[Hpn] Fwd: Government Hansard Re: housing

Bonnie Briggs s248_1132@hotmail.com
Fri, 05 May 2000 07:33:33 -0700 (PDT)

Hi gang,
  Here is what was said in the Government about housing. This is a 
transcription of what was said on May 4/2000.

>>Hansard - Ontario Legislature
>>May 4, 2000
>>Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): My question is to the Deputy 
>>Minister, today I attended a news conference where local activists 
>>the personal effects of a homeless woman, whose name was Jennifer 
>>who burned to death in mid-March in the Don Valley. She's one of 21
>>confirmed deaths of homeless people that have occurred in this city in 
>>a few weeks. In my view we have to respond, and we need to respond to this
>>crisis not as taxpayers but as citizens. How many deaths does it take 
>>we get people like you and your government to respond to this housing 
>>Hon Chris Hodgson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): I know that
>>the Minister of Community and Social Services would like to share some
>>information with the House.
>>Hon John R. Baird (Minister of Community and Social Services, minister
>>responsible for francophone affairs): I certainly want to indicate to the
>>member opposite that all of us on this side of the House share the concern
>>over any tragedy, particularly the one the member spoke of earlier. It is
>>simply unacceptable in the province of Ontario.
>>Homelessness is an issue which demands the attention of all levels of
>>government, including the province of Ontario. By working together, I
>>believe we can make a difference. This government has made a substantial
>>commitment through the more than $100 million in our provincial 
>>strategy, building on the more than $2 billion a year we spend to help
>>people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in terms of 
>>But indeed we can do more.
>>Through the homelessness initiatives fund, we're spending more than $10
>>million to help our municipal partners right across the province on 
>>such as Eva's Phoenix project in the riding of the member opposite, where 
>>had the opportunity to visit and learn about some of the exciting projects
>>they're working on. We have a rent supplement that we are beginning to be
>>able to roll out across the province.
>>Mr Marchese: Minister, in your budget you found $4 billion for corporate
>>taxes and not a single cent for housing--not one penny for housing. The
>>Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp says we need 16,000 new rental units to 
>>built annually. I don't say that; they say that. We have problems of 
>>proportions. In many, many cities, towns and regions in the province,
>>including Brampton, Muskoka, Peterborough and Peel region, they're opening
>>up shelters, conducting studies and convening task forces. It's all over
>>Yesterday, M. Eves said that your so-called SuperBuild millennium
>>partnership fund will be available to redevelop Toronto's waterfront. I'm
>>assuming--and you might refer back to the Deputy Premier--that you agree
>>that it's important to have communities on the waterfront and elsewhere 
>>are not just playgrounds for the rich but house the homeless and other
>>people in society without much money.
>>Minister, will you commit today to just one quarter of that billion 
>>you're spending on urban centres and put it into housing for the homeless
>>and low-income workers?
>>Hon Tony Clement (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): We will do
>>better than that. We will commit to continuing the government program
>>designed to invest in people rather than in bricks and mortar, in people
>>rather than making sure that architects get paid for boondoggle projects, 
>>people rather than in making sure that lawyers get paid for boondoggle
>>projects. I know it's different from what the honourable members did, but 
>>want to assure the honourable member we are investing in people. The
>>$50-million fund that Minister Baird and I created last November to help 
>>additional 10,000 families have access to rent-geared-to-income 
>>is what we do on this side of the House: We invest in people. This is a
>>serious issue, there is no doubt about it, but our approach is to invest 
>>people rather than bricks.
>>Mr Marchese: I talk about housing and he talks about horseradish. How long
>>can this minister and this government continue to blah-blah-blah their way
>>through question period? How can he so well belittle the issue of
>>homelessness and housing so dismissively? How can he do that when the
>>tragedy of the boondoggle is the fact that the homeless people are dying?
>>Skyrocketing rents for ordinary people are just shooting through the roof
>>and no affordable housing is being built by anyone--not the federal
>>government, not the provincial government and not the private sector that
>>he's courting to build, because they're not building. No one is building.
>>How can he say, "We're going to do better than that." It boggles the
>>intelligence of the people in this place.
>>Minister, there's something you could do. I know you don't want to do 
>>but there is something you could do. Earlier this week, my leader proposed 
>>lottery to fund Olympic infrastructure, including affordable housing. We
>>estimate it will raise $1 billion over seven years. Will you adopt our 
>>of an Olympic lottery and take just one quarter of what you would raise 
>>put it into housing for the homeless and low-income workers? It's a
>>suggestion. I know you won't do anything else--
>>The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Minister.
>>Hon Mr Clement: I don't mean to belittle anybody. I can assure the
>>honourable member that we saw a problem that had accumulated over a series
>>of years, and the hundreds of millions of dollars of spending purportedly 
>>help solve that problem was not solving the problem; the problem was 
>>worse. In fact, the honourable member should know that the not-for-profit
>>housing these honourable members supported meant profits for lawyers,
>>profits for architects, profits for planners and profits for builders, but
>>it did not help the people it purported to serve to the extent that the
>>honourable members try to put on the record in terms of their rhetoric.
>>Our solution is to help the people through rent-geared-to-income, through
>>ensuring it is possible to build units in our province by eliminating the
>>PST for construction materials, something the federal government has also
>>tacked on to their last budget in terms of the GST. That is the approach
>>that will get solutions. Will they happen soon enough? We all want it to
>>happen tomorrow, but we are working on rebuilding what they destroyed--
>>[later in the session]
>>Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton West): To the Legislative Assembly of 
>>"Whereas the Harris government's plan to force the sale of subsidized
>>housing in Hamilton-Wentworth will create a crisis for 700 local families; 
>>"Whereas in addition to these 700 families there are 3,700 other families 
>>waiting lists who will be left without affordable accommodation; and
>>"Whereas the Harris government's housing sell-off is mean-spirited and
>>targets the poorest families who are now threatened with possible 
>>"Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of 
>>as follows:
>>"That the Legislative Assembly of Ontario direct the Harris government to
>>save these affordable housing units for low-income families, and support 
>>affordable housing to help the 3,700 families on waiting lists in our
>>I add my name
>>Housing Now!
>>Cathy Crowe, RN
>>416-703-8482 (117)
>>416-703-6190 (fax)

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