Federal Candidates Respond To The Task Force Questionnaire

On March 31st the Burnaby Task Force On Homelessness sent three questions to all major party Federal candidates for Burnaby Douglas and Burnaby New Westminster.

Unfortunately the Task Force has received only four responses to these important quest

ions.

Candidates wishing to respond in the future will also have their responses posted on the website.

Questionnaire for Federal Candidates

The Vision of the Burnaby Task Force On Homelessness:
Canada is a country in which all of its citizens have access to
adequate and affordable housing, community support, and adequate
income.

The Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness is committed to working with
all levels of government, the health authority, social service
agencies, business, faith communities, and concerned citizens to
ensure the provision of housing, support services, and adequate income
for Burnaby residents who are without housing or at risk of
homelessness in Burnaby.

The Burnaby Task Force On Homelessness has compiled this questionnaire
for distribution to all candidates seeking to represent Burnaby as a
Member of Parliament.
The results from this questionnaire will be posted on the task force
website. www.burnabyhomelesstaskforce.org
Thank you for your consideration regarding this important issue.
We look forward to your response.
Any questions contact Wanda Mulholland via this email. Please respond by email by April 11th, 2011.

Background Information

The United Nations has declared housing and homelessness in Canada a
national emergency.

Canada is the only G8 country without a national housing strategy.

The 2008 Homeless Count reports the number of people in Burnaby who
are dealing with homelessness to have risen by 110% in three years.

Issues of extreme poverty and homelessness continue to be a reality
for many Burnaby citizens and create many obstacles for citizens to
have their basic needs met: specifically housing, adequate income and
supports.

Burnaby is one of a very few municipalities in the Lower Mainland
which does not have short term/transitional housing for people,
especially males who are dealing with homelessness.

In light of these facts please answer the following questions:

Burnaby Douglas-NDP Kennedy Stewart

1) If elected as a Member of Parliament what will you do to ensure that Canada reinstates a National Housing Strategy?

I have a good deal of experience working on housing in Canada and internationally. For example, I have worked on a number of projects with Terra Housing Consultants who have been helping non-profit groups and government agencies realize housing objectives since 1982. My work with Terra includes designing housing policy for the BC NDP, hosting a Vancouver-based UN conference on shelter (Habitat II) and developing an affordable housing strategy for Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. If elected I pledge to carry on the good work of Libby Davies and the NDP caucus in pushing for a national housing policy and ensuring Canadians realize their right to affordable and secure housing.

2) If elected as a Member of Parliament what initiatives will you implement to work collaboratively with the Provincial Government of British Columbia and the City of Burnaby Municipal Council to ensure that short term/transitional housing is opened in Burnaby specifically for people who are dealing with homelessness?


Intergovernmental cooperation is essential on providing emergency, short-term and permanent housing for people who are dealing with homelessness. I have already spoken to provincial and municipal officials about housing provision in Burnaby. From my point of view, the best approach is for each governmental level to supply one key housing component – land, buildings or staffing – so as to not overly burden our cash strapped municipalities. I see facilitating this intergovernmental cooperation and securing federal contribution for this program as my key role as MP.

3) If elected as a Member of Parliament what initiatives will you implement to work collaboratively with the Provincial Government of British Columbia and the City of Burnaby Municipal Council to increase the supply of affordable housing in Burnaby for low income people?

The first thing to do is to negotiate and develop a plan then commit to something similar in nature to the Vancouver Agreement where all three levels commit to a holistic strategy. The latest homeless count and task force findings could serve as a base for discussion.

Burnaby New Westminster – Garth Evans- Liberal

Dear Wanda,
Homelessness in Burnaby is something I have been concerned about for a very long time. While I was a City Councillor from 2005 to 2008 I tried hard to do something about the problem and was disappointed in the results. The Burnaby City government was not willing to co-operate with B.C. Housing so most initiatives didn’t succeed with the result, as you know, we have no homeless shelter in Burnaby and a serious shortage of affordable housing of all types. I think both

parties are to blame for this situation. We need more affordable housing for families, seniors, handicapped people, and people suffering from mental illness and drug addiction. My law practice concentrates on the development of affordable housing and I act for a number of non-profit housing providers so I have first hand knowledge of the situation. In my opinion our failure to provide proper housing for our poor and disadvantaged people is a national disgrace.

In answer to your three questions:

1) If elected as a Member of Parliament what will you do to ensure that Canada reinstates a National Housing Strategy?

As the newly elected Liberal Member of Parliament for Burnaby-New Westminster one of my highest priorities will be to restore the National Housing Strategy which was cancelled by the federal governments approximately 15 years ago. Cancelling that program was a great tragedy. Formerly we had a national housing program that was a model for the world and seen as an example to follow by many other countries. Now we have nothing. I worked with the CMHC National Housing Program and thought it was an excellent program and would propose that it be reinstated with few if any changes.

2) If elected as a Member of Parliament what initiatives will you implement to work collaboratively with the Provincial Government of British Columbia and the City of Burnaby Municipal Council to ensure that short term/transitional housing is opened in Burnaby specifically for people who are dealing with homelessness?

Burnaby desperately needs a homeless shelter and short term/transitional housing. The homeless need more than a place to sleep, they require assistance in rebuilding their lives and assistance in dealing with the problems that have caused them to become homeless and in becoming able to support themselves independently. I am acutely aware that we have no homeless shelter and very limited transition housing in Burnaby. As Member of Parliament for Burnaby-New Westminster I will lobby my government to provide funding through a restored National Housing Strategy for a homeless shelter and transition housing in Burnaby. I think such housing could best be provided as part of a federal-provincial housing agreement with the administration being handled jointly by CMHC and BC Housing.

