Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Housing: Merchant and Plant, champions or “incompetent”?

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Bruno Marchand and Valérie Plante were severely blamed by Pierre Poilievre for the decline in housing starts in Quebec and Montreal.

  • Olivier Lemieux (View profile)Olivier Lemieux

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The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre, believes that mayors Bruno Marchand and Valérie Plante are “incompetent” due to the steep drop in construction starts in Quebec and Montreal over the past year. However, data shows that residential construction reached peaks in Quebec's two largest cities the day after the last municipal election.

The decline in construction starts is causing a lot of noise in Quebec at the start of the year. According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the drop has reached 40% in Quebec and 37% in Montreal over the past 12 months.

The last week, the conservative leader did not hesitate to point the finger at Bruno Marchand and Valérie Plante, even going so far as to call them incompetent.

However, according to a compilation carried out by the Association of Construction and Housing Professionals of Quebec (APCHQ) at the request of Radio-Canada, the two elected officials were also in power when construction starts reached peaks. in 2021 and 2022.

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Residential construction reached record highs in Quebec's two largest cities in 2021.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">In the census metropolitan areas (CMA) of Quebec and Montreal, the foundations of 9,389 and 32,343 housing units were poured in 2021, a record for 30 years.

The APCHQ also notes that with 8,290 and 24,149 construction starts respectively in 2022, the performance of the capital and the metropolis easily stands out from the lows recorded in the 1990s.

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In 1999 , Quebec claimed 1814 construction starts. Montreal didn't do much better in 1998, with 10,675 units.

Very discreet since the exit of his leader, the lieutenant for Quebec of the Conservative Party, Pierre Paul-Hus, softens his tone.

Confronted with the figures of the APCHQ, he is careful not to repeat Pierre Poilievre's qualifier, but specifies that the mayors remain responsible for the slowdown in construction starts.

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The lieutenant for Quebec of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Paul-Hus.

The 2023 data for construction in Montreal and Quebec are catastrophic, he deplores in a statement sent to Radio-Canada. Builders blame the endless delays in obtaining permits and the bureaucratic cumbersomeness.

In Quebec, Mayor Marchand is committed to speeding up the issuance building permits in 2024.

During the first meeting of the municipal council last week, he admitted that several real estate developers were waiting too long before launch their construction site.

They are right, it has to go faster, he said.

In Montreal, Valérie Plante continues to rely on her Regulations for a mixed metropolis, which aims to force builders to include social housing in their real estate projects.

She is optimistic that housing starts will start to rise again in the coming months.

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