Poilievre Raises ‘Housing Hell’ as Parliament Reconvenes

Poilievre Raises ‘Housing Hell’ as Parliament Reconvenes
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is given a standing ovation by his party as he rises to answer a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sept. 18, 2023. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Noé Chartier

Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre focused on housing affordability during the first verbal joust of the season in the House of Commons with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The topic has become one of Mr. Poilievre's signature themes since assuming leadership of the party.

“It took him eight years to cause this housing hell, how long will it take to fix it?” asked Mr. Poilievre during question period.

Mr. Poilievre said that the price of houses, the cost of mortgages, and rents have doubled since Mr. Trudeau took power in 2015, despite his promise to make housing more affordable.

“Then he said housing is not his job. And then he panicked when he plummeted in the polls and recycled promises that he broke six years earlier,” he added.

The Tory leader was providing a recap of events that took place this summer, with Mr. Trudeau saying in early August that housing is not primarily a federal responsibility. Polls have also shown the Conservatives building a two-digit lead over the Liberals and reaching majority territory.

The Conservative message on affordability appears to resonate with voters as they struggle to buy groceries and find housing.

Rentals.ca’s September Rent Report says rents in Canada reached another record high of $2,117 in August. Meanwhile, Statistics Canada said in its inflation reading for July that the mortgage interest cost index rose 30.6 percent, another record year-over-year gain and the largest contributor to headline inflation.

“We said we'd work with municipalities to get housing built faster, and that's exactly what we're doing right across the country,” Mr. Trudeau said in his response to Mr. Poilievre.

He alluded to his announcement last week in London, Ontario, on the federal government concluding its first deal with the city under the Housing Accelerator Fund. The city will be provided $74 million in federal funds to fast-track the building of housing units.

“We're doing this by cutting red tape, fixing outdated zoning policies and building more homes faster. This is our first deal, but I promise not the last,” said Mr. Trudeau.

Earlier on Sept. 18, Government House Leader Karina Gould outlined her party’s priorities for the fall session, focusing on affordability and public safety.

As a result of the minority Liberals’ deal with the NDP to keep them in power until 2025, the Trudeau government intends to table legislation to implement national pharmacare in Canada.

Ms. Gould also mentioned an upcoming omnibus bill with various affordability measures, including cutting the GST on rental builds and reforming the Competition Bureau to better regulate corporations.