Mr. Speaker, I am extremely pleased to be here in the House and, as the member for the riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, which takes in the two major cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, to have the opportunity to speak about what our government has done so far to help the middle class and those who want to join it.
Today, I have the opportunity to speak to Motion No. 147, moved by my colleague from Saskatoon West. I want to thank and congratulate her for her efforts, not just with respect to this motion, but also for the work she has done on this issue for many years .
The purpose of the motion before us is to appoint a special parliamentary committee to conduct consultations—which generally is a very good thing— and to develop an action plan. This committee would then report to the House, present the action plan, and obtain approval for it within one year. Thus, one year would pass by. I must say that the intent of this motion is very good. However, if I had to weigh in on it, I would say that it is two years too late. Our government has actually been working on this issue for two years and has put forward an affordable housing and homelessness strategy.
My colleague wants us to set up a new committee and hold another round of consultations, but we have done that work already. We have held many, many consultations and sought feedback from parliamentarians. An all-party standing committee examined the issue. We heard statements from many individuals and experts from across Canada. Consulting those organizations all over again when they have already spent a lot of time on this would not be very efficient.
Over the past two years, we have met with Canadians and stakeholders working to advance the national affordable housing strategy and the Canadian poverty reduction strategy or to transform our partners' anti-homelessness strategy. As I said, we could do more consultations, but if we ask the same people in the same communities the same questions, we will probably get the same answers.
We also need to think about how much time would be wasted. In the coming years, we can always improve our approach to accommodate new developments. In the meantime, those partners contributed, they gave their opinion, and now they want our government to act. We do not need more consultations. We need to take action. That is exactly what our government is doing. Our goal is to get the work under way by March 31, 2019, but if Motion No. 147 is adopted, we will have to hold more consultations, quite possibly putting that goal out of reach.
I urge the House to do the math. As I said, launching a new process, holding more consultations, striking a new committee, and consulting the same people to set up a program that we have already put in place and that will do a good job of meeting our clientele's needs would put the strategy we are hoping to announce soon way behind schedule.
In light of what I just said, our government will obviously not be able to support Motion No. 147.
Nevertheless, I would like to go into more detail on all of the work our government has done to put an end to homelessness.
First, I want to talk about how our government is supporting the national housing strategy by investing $40 billion over the next 10 years. This investment will start on April 1, 2018.
This strategy will help re-establish our government's role as a housing leader and will meet the needs of vulnerable populations.
In 2016, we consulted Canadians, key stakeholders, and the provinces and territories to hear their thoughts and opinions on homelessness. These consultations produced recommendations that helped strengthen Canada's fight against homelessness.
More specifically, stakeholders advocated for renewing and expanding the homelessness partnering strategy. They also asked for more flexibility in the housing first approach. In addition, they pushed to include the right to housing in the national housing strategy.
As part of the national housing strategy and budget 2017, we announced a $2.2-billion investment over 10 years to increase funding for the homelessness partnering strategy.
With these investments, communities are now better equipped to tackle homelessness and reach the goal of reducing chronic homelessness by 50% by 2027-28.
Our government also committed to consulting with stakeholders, the provinces, territories, and indigenous partners on how to best restructure the homelessness partnering strategy in order to more effectively reduce and prevent homelessness in Canada.
On top of that commitment, the government also created an advisory committee, chaired by our excellent Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister Responsible for Housing, and composed of experts, people who have been homeless themselves, and stakeholders in the field.
The committee held online consultations from July 17 to September 15, 2017. The committee also held a series of regional round tables across the country to gather additional information regarding service providers.
In short, the special parliamentary committee the motion calls for would only serve to duplicate a process that is already in place and appears to be very successful.
In closing, our government has done its homework on how to reduce and end homelessness in Canada, and will be ready to present its renewal plan in 2019.
I have not even had a chance to discuss our efforts to end poverty. I could go on for another 10 minutes, but I know that is impossible.
I would like to take a moment to congratulate the member for Saskatoon West on her work and her motion. More importantly, however, I want to congratulate her for the many years of hard work she has put in to advance this file.