House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was affordable.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Housing SupplyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to also thank all the people, regardless of political stripe or affiliation, who volunteered, asked tough questions, worked so hard, contributed in numerous ways, and voted and participated in our country's democracy. I am proud to continue to serve as their member of Parliament.

I often say that, as much as the world needs more Canada, Canada needs more Waterloo. Last month I participated virtually in Waterloo Region's 20th National Housing Day celebration. The stories that were shared were tremendous. I agree that all Canadians deserve housing that is safe, affordable and enables them to raise healthy children and pursue opportunities to build better lives for themselves and their families, thereby benefiting our communities, our country and our economy.

As we have learned and experienced during the pandemic, home is a sanctuary, a place of safety and refuge. It should be, but that is not the case for everyone. COVID-19 has exposed the inequities that exist in our society. The global health pandemic has impacted the whole world, all Canadians and disproportionately certain segments of our population and sectors of our economy. We know that by staying at home and keeping physically distanced, we have helped flatten the curve and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Additionally, by getting vaccinated, we are further helping reduce the spread, even as new variants are discovered.

I want to appreciate those Canadians who have gotten vaccinated. I encourage those who have been waiting to raise their concerns with professionals and to do their part to protect their friends, their families and their neighbours. For me, getting vaccinated was personal. My father, who was my backbone, had a massive heart attack in October 2020. Our pharmacist, who has since passed away and whom we miss, and my father's family doctor told him to go to the hospital, and my mom got him there.

I will forever be grateful to the on-call emergency doctor who called in the heart specialist. They had to revive my dad, and the damage that has been done to his heart cannot be undone. Therefore, I will do whatever I need to keep my dad, my family and my loved ones safe. If I may, I wanted to share my heartfelt appreciation for the amazing and hard-working health professionals at St. Mary's General Hospital in Kitchener for saving my dad.

Clearly, I digress. Let us get back to housing.

This is something that comes up very often, especially in the Waterloo area. Just this past November 22, Waterloo Region had its 20th National Housing Day celebration. I commend the numerous housing advocates and housing champions, and I congratulate the award recipients. So many of the people who attended the event, and even some angels who I believe were watching from above, have helped inform our government's housing plan.

Our government's national housing strategy, the first national housing strategy in Canada, is a 10-year, $72-plus-billion plan. It will give more Canadians a place to call home, while ensuring that Canadians across the country can access affordable housing that meets their needs. We also launched Reaching Home, Canada's homelessness strategy, which supports the goals of the national housing strategy. The Government of Canada's homelessness programming now represents a $3.1-billion investment over 10 years.

Reaching Home is a community-based program aimed at supporting local efforts to prevent and eliminate homelessness by streamlining access to housing and supports for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This outcomes-based approach not only keeps decision-making at the local level, but also gives communities greater flexibility to address their local priorities, including investing in homelessness prevention and programming designed to meet the needs of underserved or under-represented communities. These include women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, youth, indigenous people, people with disabilities, people experiencing mental health and substance-use issues, veterans, LGBTQ2 individuals, racialized and Black Canadians, and recent immigrants or refugees.

While homelessness is often more visible in larger urban centres, it is an issue for rural communities and communities like Waterloo Region. Our government has made it a priority to design programs and supports that meet the needs of smaller communities. As an example, the rapid housing initiative invested approximately $2.5 billion to help address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by including the construction of modular housing, as well as the acquisition of land and the conversion of existing buildings to affordable housing.

The rapid housing initiative, through the national housing strategy, is investing in Waterloo Region, building units that will provide supports for some of the most vulnerable in our community. We know the pandemic has placed significant new funding pressures on homeless-serving sectors in Canada, which, like all sectors, have had to transform how their services are delivered in order to prevent outbreaks, especially among those who are at heightened risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions or reduced opportunities to self-isolate.

That is why our government has invested an additional $400 million under Reaching Home, and to support the homeless-serving sector in its efforts to reduce the transmission and impacts of COVID-19, and to support communities to implement more permanent housing solutions.

As a government and as members of Parliament, we have been listening and engaging. That is why we knew we had to adapt our program in these extraordinary times. In addition to these investments, the program's directives were updated to provide increased flexibility to communities for investing federal funds to support their local responses to COVID-19. However, we did not stop there. As part of budget 2021, our government proposed a number of additional key investments to make sure no one in Canada is without a place to call home.

