Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. It's a pleasure to join you at the finance committee.
I'm particularly interested in the testimony of Mr. Richter and Mr. Morrison, and I want to thank you both for your submissions.
I have two questions, and I will let each of you respond to them. Of course, our party is deeply disappointed that the government rejected the bill we presented that would have created and enacted a binding right to housing, which would have delivered on our international commitments. Thank you for raising that again.
Mr. Richter, two reports have come out recently. One is by Jan Reimer's organization on shelters in Alberta for women and children. When our housing critic and I met with her, she said very clearly that the crisis they're facing is not only the creation of the shelters and the fact they're having to turn away so many people, but also that the costing and the monies coming over are not sufficient to cover the additional counselling and assistance they need. It isn't just a case of providing housing; there are those additional needs.
Mr. Morrison, thank you very much for your comments on indigenous housing. Frankly, I see no reason why UNDRIP cannot be specifically put into that bill. I have brought forward those amendments to two federal laws and they have been rejected. UNDRIP needs to be made legally binding, not just in the preamble—so thank you for raising that. Nothing is stopping the government from doing that, despite the fact that Romeo Saganash's bill has not gone through yet.
I think they're all really excellent suggestions. Thank you for raising the issue of the need for urban indigenous housing. There has been a consistent attitude of federal governments, both Liberal and Conservative, to deny their obligation to indigenous people living in urban areas, which of course constitutionally.... You don't suddenly not become the responsibility of the federal government because you're living in an urban area.
I would like to hear a response from both of you on what you might have to say about both the Alberta and the national reports that have come out on shelters for women and children, and a little more about the need for greater attention to urban indigenous people. I know that in my city, a huge percentage of the population is urban aboriginal, and there's a great dearth of housing.