Ministerial Question Period: Housing and Infrastructure

By: The Hon. Michèle Audette

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Hon. Michèle Audette: Kuei, minister. Calls for Justice 4.1 and 4.8 of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls urge your department to respect the social and economic rights of Indigenous women and girls and to ensure that Indigenous people have the services and infrastructure necessary to meet their needs, such as access to safe housing, clean water and adequate food.

How much has your government or department invested or spent, and what concrete action has your department taken to respond to the Calls for Justice that I just mentioned? Thank you.

Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., M.P., Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities: Thank you for that important question, senator. You’re absolutely right. Quite frankly, the lack of core infrastructure in many Indigenous and northern communities, whether it be housing, clean drinking water or access to community infrastructure, continues to surprise Canadians, particularly when they see the difference between the infrastructure in Indigenous communities and that in other communities. In some big cities, it’s also difficult to have infrastructure that is culturally adapted to the needs of the Indigenous communities who live there. However, it is possible to do both at the same time.

I will get back to you with specific details on the investments my department is making in infrastructure. I’m sure you understand that the Department of Indigenous Services also has an important role to play when it comes to infrastructure, whether it be in health care or other areas. My colleague, the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, also has important responsibilities.

I don’t want to minimize my responsibilities or the important investments that we’ve made in many of my department’s programs. You deserve a detailed answer, and I’ll be pleased to give you one. I know that this is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to the work we need to do, but I’m confident in saying that you will soon see the bar being set higher when it comes to investments. That doesn’t mean that we are going to stop, but I will give you more detailed information in that regard.

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