Madam Speaker, it is certainly with great pleasure that I rise to respond to the member for Halifax.
There is no question that our government believes that housing is indeed an important step toward self-sufficiency and full participation in the economy. Having a home is very important. That is why our Conservative government has a multi-pronged approach to provide housing to Canadians.
The NDP talks about notions like a housing strategy, but that is what it is, talk. What Canadians care about, and what Canadians expect, is action. And taking action is what our Conservative government is all about.
Our government provides $1.7 billion per year in federal funding in support of almost 625,000 low income households living in social housing. Our government has also committed $1.9 billion over five years to combat homelessness and provide housing to vulnerable Canadians. Our economic action plan adds even more to these impressive investments.
We committed over $2 billion to repair existing, as well as build new, social housing. This includes: $1 billion for repairs and upgrades, $400 million for seniors housing, $75 million for persons with disabilities, $400 million for first nations reserves, and $200 million for housing in the north. The member may say that these are just talk about funding, but these are significant amounts for specific sectors of society. They are doing very specific things, steps that need to be taken.
In addition, the economic action plan includes $2 billion in low-cost loans to municipalities for housing-related infrastructure. Overall, Canada's economic action plan provides $7.8 billion to build high-quality housing, stimulate construction activity, support home ownership, and enhance energy efficiency.
Our investments are showing results. Our investments in housing have resulted in over 3,500 projects currently underway and over 100 low-cost loans being provided to municipalities across the country. Our investments are helping Canadian families, creating tens of thousands of jobs, but do not just take it from me. Listen to those on the ground who have praised these investments. They are more than just steps that are taken and not integrated. They are steps about which those who are stakeholders have something positive to say.
Nicholas Gazzard from the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada said, “The federal government's financial commitments on affordable housing are impressive”.
Tim Richter of the Calgary Homeless Foundation stated, “This is the largest federal investment in social housing in more than two decades, which is very positive”.
Geoff Gillard of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association said, “The recent five-year renewal of the three federal housing and homelessness programs ended more than a decade of short-term housing funding announcements. This was a welcome shift--”.
The Wesley Institute stated that our government's investments in affordable housing and homelessness “are making a positive difference in the lives of many Canadians...there are substantial economic benefits--including jobs”. Hardly an appalling lack of action. The comments speak for themselves and there is more positive feedback that I could be providing.
The NDP keeps pretending to care about this issue, but actions speak louder than words. Shamefully, the NDP has voted against each and every single investment our Conservative government has made in housing. The hon. member has to answer to her constituents and to all Canadians who are benefiting from these investments. She has to explain to seniors living on fixed incomes, to Canadians with disabilities, to aboriginal Canadians, and to all vulnerable Canadians why she and her party voted against all of these investments, and why she does not think they deserve access to affordable housing.
The member can talk about a national housing strategy but what is required is action and not talk.