Madam Speaker, too many Canadians are suffering because of our government's lack of initiative to eradicate poverty. The measures in the Liberals' proposed bill are insufficient and do not go far enough. A thousand organizations and citizens from across the country are saying this, including some from my riding.
Ms. Denise wrote to me to say that she cannot find affordable housing that is accessible for her son, who uses a wheelchair. This mother is worried that she cannot properly care for her son, since housing costs are too high. Ms. Denise's concerns are shared by many others in my riding, who are asking for affordable housing units to be built. Affordable housing should be a right, not a luxury. It is a right that many Canadians do not have access to.
I could also mention Ms. Francine, who said that she cannot believe the government's inaction on social housing, especially to help retired Canadians. Pensions are still too low for our seniors to enjoy a decent standard of living.
I heard from Ms. Lyette, Ms. St-Pierre, Mr. Blanchard, Mr. Fournier, Ms. Nicole, Mr. Réjean and many others who want the pension benefit to go up because people who have worked their whole lives should not have such a hard time making ends meet. Estelle and Yvan's only priority is the old age pension, which they wish were higher. The OAS benefit is too low to help our fellow citizens achieve financial security, particularly if they have no other source of income.
The Liberal bill in no way reflects the reality of poverty in Canada. We still have a long way to go, not least when it comes to health care. Many of my constituents talk to me about that.
Mr. Houle, for example, has trouble managing his health because the cost of prescription drugs is more than he can afford on his pension.
Ms. St-Pierre has told me how hard it is to get hospital care because of the lack of equipment and personnel. Yes, I realize health care is a provincial responsibility, but the government needs to increase federal health transfers. Such an increase would considerably improve our health care system and help ensure better care for our patients. Much like housing, health care must not become a luxury. We need to focus on the progress that remains to be made.
The difficulties encountered by my constituents are the same ones encountered by thousands of other people across the country. The federal government needs to show leadership on fighting poverty or certainly regard it as a public relations exercise. After a four-year wait, the Canadian poverty reduction strategy still seriously lacks ambition and basically duplicates existing measures.
Did Canadians really need to wait for years for that, especially with the election just months away? It is smoke and mirrors. When will the Liberals finally stop ignoring Canadians, my constituents and everyone living in poverty, and finally introduce legislation that will really wipe out poverty?