There is a little blue dot too, Madam Speaker.
We are debating a motion from the Conservative Party that identifies a real problem but offers a bad solution. I think it is important to have this discussion to actually see what the real solutions are for this housing crisis.
The housing crisis has reached catastrophic levels in many Quebec and Canadian towns and cities, particularly in Montreal, where housing prices have skyrocketed in recent years. People are struggling to find housing and are having to change neighbourhoods because they cannot afford to pay $1,400, $1,500 or $1,750 a month in rent. The Liberals have been promising strategies ever since they came to power six years ago, but we have not seen any concrete changes or results on the ground. On the contrary, the situation has only gotten worse following years of Conservative and Liberal neglect.
People who spend more than 30% of their income on rent tend to be poor and vulnerable. In Canada, that is the reality for 1.7 million households, which means the number of people is even higher. This means that 1.7 million families, couples or individuals spend more than 30% of their income on housing. That is serious. It is catastrophic. In Quebec, 38,000 people are waiting for social housing, for truly affordable housing. In Montreal, 23,000 people are waiting, and that number is growing.
I recently had the chance to take part in an event organized by the Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain, or FRAPRU, which is well known in Quebec, as well as a coalition called the National Right to Housing Network.
We spent a long while listening to testimony from people who live in unsafe housing, who were victims of renovictions, or who are living in housing that is too small, ill-suited to their needs or poorly lit. All of this was detrimental to their mental, and sometimes physical, health. It was heartbreaking to hear these stories in a country as rich as Canada, a G7 country that could be doing so much better.
We heard stories about five people living in a one-bedroom apartment because it was all they could afford. Every night the parents would pull out the sofa bed to sleep, but it blocked the path the kids would take to go to the bathroom during the night. There were five of them in that one-bedroom apartment. We heard from people who have kids with disabilities but do not have the resources or the means to adapt the entryway for their child, who has to come in the back door. It is dangerous and not well lit. These people are living with mould, with fungi, and their health is affected. This, in turn, overwhelms our health care system, because people are living in unsafe conditions in inadequate housing. It is a big problem.
We were talking about the 1.7 million households that spend more than 30% of their income on housing in Canada. In Rosemont—La Petite Patrie, some people spend more than 40% or 50% of their income on housing. Then, when the price of groceries goes up, they are stretched to the limit. It makes no sense. Three thousand households in Rosemont—La Petite Patrie have to spend more than half of their income on housing. It is completely unacceptable. This has been a failure of the Liberal strategy for years.
The motion before us speaks to this real housing problem and to the issue facing young families and young couples who want to buy their first home. It is becoming increasingly difficult. Condos and houses often sell for more than they are listed on the market for. This creates a kind of bubble of speculation that is completely crazy.
The Conservatives may be identifying a real problem, but they seem to be unable to say certain words. For example, they are unable to say the words “social housing”. It seems that social housing is on their lips. They just cannot say it.
The proposed solutions in the motion before us are extremely ideological.
That being said, some aspects of the motion make sense. The NDP is also against taxing capital gains on the sale of a primary residence, but the motion does not offer any real solution to this problem. Everything in the opposition motion is highly ideological and tied to market forces. If there is greater demand then we simply need to increase supply and, like magic, the prices will automatically drop.
Anyone who knows this file and works on the ground, including groups and organizations, knows full well that although part of the problem can be solved by the lucrative market, in other words the supply of profit-driven products, the most effective solution is indisputably more non-market housing.
Such housing does not generate profit. It is community housing, low-income housing, co-operative and social housing. This kind of social housing has to be incorporated in project plans. A developer proposing a project should be required to build social housing, and the federal and Quebec governments should have to provide money to get that social housing built.
There is no solution that does not include not-for-profit housing. Social housing is crucial. That is why the Conservatives' solution is flawed and fails to address what really needs to be done. The Conservatives have their ideological blinders on. They are all about capitalism no matter the cost, and nothing else is even worth considering.
Regarding non-market solutions, members touched on the fact that new co-ops are not being built. That is essential. I had a chance to be at the Montreal premiere of a documentary called Le coop de ma mère by filmmaker Rosemont Ève Lamont. The documentary made it clear just how well those solutions have worked. Co-operatives that were built in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s are still around today, and they are great places to live. Anything considered profit is reinvested in maintaining and upgrading the co-op spaces for the people who live there.
This is also a lesson about working together, participatory democracy, and collective empowerment. The residents of co-operatives become collective owners of the co-operative, and that changes their lives. Without these co-operatives, these people would not be able to live in these neighbourhoods or in these communities. This is something that the NDP is calling for.
I would like to tell my Bloc Québécois colleagues, who seem to want to vote for the Conservative motion, that the NDP is going to move an amendment that I think is in line with the speeches we have heard. We want to add the following to the motion: investments for non-market, non-profit affordable housing; investments to create co-operatives; and the construction of 500,000 new homes, affordable housing, and social housing over the next 10 years. The Liberals are promising 160,000 social housing units, but the NDP is proposing half a million. We are also proposing to create a “for indigenous, by indigenous” housing strategy, which is not in the Conservative motion or in the Liberal’s national housing strategy action plan, even though they have been promising it for years.
These are concrete things that the NDP is putting forward in response to the flaws in the Conservative proposal. I really hope that there will be consistency between what is said and what is done, and that we can count on the support of the Bloc Québécois. These NDP amendments would make for a much more meaningful and logical motion, when it comes to practical solutions.
In this regard, as I spoke earlier with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing and member for Hochelaga, based on the rules in place, which were set by the Liberals, housing that is considered affordable is not affordable at all. We recently learned that, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, or CMHC, a Montreal home that costs $2,200 a month is considered affordable. People are being taken for fools.
We need to put our heads together and we need to consider the right to housing as a fundamental right for which someone could go to court when housing is inadequate. It is a life-changing thing, and I think that as parliamentarians we need to make a significant effort to invest in social housing and truly affordable housing. That is a priority for the NDP.