Housing crisis ignored in inauguration speech

CAQ disregards petition on housing crisis presented by Andrés Fontecilla

Andrés Fontecilla asked that the Legault government take measures to address increased residential property speculation. Photo: Assemblée nationale du Québec.

On Oct. 21, the provincial government voted against the study of a petition regarding the housing crisis brought forward by Québec Solidaire MNA for Laurier-Dorion Andrés Fontecilla. Fontecilla asked that the Legault government take measures to address increased residential property speculation. 

With over 1347 signatures, petitioners demanded that the government do more to control rent increases, put in place a lease registry and reverse the burden of proof regarding renovictions from tenants to owners. 

Fontecilla, who is the official opposition critic for housing at the National Assembly, deplored the fact that Premier François Legault did not address the housing crisis during his inaugural speech at the National Assembly on Oct. 20. 

The premier instead spoke about the continuing pandemic, the need to decentralize the healthcare system and the need to move Quebec towards a green economy, among other issues.

“It’s all well and good to deny the housing crisis, but here it becomes frankly insulting,”

A rising share of household expenses

Fontecilla criticized the Legault government’s inaction on housing issues and what he has called on several occasions to be a growing problem both in Montreal and across the province.

“These measures are direct assistance to tenants that the government stubbornly refuses to grant them,” deplored the MNA. “Quebec families will suffer the worst increase in the cost of living in 30 years and the CAQ continues to refuse to act for access to housing, which nevertheless represents the biggest household expense,” he continued.

The provincial government has on multiple occasions denied that a housing crisis exists, for which Fontecilla berated them. “It’s all well and good to deny the housing crisis, but here it becomes frankly insulting,” he said. 

He added that the Quebec model for housing regulation through the Tribunal Administratif du Logement is “completely outdated” and “taking a turn for the worst no longer ensuring that the rights of tenants are protected,” he added.

Many in Parc-Extension have protested for the implementation of stricter rent controls as prices continue to sore. Photo: CAPE

Rising rent prices across the country 

In a recent study published by Bullpen Research & Consulting, a real-estate consulting agency, the group found that the average monthly rent in Canada had slowly bumped upward to $1,769 in September, up about 0.3%.

While Montreal came in 21st in the country for average rent price at $1,506 for a one-bedroom and 16th for a two-bedroom at $1,918, its average rent increase was found to be far above the national average. 

“Month over month, average rents in Montreal in September were up 3.1% for a one-bedroom and 1% for a two-bedroom,” read the report. 

“September marked the first time this year that the average rent in Canada wasn’t cheaper than last year, as rental rates continue their upward trend. Canada’s 10 largest municipalities all experienced quarterly rent growth, showing the recovery is not regional but nationwide,” said Bullpen Research & Consulting president Ben Myers. 

Support from many Montrealers

To address the growth in rental prices across the province, Fontecilla wants to see the provincial government do its part to address the issue. He added that many of the demands in the petition were supported by various segments of society, including the Montreal metropolitan community.

“The creation of a rent registry, a measure that Québec Solidaire has been calling for for several years, would curb the frantic rise in rents,” read a statement published by the MNA.

Both municipal mayoral candidates Valérie Plante with Projet Montréal and Denis Coderre with Ensemble Montréal have included such measures as electoral promises in their respective campaigns. 

Photo: Matias Brunet-Kirk – NEWSFIRST