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QUESTION PERIOD — Infrastructure and Communities

National Housing Strategy

December 15, 2023

My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Leader, in 2016, your government launched an $83-billion National Housing Strategy. The strategy’s objectives were as follows:

Homelessness is reduced year-over-year. Housing is affordable and in good condition. Affordable housing promotes social and economic inclusion for individuals and families. Housing outcomes in Canada’s territories are improved year-over-year.

These are only a few of the expected outcomes.

With 24 months remaining before the strategy ends, can it be described as anything but a complete, total and abysmal failure? Will the government admit that this strategy involving the expenditure of $83 billion has been a total failure?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ + ]

The answer is no. It is absolutely true that there’s a housing crisis. It is absolutely true that Canadians — of all ages, but especially younger generations — are having trouble finding housing, and many have given up hope of ever finding housing.

With respect, however, your question completely disregards everything that has happened from 2016 to today, including the pandemic and wars, which have seriously disrupted supply chains.

In short, the government is working on this, whether in the budget, the Fall Economic Statement and the bill we just passed to help Canadians, and we will continue to do so.

Clearly, your government’s $83 billion in investments have not helped.

How many more housing units will be built with the resurrected Sears catalogue of prefabricated plans? Will that solve what the $83 billion couldn’t?

Senator Gold [ + ]

As I said yesterday — and I misquoted the author, but I support what he said in La Presse — the idea of producing pre-set plans is just one element among many others that will speed up housing construction.

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