About a year ago, I wrote extensively about Bill C-304, the much-needed Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians. The bill has been proposed several times, in different sessions of Parliament. Most recently, it was proposed as a private members’ public bill by Vancouver East MP Libby Davies.

After a few years passing through the first and second reading, the bill finally reached third reading debate in November. Most of the debate was in favour of the bill. Following Parliamentary procedure, on November 24th it went back to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) for an amendment requested by the Bloc Québecois. It then went back to the House for its third reading. It passed in the House and proceeded to the Senate for consideration.

Am I the only one who thinks it’s crazy that it took a year to get from second reading to the debates preceding third reading? And that this bill, in one form or another, lingered in the Parliamentary process for over four years? I realize Harper prorogued government a couple of times, but still…that only cost us a few months. We need this legislation badly. It is interesting how other governmental initiatives, like proroguing government last winter and cancelling the long-form Census this summer, seem to occur quickly and with devastating consequences for Canadians (the Liberals’ move to reinstate the long-form Censusintroduced on September 30th–will take far longer). How is it that the American government has elected a new President, had an entire housing crisis, introduced funding to support affordable rental housing, and introduced its first-ever health care legislation in the time it’s taken us to pass a single bill in the House of Commons?

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