Poilievre slams Trudeau's failed housing policies, calls for cutting bureaucracy

The Conservative leader emphasized the need for private sector builders and faster, affordable permits to meet the housing demand.

Poilievre slams Trudeau's failed housing policies, calls for cutting bureaucracy
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
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Canadian Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre, a vocal critic of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, recently addressed the country's housing crisis, highlighting the discrepancies between the government's promises and the reality of homebuilding in Canada. When asked about the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's statement that the country needs 5.8 million homes, Poilievre pointed out that the math, not his opinion, proves Trudeau's Liberal Party is failing to deliver on its commitments.

Poilievre noted that despite Trudeau's promise to double homebuilding, the government's own housing agency reported a decrease in homebuilding since the promise was made, with further declines expected in the coming years. He emphasized that to reach the promised 3.9 million new homes by 2031, Canada would need to build 550,000 homes annually. However, when pressed in the House of Commons, Trudeau failed to confirm whether this target would be met, with current projections suggesting only 200,000 homes will be built this year.

The Conservative leader acknowledged that while Trudeau has spent $89 billion on housing affordability programs, the result has been a doubling of housing costs. Poilievre attributed this failure to the government's focus on bureaucracy rather than empowering private sector builders. He argued that government bureaucrats, who do not actually build homes, are hindering progress and that streamlining the permit process is crucial to delivering fast and affordable housing.

“I don’t disagree; the math disagrees,” Poilievre stated. “They promised they’re going to double homebuilding. Their own housing agency said since they made that promise, homebuilding has gone down and that it will go down next year and the year after that. Look at my exchange with Trudeau in the House of Commons last week. To get to 3.9 million — forget to 5.9 million — to get to 3.9 million new homes by the scheduled deadline of 2031 that Trudeau promised, he needs to build 550,000 homes a year.”

“I asked him six times in the House of Commons, ‘Are we going to build 550,000 homes this year?’” Poilievre recalled. “He wouldn’t answer. Well, the truth is, he’s on track right now to building about 200,000 homes, not even half of what he’s promised. This is not a matter of me disagreeing; it’s a mathematical fact. He’s not delivering. It’s a mathematical fact that nine years ago when I was Housing Minister, the average rent for a one-bedroom was $973. Now it’s $2,000. These are the facts.”

Poilievre highlighted the absurdity of the current situation, where one-third of the cost of a newly-built home in Ontario goes towards government permits and taxes, exceeding the amount spent on the labour to construct the home. He emphasized the need to cut bureaucracy and proposed a common-sense plan that would require cities to free up land, speed up permits, and reduce development charges and fees as a condition for receiving federal funds.

Under Poilievre's proposed plan, municipalities that fail to meet housing targets would face reduced funding, while those that exceed the targets would receive additional support. The Conservative leader aims to incentivize municipalities to prioritize homebuilding by tying their funding to the number of homes constructed, similar to how realtors and builders are compensated.

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