector. We believe in a national plan that serves all communities and workers equally. The government currently has no plan and no vision for this struggling sector.

In 2005 a Liberal government announced a real plan for the forestry sector that addressed the issues at the heart of what the forestry sector is looking for: loans, support for research, new technologies, skills development, and community adjustment. The Conservative government cancelled that plan upon forming government in 2006.

Three years later, the Conservatives still have no plan. The government's inaction, its inability to come up with a complete plan for the struggling forestry sector, is forcing the provinces to go it alone, with no promise whatsoever of help from Ottawa. Worse still, this government is now accusing the opposition of not having proposed either an action plan or any ideas. We had a plan, we had a project, and the present government, for political and ideological reasons, cancelled those initiatives and left the forestry sector in danger.

The Conservatives' lack of perspective has led to the crisis, which has deprived a very large number of Canadians of employment. The Conservatives continue to defend their failed softwood lumber agreement. The Conservative government had stated that this agreement would put an end to disputes and yet Canada is once more before the courts.

What will it take to make the government see that the forestry sector is in crisis? Jobs are being lost, businesses are closing, and communities are suffering.

We no longer need to ask that question, “If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?”, because there are no more trees falling. Plants are closing, and a flourishing industry rooted deep in our history and our identity is in peril.

The forestry sector is an integral component of our history. We need go no further than the foyer of this place and look up. The ceiling is decorated in each corner with motifs representing mining, agriculture, fishing and forestry. Many governments prior to this one deemed it necessary to underscore the importance of the forestry sector. But this one no longer believes in it and will do nothing to maintain and strengthen this essential part of our heritage.

Does the entire industry have to collapse before this government reacts? The time for action is now. We need leadership urgently. It is time to take action.

6:15 p.m.

Beauport—Limoilou Québec


Sylvie Boucher ConservativeParliamentary Secretary for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, in the absence of my colleague, the Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), allow me to answer the question raised by the member for Brossard—La Prairie.

The member is wrong to say that we refuse to intervene in the forestry sector. This statement is surprising, especially since we are pleased to have settled the softwood lumber dispute with the United States, and even more so because that agreement received the overwhelming support of the forestry industry. The agreement has brought stability to the forestry industry, the communities and workers throughout Canada, and has returned $5 billion to Canadian softwood lumber producers, of which $1 billion has gone to Quebec.

No matter, I would like to remind my colleague that, as a responsible government, it is our duty and our obligation to intervene when regions and communities are in trouble. Naturally, we are extremely worried about the current state of the forestry industry and the position of its workers, whether in Matagami or Val d'Or in Quebec, Bathurst or Miramichi in New Brunswick, or anywhere else in our country.

Forestry workers in Canada and Quebec are the victims of a series of events that have hit the industry hard. The main problem is the market. There are fewer and fewer buyers. Let us bear in mind that, for the industry to recover, we need our neighbours to the south to increase their demand.

Contrary to what the member for Brossard—La Prairie would have us believe, our government is taking action to minimize the effects of the crisis on the forestry industry and its workers. We have also brought in a number of measures to support key economic sectors, which will help these workers and their communities.

Our recently released economic action plan provides strategic support for the forestry industry. Our plan supports the development of new products and processes so that the industry can take advantage of as-yet-unexplored international opportunities.

I would also like to point out that our recent economic action plan, which the opposition helped us pass, gave Export Development Canada (EDC) more money and more ways to help businesses during this increasingly difficult economic period. EDC is working with 90% of Canada's forestry companies and expects that number to go up in 2009.

We have announced several initiatives to stimulate the forestry industry, such as the tax credit for home renovations, which will give Canadian families a tax break of up to $1,350; $2 billion to accelerate construction of college and university buildings; $500 million to support construction of new community recreation facilities and modernization of existing facilities, and more.

Our government is also very concerned about what is happening to Canadian workers, and that is why we developed our action plan. We want a brighter future for Canada, our workers and forestry.

6:20 p.m.


Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to remind my colleague that the softwood lumber agreement has not yet resolved anything. The matter is still before the courts. Quebec and Ontario are now subject to a productivity surtax.

I should also point out that what the industry wants now is help with innovation and exporting, but they are not getting that kind of help.

That is what I am asking the government. When will it follow through on the promises it made in Canada's economic plan?

6:20 p.m.


Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, our government has created the $1 billion community adjustment fund, and more than $200 million of that money will go to Quebec and will be managed by Canada Economic Development.

I would like to remind the member for Brossard—La Prairie that we are continuing to work with all industry sectors. Our government is continuing to consult with all economic players to ensure that we come out of this crisis stronger and more competitive than ever.

I would also like to point out to the member that we are not the only forestry stakeholders. The provincial governments also have a major stake in the issues affecting the forestry industry. As a government and a stakeholder in economic development, we are providing our SMEs and our communities with tools and resources to strengthen, renew and stimulate their economy.

6:20 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. The House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6:24 p.m.)