3) If elected as a Member of Parliament what initiatives will you implement to work collaboratively with the Provincial Government of British Columbia and the City of Burnaby Municipal Council to increase the supply of affordable housing in Burnaby for low income people?

As I understand the current situation the federal government has almost no involvement in the funding and development of affordable and special needs housing. I also understand B.C. is one of the few provinces with a housing program. As a Member of Parliament in a Liberal government I will press my government to start the process of co-operation by arranging a federal-provincial housing conference with the goal of entering into a federal-provincial agreement to fund and develop low income and special needs housing. There really isn’t any scope for the federal government to work directly with cities on an issue such as housing however I see the City of Burnaby as being directly involved in doing its part in developing such housing as part of the provincial team by providing subsidized land on a rental basis, reduced development cost charges, accelerated and simplified development approval and reduced property taxes.

Burnaby New Westminster Peter Julian – NDP

1.) If elected as a Member of Parliament what will you do to ensure that Canada reinstates a National Housing Strategy?

The New Democratic Party of Canada has been a leader in efforts to ensure Canadians have adequate, affordable and suitable housing. As we state in our platform we will, “…enact the NDP’s legislation to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians;

Libby Davies introduced the historic Bill C-304, an Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians. Bill C-304 calls on the federal government to work with provincial, territorial, municipal and aboriginal counterparts to establish a housing strategy to address Canada’s housing crisis through the provision of not-for-profit housing and investment in and ensure the cost of housing does not interfere with the ability to meet other basic needs like food and access to education.

I pledge to do my best in conjunction with the NDP Caucus to work to ensure the successful implementation of the National Housing Strategy to address Canada’s growing housing and homelessness crisis.

2) If elected as a Member of Parliament what initiatives will you implement to work collaboratively with the Provincial Government of British Columbia and the City of Burnaby Municipal Council to ensure that short term/transitional housing is opened in Burnaby specifically for people who are dealing with homelessness?

3) If elected as a Member of Parliament what initiatives will you implement to work collaboratively with the Provincial Government of British Columbia and the City of Burnaby Municipal Council to increase the supply of affordable housing in Burnaby for low income people?

Answer to # 2 & 3

As a Member of Parliament, one of my chief priorities is to work to ensure that short term transitional housing and the supply of long term affordable housing is increased as soon as possible. I will work hard to ensure federal funding is provided to such a project. It is unacceptable that Canada has a homelessness problem. It is important that we find effective ways to provide proper housing to all Canadians.

The New Democrats budget that was negotiated by Jack Layton at the end of the Paul Martin government brought the first new funding for housing in many years. A significant number of those units were built right here in Burnaby-New Westminster. Much more needs to be done.

I am also working in collaboration with MLA’s Kathy Corrigan, Raj Chouhan and Dawn Black, as well as the elected members of Burnaby City Council and Mayor Corrigan to find solutions to address the critical shortage of transitional and short term housing that result from cut-backs by the provincial and federal governments.

There is perhaps no greater need for the Federal Government to stop the decades of neglect under the former Liberal and current Conservative Governments that has led to homelessness for an estimated ¼ million people, including many in this area.

It is for this reason that I participate in the homelessness count so that I can get the information that I need to advocate strongly in the House of Commons for funding and for long term policies that address the National shame of homelessness.

As a start New Democrats will restore funding for the homeowners Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP), and the Affordable Housing Initiative to increase the supply of affordable housing, in partnership with the provinces and territories. An NDP government will provide significant new funding for affordable and social housing.

Burnaby New Westminster- Carrie McLaren – Green Party

1) If elected as a Member of Parliament what will you do to ensure that Canada reinstates a National Housing Strategy?

Part of the Green Party’s comprehensive platform (which has been available online for years) is to implement a National Affordable Housing Plan. Working with CHMC, the Minister for Housing, we would provide funds through CHMC to community based agencies across Canada to ensure an adequate supply of new subsidized affordable homes (20, 000 new & 10,000 rehabilitated ) and provide rent supplements or shelter assistance for 40,000 low income households per year for ten years. There is more which can be read in full in our Vision Green document.

2) If elected as a Member of Parliament what initiatives will you implement to work collaboratively with the Provincial Government of British Columbia and the City of Burnaby Municipal Council to ensure that short term/transitional housing is opened in Burnaby specifically for people who are dealing with homelessness?

Working with other levels of Government is KEY to getting anything done. Working together with all the government agencies and local non-profit agencies, who are members of the Homelessness Taskforce, we will work as quickly as possible to fund suitable short term and transitional housing is opened for the homeless of Burnaby. Until the larger National Affordable Housing plan can be implemented… we need to help those currently on street and in danger of being homeless.

3) If elected as a Member of Parliament what initiatives will you implement to work collaboratively with the Provincial Government of British Columbia and the City of Burnaby Municipal Council to increase the supply of affordable housing in Burnaby for low income people?

Part of the Green Platform is to make it easier to implement changes we all know Should be made… we propose to change the Income Tax Act to offer tax cuts for affordable housing including incentives to stimulate construction and investment in the building of and maintenance of an ongoing supply of affordable, healthy, energy-efficient, multi-unit rental housing and to include tax credits for gifts of lands, or of land and buildings, to community land trusts to provide affordable housing. Also to dedicate funding to the co-operative housing sector to enable more new affordable housing projects to proceed. We would also provide credit and loan guarantees to non-profit housing organizations and cooperatives for the building and restoration of quality, energy-efficient housing for seniors, people
with special needs, and low-income families.

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