The Honourable Joe Fontana,
Minister of Labour and Housing
House of Commons, Ottawa K1A 0A6
I am writing regarding your letter dated May 18, 2005 to housing and homelessness partners, concerning budget allocations for new housing initiatives in the proposed budget.
I would like to clarify the following paragraph:
"Our original commitment was to invest $1.5 billion over the next five years towards new housing initiatives. The commitment has now been accelerated to two years, and given the agreement with the New Democratic Party, we now have an additional $100 million for housing, bringing it to a total of $1.6 billion."
While in the last federal election your party committed $1.5 billion for new housing initiatives, this did not translate into any new funds or line items in the February 2005 Budget. The NDP and many housing and homelessness groups lobbied you to follow through on this promise and we were disappointed with this initial budget because it failed to honour the $1.5 billion promise.
It was only after negotiations with the NDP that the $1.6 billion commitment for housing became a reality. As you are well aware the revised Budget, currently Bill C-48, contains $1.6 billion for new housing initiatives. In short, if it had not been for the NDP the commitment to housing would have been left as another Liberal broken promise. The NDP is committed to making Parliament work as Canadians expect. This budget is both fiscally responsible and gets something done for people and the environment.
Your letter is not written in the spirit of the constructive and productive relationship we have build through the budget negotiations process. Instead, it misrepresents the facts and does no-one a service. Now, let's get back to the real work of building affordable housing across Canada.
I look forward to your response on this important matter.
Libby Davies, MP (Vancouver-East)
NDP House Leader and Critic for Housing and Homelessness