NDP House Leader Libby Davies has been very busy the past few weeks, and owing to her status as being a member of the House Board of Internal Economy, she has been at the centre of the storm over opening the books to the Auditor General for a performance audit. I caught up with Davies after Question Period to find out what else she has on the go.
Q: What’s up on your plate for the last five weeks before the House rises?
A: House business, primarily. It’s very, very busy – it’s a lot of things going on. It’s going to be pretty wild. In terms of my work, as opposed to House Leader work, my housing bill – obviously I’m trying to keep working on that. The support keeps coming in, I’ve started lobbying Conservative Members of Parliament – I have a little sheet that I’m handing out to them. I’ll continue doing that. For the NDP generally, the budget implementation bill is before us right now – we’re really worried about it, that this bill is going to go through. It’s a massive bill – nearly a thousand pages, and it’s got all kinds of stuff in it that shouldn’t be in there, so we’re fighting it. We asked a question about it today in the House, so that’ll be a major thing. The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement – we want to try and stop that. If we do, that will be the third time that we’ve stopped it. We think it’s a bad deal. So we’ve got our plate full, but we’ve got a very energetic caucus, so everybody is fired up to take up what they’re going to take on.
Q: You put out a release today about a Charter challenge regarding housing. Tell me a little more about that.
A: It’s an intriguing case, that four individuals have taken the government of Ontario and the federal government to court over the lack of a commitment to providing safe, appropriate and affordable housing, and that they’re basically violating the international covenants that we’ve signed onto. It struck us as just so ironic that if the federal government were doing its job, and if we had my bill or they were doing it, then these people would not be forced to go to court and try to win something at that level. They’re being forced to do that, and we wanted to make that point. The government’s own consultation report on homelessness done last November showed that people across the country do want a national housing plan, so it’s just another example of where the system is broken. They’re not doing the job they’re meant to be doing. Why are we spending over a billion dollars on security for the G20 and yet there’s people homeless in this country? I had the same question about the Olympics as you know.