NDP MP Libby Davies’ housing bill, C-304, has just had another bit of good news from committee today. I caught up with Davies after QP.
Dale Smith: Your bill passed committee again today. Tell me what happened.
Libby Davies: Yes! I actually arrived just as they were starting to vote; I was about five minutes late because I went to the wrong building. After all of the holdups, the obstacles and what happened in the last two committee meetings, it went through in like five minutes. The amendment is in the bill, and the bill is coming back into the House. Now it’s basically a race for the clock because if we do go to an election, obviously time will be short. But so far so good.
DS: Remind me what this amendment means.
LD: The amendment deals with Quebec – it’s what’s called a “Quebec opt-out clause.” Other bills, legislation and federal-provincial agreements have it. A similar amendment, which we had originally, was ruled out of order by the Speaker, so we sent it back to committee. The amendment we now have, which the Bloc, the Liberals and the NDP agree with, was ruled in order by the Conservative chair. The bill will now come back into the House with that amendment. Basically, it allows Quebec to do their own housing programs.
DS: It is going to be another six weeks or so before it comes up again?
LD: I’m back on the list, and what I will try to do is try to move myself up.
DS: With that in mind, does this mean that you’ve started looking for a Senate sponsor?
LD: I’ve actually already started talking to people in the Senate. I don’t want to say who at this point, but I’m already on to that. The big thing will be to get it through the House. That’ll be a huge victory, which is what I’m focused on right now.
DS: Did you have any particular message for International Women’s Day as you are the sole out lesbian in the House, as well as the sole female deputy party leader?
LD: I like what Jody Williams said this morning at the NDP breakfast – she’s a woman who's won the Nobel Prize for landmines – when a reporter asked her how she would like to be remembered after she was dead. She said first of all, she didn’t want to think of that, but she wanted to be remembered as a kickass, grassroots activist. I said, Right on. So I’d like to mirror that.