Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Salaberry—Suroît.
[Member spoke in Dene, interpreted as follows:]
Today I rise to support the motion that my friend, the member for Saskatoon West, has put forward to create an immediate and necessary response to the housing crisis in Canada. I am glad to be speaking today as a follow-up to the important call to action that the NDP put forward to the Liberal government to immediately address the crisis in housing in on-reserve and northern homes.
As a northerner, I see the crisis. We need a lot of housing in my community of La Loche. Walking the streets of La Loche, I see people who are struggling without homes and without water and do not know where they are going to get their next meal and where they are going to sleep. When I go to La Ronge, in front of the shelters like Scattered Site in La Ronge, I see people who are trying to get a meal.
It is important to see that the homeless people do not just sit on the streets all day.
I want to say more here about people who do not have houses. They do not have much with them. They do not have clothes or food or shelter or anywhere to sleep. People who are struggling with addictions, with alcohol, need housing too; they do not have housing. Youth and students who are away from their homes to attend school do not have homes when they are attending schools or university. People who are low-income wage earners who make money and single mothers who are often with young children and babies are people who do not have homes, and they are struggling too. Men of all ages are struggling as well. Those people do not have homes, and they are struggling too.
Elders and seniors across northern Saskatchewan are more likely to be abused, and they are less likely to report the abuse they experience. They will not tell the RCMP, because they feel the RCMP will not help them. The cost of living is higher for seniors and the costs of medication and transportation to see a doctor are increasing. Even food is expensive. Money is scarce, and they do not have much. One elder I know from Montreal Lake is living in a shelter. The federal government and provincial government are ignoring her. She is forgotten by a system where nobody wants to help her.
People with low incomes and people who make lots of money are struggling to buy and maintain homes in the north. To borrow money is hard for them too. The cost of supplies and to transport lumber to the north is expensive. Maintenance costs are only increasing for the average person in the north. The cost of food for everyone is increasing. For those earners who have children, the cost of food, clothes and education is up too.
People who are working are in poverty too. What people in the north want is different from what the government is providing.
In my own community of La Loche, I see homeowners where I am living. I am a renter. I feel like I am living in a homeless place, because there are no places to go.
It is hard to talk about these kinds of things. It is kind of embarrassing too.
People on reserve have a tough time too. They try really hard to talk to the government about how to build houses and how to put money away for housing issues. It is difficult to do that too. In Saskatchewan, sometimes people get evicted and lose their houses. In Sandy Bay, dozens of families are victims of the cost of living. They do not know where to go. The government took the money and could help the people of the north. Furthermore, people who are struggling with housing and also people who have houses, whether working or not, still need a lot of money for housing and property.
The Conservatives, when they were in power, cut off funding for a lot of people, and there is no more money for that. The Liberal government is the same, cutting the funds for housing. It is hard for people in the north to ask for help with funding. They need a lot of money for housing.
People wait quite a bit for housing, at least 10 years. For people living in housing, on reserve and in municipalities, many of the houses are in bad condition with, for example, mould and they get diseases from that. None of the government departments is providing answers or hope.
It is kind of confusing for people, young or old, to find a house, to just try to live. They need funding for housing. They cannot buy property without money. That is why I am proud today to support a motion today that provides a measurable goal that means something to people, because funding formulas are always changing and confusing Canadians' measure of the success of housing. I am happy to be here to talk about this.
Speaking Dene about housing issues is a huge thing for me. People living on reserve, Métis people and far north people need money for housing and to be supportive of them and the way they think about housing. We need the government to reach out to the people who need housing. When government thinks about the funding, it thinks about what is best for them.
Kids are going to suffer, and when they get older they will not know where to go. To also think about those kinds of things, we need the government to help the Dene people. That is why I am here to talk about housing for the people. That is why I am standing here today asking.