Traveling across her home country, Michelle Ferreri has noticed a common, if unpleasant, theme.
Ferreri is the Conservative Party Member of Parliament in the Ontario riding of Peterborough-Kawartha, and is the shadow cabinet critic for families, children and social development. She was in Vernon Friday, Aug. 11, as a guest of North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold.
“Suffering,” she said. “Canada is a vast geographical land but the undercurrent of what we see across Canada is suffering. The cost of living, people can’t afford to live. Housing is a massive issue. We heard from a lot of people today that the face of homelessness has changed, it’s now families living in hotels.
“There’s just a lot of suffering. It’s one of the big common themes, as is the addictions crisis.”
Arnold and Ferreri spent two hours in a closed door meeting at the Schubert Centre listening to invited stakeholders from the riding, 13 organizations in all represented. Arnold said what was discussed was things that are working, are not working, and what government officials can do better.
“People are at their breaking point,” said Arnold. “These are groups that they’re on the front line, key people in their organizations, and they can’t take anymore. Almost everyone around the room was calling for an ever-increasing need for services and resources.”
Ferreri said what’s happening now in Canada under the Liberal government is simply not working.
“Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity,” she said. “We do not have a solution for housing. We have a mental health crisis with children and their parents. We need more housing built. More accountability, more service standards,we need so much more in place in terms of efficiency. We don’thave that.
“We need to change how things are being governed. We need transparency, accountability and we need to understand housing is a massive issue but the cost of living…people can’t sustain what’s happening on the ground. The cost of food, the cost of gas, the cost of electricity, they can’t sustain this any longer. We need a government that cares about fiscal responsibility.”
Arnold said the solution to solving the crises engulfing the country is not a “one-department solution..
“Everyone from service providers to municipal, provincial, and federal governments have to be talking to each other,” he said. “The siloing of information, which is one department not talking to another, or not sharing information because of privacy rules, makes the whole process inefficient.”