This includes an additional investment of $567 million under Reaching Home, because this program is making a positive difference and it works. We also provided $45 million for a pilot program aimed at reducing veteran homelessness, and allocated $480 million to address indigenous homelessness needs in urban, rural and northern areas. This includes investments of $157 million for distinctions-based priorities with first nations, Inuit and Métis partners, as well as with indigenous governments.

Addressing homelessness and housing issues means we need ongoing collaboration. We will continue to work with our provincial and territorial partners, and hopefully all members in this House, to get the job done. Unfortunately, in the province of Ontario, the provincial Conservative government has been silent on two key issues that would help with the rising cost of living: housing and child care.

I want to compare that with our government's priorities, and I will quote from the recent Speech from the Throne. It states:

[W]e must keep tackling the rising cost of living. To do that, the Government's plan includes two major priorities: housing and child care.

Whether it is building more units per year, increasing affordable housing, or ending chronic homelessness, the Government is committed to working with its partners to get real results.

The Speech from the Throne goes on to say the following:

The Government will continue working with the remaining two provinces to finalize agreements that will deliver $10-a-day child care for families who so badly need it. Investing in affordable child care—just like housing—is not just good for families. It helps grow the entire economy.

One of those two provinces is Ontario. All to say, the Conservatives talk a lot when they are in opposition, but when they are in government, their actions speak louder than their words. The Conservative cuts that have been made on the backs of Canadians have been exposed in this pandemic.

Our government, from day one, has remained focused on Canadians and the most vulnerable. When we lowered taxes on the middle class and raised them on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians, Conservatives voted against it. When we gave the tax-free Canada child benefit to families with children, who needed it the most, by asking the wealthiest families not to take it, Conservatives voted against it. Every time we have invested in the national housing strategy, Conservatives have voted against it. The Conservatives know very well that our government will not tax primary residences, yet again, in their opposition motion, they repeat this false narrative.

It has been such a challenging time for too many people, but the Conservatives add to the uncertainty. This pandemic has demonstrated some of the best of humankind and, clearly, some of the worst. Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home, and our government will continue to work toward a long-term shared vision to do just that.

Opposition Motion—Housing SupplyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Marty Morantz Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Madam Speaker, the member opposite and her colleagues love to brag about their housing program. However, on August 10, four days before the call of the unnecessary election, the Parliamentary Budget Officer himself, Mr. Giroux, in his report entitled “Federal Program Spending on Housing Affordability in 2021” commented on the federal government's program. He said the program is having a limited impact.

Why is the Parliamentary Budget Officer calling this program such a failure, when the Liberals love to brag about it so much?

Opposition Motion—Housing SupplyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, I am not sure if the member heard my entire speech. Clearly there is a lot more work to do, and we would like to do that with different levels of government and with all members of Parliament. It is important that we make a collective effort in ensuring that every Canadian has a place to call home.

The national housing strategy has massive investments within it, but we have never been able to gain the support of Conservatives. In 2015, homelessness was never mentioned in the Conservative platform. The last election gave them an opportunity to mention homelessness two times in their platform.

It is important that we actually consider people who do not have a safe and affordable place to call home. They matter, and we are going to keep fighting for them.

Opposition Motion—Housing SupplyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline Desbiens Bloc Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Madam Speaker, obviously, they talk about investments and money, but nothing concrete ever comes from it.

The Bloc Québécois is proposing that 1% of the federal budget be invested permanently in very affordable social housing. This would allow for the kind of predictability I think is needed to turn a large amount of money into something concrete.

What does my colleague think about our proposal?

Opposition Motion—Housing SupplyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her very thoughtful comment and suggestion. I think it is important that we have these kinds of respectful debates so that more Canadians have a safe and affordable place to call home. Something our government has been doing is making sure there are carve-outs when it comes to some of the most under-represented and underserved communities.

I have plenty of time to have this conversation, and the Minister of Housing has definitely demonstrated that his approach is a collective one. I think it is also important to note that all levels of government have a responsibility to be part of this narrative, and we need to see all levels of government doing their fair share.

