Better a Year and a Day than Never: Dr. Hedy Fry response to my Letter on Bill C-304

Dear Mr. Granby,

Thank you for your email concerning Bill C-304, An Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians.

Affordable housing and homelessness programs are an important part of basic human right to shelter.
The Liberal Party feels that the federal government has an important role to play in ensuring Canadians have equal access to safe, affordable housing.

The Conservative government has failed to deliver a national housing strategy that addresses the significant housing needs of Canadians. In their 2006 Budget, the Harper government cut $200 million of the $1.6 Billion per year committed by the Liberals for affordable housing. The Conservative Party’s negligent approach to affordable housing and homelessness is a true reflection of their “fend-for-yourself” approach to social programs.

I voted to send this Bill to committee at second reading. The Liberal members of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities introduced 17 well received amendments that make the Bill more effective. Currently, however the Bill has been stalled in committee due to a disagreement over a Block Québecois motion, which the Conservative chair had ruled out of order. However, regardless of whether our Liberal members continue to support this legislation at the committee level, when this Bill does come up for debate in the House it will most likely be ruled ‘out of order’ by the Speaker. The reason for this is that Private Members Bills is that aim to have the government spend money on an initiative, must be agreed to by the party in government, currently the Conservative party. As they do not currently support this legislation, so it will most likely be wiped off the order paper due to parliamentary procedure.

The former Liberal government did have a National Housing Strategy drafted in 2005. This strategy was agreed to by all of the provinces. When it looked like an election was looming, Prime Minister Paul Martin asked NDP leader Jack Layton to support the Liberal Party until they could get this legislation, and the Kelowna Accord passed into law. Mr. Layton ignored Mr. Martin’s request killing this legislation when the Conservatives won the 2006 election.

Thank you again for your correspondence. Please feel free to contact me at any time if I can be of further assistance on this or any other issue.


Hon. Hedy Fry P.C., M.P.
Vancouver Centre
Chair of BC federal Caucus

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