Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland, Red River Métis, Winnipeg - Manitoba Liberals are calling for the PC government to immediately step up with a rent-assist program for refugees from Ukraine who are arriving in Manitoba with no guarantee of a roof over their heads.
Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface, said he received a letter from a not-for-profit housing agency that has available apartments, and an influx of refugees, but no way to pay the rent.
The letter read, in part:
"what's happening now with this government ... is a complete disaster to be frank. They have 'supports' which are convoluted and rely heavily on non-profits and private donors to do all the work while they sit back and get the credit for it. All the volunteer agencies I've spoken to date all share the same sentiment; we have to act because the government isn't."
Lamont said there is no excuse for the PCs not to act, and that while the Federal Government is responsible for refugees until they arrive in Canada; provinces are the ones who are responsible for settlement.
"It's time for the PCs to put their money where their mouth is, and ensure that refugees are getting a safe and warm welcome in Winnipeg, and not leave families scrambling for a place to live," said Lamont. "People are fleeing a war zone with only the clothes on their backs, especially women and children. Temporary rent relief is essential to giving them immediate security, and the PCs need to step up."
Lamont said it was particularly important for refugee families to have access to independent, public supports, especially for women and their children, who are often fleeing Ukraine while brothers, fathers and spouses stay behind to fight.
The UN Refugee Agency warned the British Government to ensure that female Ukrainian refugees are not paired with single British single men over safety fears. A number of female Ukrainian refugees were being propositioned by their "hosts," and refugees were being made homeless after leaving a hostile "sponsor".
The Manitoba Liberals want the PCs need to step up with a program that covers a minimum of three months' rent for refugees from Ukraine and elsewhere.
"The PCs have been making grandiose promises about welcoming refugees, but they aren't actually doing what it takes to keep people safe," said Lamont. "This is a global emergency and the PCs need to act like it."