Opposition Motion—Housing SupplyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, the member talks as though she really supports affordable housing and those who are homeless, but given the trajectory in which we are going with the government's national affordable housing initiative, we are not going to meet the targets. We will not end homelessness.

Given that perspective, would the member support what the NDP is calling for, which is the injection of 500,000 units of social and co-operative housing, so that we can in fact address the housing crisis in this country?

Opposition Motion—Housing SupplyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is important that we keep working together to hit and exceed targets, but I have noticed something about the NDP. They believe that if we cannot meet them, we should not try.

Opposition Motion—Housing SupplyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Oh, oh!

Opposition Motion—Housing SupplyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

We are going to keep trying, we are going to keep investing and we are going to keep making a difference. The rapid housing initiative, as an example, is making a difference in my community in the region of Waterloo. I am really proud of investments like that.

The member can continue to yell at me, but we are going to keep putting in effort to make a difference. Every house makes a difference and we need to keep doing more.

Auditor General of CanadaGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I have the honour to lay upon the table the fall 2021 reports of the Auditor General of Canada.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(g), these reports are deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Evan SmithStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sven Spengemann Liberal Mississauga—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to honour and pay tribute to Evan Smith. Evan had a thirst for adventure and relished challenges that took him outside his comfort zone. He loved to explore the great outdoors and camped in every kind of weather, even at 20°C below zero. An experienced paddler, Evan canoed up the Missinaibi River to Moosonee, followed by a dip in James Bay.

He served our community through Scouts Canada. A talented musician and an award-winning student, Evan focused on math and the sciences, and it was no surprise to his family that he chose to study engineering at university. Above all, Evan left an indelible mark on everyone he met, with his humour, kindness and down-to-earth demeanour.

His parents Debbie and Adam, his sister Jasmine and brother Sean, his loved ones and friends and all others who knew him are devastated by his sudden and tragic death in September at age 18. Evan Smith will be remembered with full yet broken hearts.

Vaccine Requirements for Service WorkersStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Thomas Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, service workers in large part have carried this country through the pandemic. They have continued to care for the sick, to transport food and to provide vital services. They are heroes. Their work has been critical and they have rightfully been afforded allowances for essential travel throughout the pandemic.

It is confounding, then, that the Prime Minister is now going to impose vaccine requirements for these essential workers, starting on January 15. If these new requirements come into effect, 20% of Canadian truck drivers who run international routes have indicated that they will quit.

It is easy for some in the House to be dismissive of this, but it is important to pause and understand. We are already short 18,000 truck drivers in this country, which means we cannot afford to lose any more because of this arbitrary and harmful policy. More than two-thirds of goods going between Canada and the U.S. travel on roads and highways, so consider for a moment the ramifications: goods will not flow, shortages will result and prices will go up.

Let us exercise some common sense and not penalize our essential service workers. Let us stand up for our heroes.

Former Member for Bramalea—Gore—MaltonStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to stand in the House today to share some wonderful news about my dear friend and former member of Parliament the Honourable Gurbax Malhi.

Mr. Malhi is an inspiration to both the Sikh community and Brampton. In 1993, Mr. Malhi was elected to serve as the Bramalea—Gore—Malton representative in Ottawa and continued to serve for an impressive 18 consecutive years. While he achieved great things through his role as parliamentary secretary to various ministers, he truly made waves and revolutionized politics by being the first-ever turban-wearing Sikh to be elected in Canada and in any legislature in the western world. In fact, Mr. Malhi's election led to the revocation of a Canadian law prohibiting members of Parliament from wearing any headgear, paving the way for future leaders to wear their religious garments freely and with pride.

I am thrilled to announce that Brampton named a park in honour of Mr. Malhi this week. I know that I speak on behalf of Brampton when I share my heartfelt congratulations. I thank Mr. Malhi for being a trailblazer and inspiring us all.

Michèle LalondeStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, on November 7, Michèle Lalonde was elected mayor of Sainte‑Adèle in my riding of Laurentides—Labelle with 66% of the votes.

