The TRUTH about Bill C-400

On behalf of the Conservative government, Tony Clement has spoken out against C-400 calling it a “dangerous new NDP spending scheme” for more social housing.

This is a completely false characterization of Bill C-400.

Let’s be very clear:

1)      Bill C-400 is NOT a money bill.

2)      It does NOT call for a new social housing program.  It is  about the  development of a national housing strategy in keeping with human rights law.

Bill C-400 is not a “money bill”.  As a private member’s bill it cannot allocate federal funds without Government approval.  The cost of the housing strategy would depend on how the strategy is designed in collaboration with other governments and stakeholders.

We know, however, that addressing homelessness and inadequate housing in Canada would save governments significant amounts of money. Acting on homelessness is not just morally responsible, it’s fiscally responsible:

Homelessness costs the Canadian economy $4.5 billion each year (cost of emergency shelters, hospital visits, policing, lost productivity, etc.)

Bill C-400 is not about social housing.  It is the first step in implementing a national housing strategy to implement the right to adequate housing.  It ensures a coordinated and coherent response to the housing and homelessness crisis that engages a range of stakeholders including all levels of government.

For accurate details on Bill C-400 please see our backgrounder.

The press release from the Conservative government is below:


Conservative Party of Canada

Date: February 27, 2013

For immediate release

Harper Government Opposes Dangerous New NDP Spending Scheme


OTTAWA – Today, the Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, announced that the Harper Government will not support Bill C-400, which is NDP legislation that calls on the federal government to create a new national social housing strategy. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada estimates that the price tag for this legislation will be at minimum $5.5 billion per year.

“Week after week, we see Mulcair’s NDP continuing to demonstrate to Canadians their dangerous and risky spending schemes,” said Minister Clement.  “At a time when we are trying to return to balanced Budgets, our Government will not support this risky and dangerous NDP spending scheme that will result in higher taxes or increased deficits,” said Minister Clement.

The NDP’s Bill C-400, which will be voted upon in the House of Commons today, calls for the establishment of a new national social housing strategy. This program would be on top of the $12 billion[1] dollars the Government of Canada transfers to the provinces each year under the Canada Social Transfer. And, it is on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars the Government spends on affordable housing and homelessness each and every year.

“The Harper Government will continue to focus on what matters to Canadians – jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” said Minister Clement. “We will not support a new spending program that will justify Thomas Mulcair imposing a $21 billion carbon tax on hardworking Canadian families,” added Minister Clement.