Mr. Speaker, before the budget was tabled, I asked the minister what she intended to do when a number of financial agreements between the federal government and housing co-ops and non-profit housing organizations expire.
She replied that the government was making investments in new social housing, including renovations for 21,000 seniors and 415 projects for persons with disabilities. However, I have still not been given an answer about existing social housing.
Almost all social housing built before 1994 was covered by long-term financial agreements with the federal government. These subsidies ensure that low-income renters can pay rent that is geared to income. With the expiry of these agreements, many renters will suffer because their rents will double or even triple.
There is nothing for social housing, nothing for affordable housing and nothing for the renewal of operating agreements for housing co-operatives and non--profit housing organizations in the 2012 budget or the famous Bill C-38, which is a real Trojan Horse.
There is nothing to help the more than 1.5 million households, or 13% of all Canadian households, that have core housing needs or that do not have access to decent housing that they can afford. The 21,000 people who received help from the government represent just 1.4% of all households that do not have access to affordable housing.
I have a hard time believing the government when it says it is investing in social housing. What is more, the budget makes no mention of social programs, including homelessness and housing, although there is a real need.
The City of Montreal, the Union des municipalities du Québec and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities all made requests of this budget, but all those requests were ignored. Unfortunately, there is still no long-term investment plan for housing. A petition was tabled in the House of Commons two weeks ago calling on the federal government to provide the necessary funding to renovate, improve and modernize all social housing.
I would like to know why the federal government did not allocate any funding to social housing in its budget, in order to help renters affected by the end of these subsidies. At the same time, I would also like to respond to the parliamentary secretary's question about why the opposition never supports the government's initiatives in the area of social housing.
I would answer that it is impossible for us to support initiatives that will help only 21,000 people, when there are over 1.5 million households that need assistance. Conversely, why does the government present initiatives that do not meet the needs of more Canadians?