Before running for office, she was the president of the Sainte‑Adèle chamber of commerce and tourism. During an interview with the Laurentians' Journal Accès, she spontaneously answered the following question: When was a time in your life when you showed courage? She very quickly and sincerely answered that it was when she decided to make a gender transition. I believe that this new mayor of Sainte‑Adèle is very determined. She is a self-assured person who succeeds in her endeavours without being prejudiced.

For those struggling with their transition, she is a role model of success with her positive and constructive spirit. That is why I stand in solidarity with her.

Alfred‑Pellan Food DriveStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Angelo Iacono Liberal Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the holiday season is upon us and while some Canadians are preparing to celebrate, it is important to remember that, for some families, the need is even greater during this time.

Almost 200 families in my riding rely on food banks. This year, I am again bringing together the people from Jeunes Youth Laval to help me with the Alfred-Pellan food drive, which will brighten the holidays for the less fortunate.

Last year, more than 400 pounds of food were collected and the goal is to do even better in 2021.

Thanks to the generosity of businesses, farmers organizations and constituents, this initiative aims to make the season merry for everyone as much through the joy of giving as through the one of receiving.

Thank you to the young and not so young for their contribution. Thank you to the individuals and businesses who, through their solidarity, make this initiative so successful.

Merry Christmas to all.

Calgary Rocky RidgeStatements by Members

December 9th, 2021 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me thank the amazing people of Calgary Rocky Ridge for returning me to represent them in the House of Commons. I wish to thank my incredible volunteer team, without whom I would not be here today.

I thank my parents Marnie and Duane Kelly, my loving wife Kimberley, her parents Brian and Melodie McBeath and our incredible daughters Katie, Jessica and Meaghan for their love and unwavering support. I also thank the other candidates, their teams and the poll workers for ensuring that voters had a choice in a free and open election.

I grew up in my riding and have in turn raised my own family in Calgary Rocky Ridge, where the people have elected me in opposition to the government. I will carefully consider all the measures proposed in this chamber, and if the government persists in the policies that have caused so much harm and disappointment in my riding since 2015, my constituents can count on me to oppose them with all the tools available to me in the House of Commons.

Brampton CentreStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Shafqat Ali Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am truly humbled and honoured to rise for the first time as a member of Parliament in the House of Commons. I want to thank the residents of Brampton Centre for placing their trust in me, and also thank my team, who worked so hard in the election campaign.

After losing my father when I was 10 and being raised by a single mom, family means everything to me. I am grateful to my wife Nazia and our children Ibrahim, Mariam and Marwa for their continued support. I love them.

Like many newcomers, I moved to Canada with a dream to succeed in this beautiful land of opportunity. Going from a humble beginning to an immigrant success story, I understand what it means to make ends meet and the struggle of a single mother or a university student unable to pay their tuition fees. I will proudly be their strong voice in the House of Commons.

Child Care in Hamilton MountainStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lisa Hepfner Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise as the member of Parliament for Hamilton Mountain, and I am so grateful to my constituents for electing me to be their voice in the House.

Over and over I have heard that our government's plan for a national affordable child care system will be transformative for families in Hamilton Mountain. I recently visited one of the Umbrella Family and Child Centres in my riding with the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

The children I played with at the Templemead centre were completely engaged with their friends and teachers.

I spoke at length with the executive director, Darryl Hall, who told me that more child care spaces will ease his wait-list and that our plan will save families in Hamilton Mountain $16,000 a year by 2026.

We are still waiting for an agreement with the Government of Ontario.

I am proud to fight for families in Hamilton Mountain and to be part of a government that is committed to delivering high-quality, inclusive and affordable child care in Ontario.

Child Care in Hamilton MountainStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Order. Before continuing, I want to remind everyone that statements are being made and we all want to hear what is being said. If members can keep the chatter down, it will make things that much more interesting.

The hon. member for Oxford.

Lou Marsh Trophy RecipientStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour and privilege to congratulate Damian Warner, Canada's 2021 recipient of the Lou Marsh Trophy, awarded to Canada's top athlete of the year.

Damian had the attention of not only all of Canada but the world when he broke the record for the decathlon at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year. Damian became just the fourth person to ever break the 9,000-point mark and the first in the Olympics. Damian joins a long list of great Canadian athletes who have received this award, but to me, the greatest accomplishment of his is being an outstanding father to my first great-grandson.

Congratulations to Damian on his outstanding accomplishment.

Birthday CongratulationsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Taleeb Noormohamed Liberal Vancouver Granville, BC

Mr. Speaker, on December 13, Ismaili Muslims across Canada will celebrate the 85th birthday of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan.

An honorary Canadian citizen and honorary companion of the Order of Canada, the Aga Khan has worked tirelessly to reduce global poverty, advance gender equality and improve health care and education around the world.

His Highness continues to inspire the Ismaili community to serve our fellow citizens and improve the quality of life of those around us every day.

As Ismailis prepare to celebrate 50 years of settlement in Canada, they recall the partnership between Canada and the Aga Khan, which enabled our community to flee hardship in East Africa in the 1970s and make this our home. Since then, Ismailis from Syria, Iran, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have found refuge in Canada, embracing the Canadian values of pluralism, kindness and compassion.

As we mark the 85th birthday of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, we express our gratitude for his leadership.

I ask all members of the House to join me in wishing Ismailis across Canada Salgirah Khushiali Mubarak.

Winnipeg Blue BombersStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Marty Morantz Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to proudly congratulate the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on their nail-biting victory against the Saskatchewan Roughriders just this past weekend.

Our shared pride of the CFL never fails to bring excitement for the whole family to enjoy. Whether fans are watching from their television at home or cheering on the Bombers in person at the IG Field, this season has truly been one for the history books. No team scored more points than the Bombers. No team turned the ball over less or forced more giveaways than the Bombers. No team's margin of victory was consistently well into the double digits the way the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' was.

I call on every member of the House to join me in wishing the best of luck to our team in blue as it faces the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for the coveted Grey Cup this coming Sunday. I hope Hamilton is ready; I know we are.

Go, Bombers, go.

Hamilton Tiger-CatsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Muys Conservative Flamborough—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am going to have to disagree with my colleagues from Winnipeg and Manitoba, because, as a proud Hamilton area MP, it is a great pleasure to rise and recognize the champions of the CFL's east division, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have had an incredible season. It has been one of sheer grit and determination, which is much like the story of Hamilton itself. It is a team that now looks to avenge the loss it suffered to the Bombers two years ago, except this time we are playing on home turf on Hamilton's own Tim Hortons Field.

Let me conclude with the famous chant that has been recited at many Tiger-Cat games over the years and will surely be recited again on Sunday as the Tiger-Cats go on to win the 108th Grey Cup: “Oskee wee wee! Oskee wa wa! Holy mackinaw! Tigers! Eat ‘em raw!”

Organizations in Vaudreuil—SoulangesStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the holiday season approaches, I rise today in the House to salute the organizations in my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges and their support teams, who work tirelessly to help people in need. They include the Dorion Dream Center, L’Actuel in Vaudreuil‑Dorion, Le Pont Bridging and Meals on Wheels in Hudson, Café de la Débrouille in Rigaud, La Source d’Entraide in Saint‑Lazare, as well as Moisson Sud‑Ouest and the meals on wheels program at the Centre communautaire des aînés Vaudreuil‑Soulanges.

We are fortunate to have such a diverse group of dedicated and organized volunteers. On behalf of this entire community and the House, I express my sincere thanks and gratitude.

I also invite everyone in Vaudreuil—Soulanges to continue showing the solidarity that we have always shown and give to these organizations that have always given to us.

Government PoliciesStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, Ottawa can be both a rewarding and frustrating place, rewarding because of the many opportunities we have in making a real difference in the lives of our constituents, but frustrating in that many of the proposed solutions can be too slow or ineffective in addressing the challenges our country is facing.

I believe that politics is an inherently optimistic enterprise and that we are all here to do right by our communities and make this country a better place. We have the ability, and the responsibility, to enact policies and transformational change that will leave a legacy for future generations. We owe it to them to be bold in confronting climate change, enacting health care reform, pursuing justice and reconciliation with indigenous people, and setting Canada on a path toward the renewable and clean energy economy of the future.

I am very thankful to the residents of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford for again putting their trust in me to be here to fight for this bold future.

Finally, allow me to wish you, Mr. Speaker, and all my colleagues in the House a happy and healthy holiday season.