(Quebec) The mayoress of Montreal, Valérie Plante, and several elected officials from major cities have criticized the lack of investment in social housing by the Legault government in its latest budget. The elected CAQists retorted that the mayors had to do their “end of the road”.
“Ms. Plante always wants more money, but there is a lot of money and there are homes to be built,” retorted the Minister responsible for Social Solidarity and Community Action, Chantal Rouleau, alone CAQ Minister representing a Montreal riding, at the entrance to the Cabinet meeting.
Faced with the housing crisis, the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) had promised the construction of 11,700 new affordable housing units in the current mandate, but in the most recent budget, it is funding only 1,500. Quebec explains that thousands of housing already announced has still not been built, but that it still has several years to fulfill its promise. The Girard budget also provided for a sum of 191 million in 2022-2023 to “finalize the construction” of 3,300 housing units whose construction was delayed.
This is an argument that does not convince Mayor Valérie Plante, who made an outing on Wednesday morning where she recalled that 24,000 households were waiting for social housing in Montreal. An issue that Quebec “has chosen to ignore,” she said. “The housing crisis is a real world thing,” Ms. Plante said, her voice cracking with emotion. We see it, the distress. That’s what’s hard. »
Prime Minister François Legault himself replied to the mayor during a press briefing. “When you go through the OMH [Office municipal d’habitation], it takes four years to build. Even if we would add and then add money… There was already, before the budget, money not spent. It’s still special. So we have to find a way to speed up the issuance of permits, the search for land, etc., etc. Then we’ll work together,” he said.
The Minister of Housing, France-Élaine Duranceau, also invited the mayors to do their “end of the road” with elements “which are to be managed by the municipalities, such as the issuance of permits, for example”.
The minister responsible for the metropolis, Pierre Fitzgibbon, asks for patience and pleads for a “methodical” approach. “We’re going to do them [social housing] as we go along,” he said. He replied to Ms. Plante that “we don’t always get what we want”. “We have budgets and we work, and if it goes well, we ask for more money. There’s an update in December,” he said.
But Mrs. Plante is not the only one disappointed with the budget. The mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, gave an average score of 5 out of 10 to the exercise led by Eric Girard, reported Radio-Canada.
In Longueuil, Catherine Fournier is also a critic. “We remain unsatisfied with the long-term approach that should guide the government to address the collective challenges we face: the housing crisis, the transit funding gap and climate resilience,” he said. -she says.
In Gatineau, Mayor France Bélisle told Le Droit that the Quebec Affordable Housing Program set up by the CAQ “[had] not been successful here” and that the 1,500 new housing units announced for all of Quebec were not doing the job. weight in relation to demand from cities.
The day before, the Minister of Finance defended the sums invested, 1 billion over five years. It included in this envelope an annual increase in the solidarity tax credit – $39 for a single person, $63 for a couple with two children – and the allocation of 2,000 additional places to the rent supplement program.
Québec solidaire MP Haroun Bouazzi ridiculed this amount. “It’s $37 a year. Per year. That’s $0.10 a day. It really does not live up to the expectations of Quebecers and the mayors of the regions and big cities,” he lamented.
“Only 1,500 new affordable housing units in six years. We are talking about 250 units per year for all of Quebec. The word ridiculous is not even strong enough to describe the feeling I feel,” denounced Liberal Party MP Virginie Dufour.