Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Musqueam get first federal stimulus cheque for on-reserve housing

MUSQUEAM FIRST NATION - Federal stimulus spending got the credit for new on-reserve social housing in this First Nations community near Vancouver at a ground-breaking ceremony this morning, but local leaders warned that much more is needed to address their housing shortage.

Federal International Trade Minister Stockwell Day -- who earlier this week was keeping company with royalty -- got a bit of dust on his shoes visiting the construction site.

“I’m pleased to announce today under our action plan the government of Canada has now designated $5.3 million to the construction of 31 homes right here on Musqueam First Nations land, and we’re very glad to do that,” said Day. He was speaking on behalf of Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, the minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

The funding comes as part of the federal government’s Economic Action Plan of over $20 billion to fast-track stimulus to the Canadian economy by providing funding to shovel-ready projects.

From that money, the plan provides $400 million over the next two years to go straight into First Nations communities across the country to help build and repair desperately needed on-reserve housing.

Today, the Musqueam First Nation was the first nation to officially tap into the fund.

However, according to Wayne Sparrow, band council member and chair of the Musqueam Housing Committee, 31 new houses only begin to scratch the surface of the housing need on the reserve.

“We still have 245 people on our priority list. The majority of our membership is under the age of 19, so when we get these kind of allocations for units, it puts a dent into it...but our list continues to grow.”

Band members who will receive the housing units currently live both on and off-reserve, and priority is being given to young families, seniors, and members with disabilities.

Many are currently going from house to house renting basement suites, living in make-shift houses built in other members’ backyards, or living elsewhere in the city, said Sparrow.

The 31 units to be built on the Musqueam reserve are in addition to the 6-8 units the band gets already each year from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

Next year the Musqueam band will be submitting a proposal for more funding to create 35 townhouse units for small families.

Canada Mortgage and Housing was unable to provide information by publishing time about which other First Nations will be receiving money from the allotted funds.

Christine McLaren reports for The Tyee.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus