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Plante says Quebec budget ignores Montreal's housing needs

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As with all budgets, there are critics. The mayor of Montreal says she only had two requests of the Quebec government and one of them was ignored.

Despite new buildings going up in Montreal, Mayor Valerie Plante says it's harder than ever for some people to find a place to live.

"The needs for housing in Montreal [are] crazy," she said Wednesday.

  • READ MORE: Quebec budget 2023-2024: Here are the highlights

In the lead-up to the budget, money for housing was one of only two demands made by the city. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Montreal's vacancy rate is less than three per cent.

There is money in the budget to build affordable units in the province, but as for social housing the mayor says there's just enough money to cover the backlog of units waiting to be built.

It still leaves 24,000 families waiting.

"I know there's going to be another crisis. Let's be honest," Plante said. "There's going to be more people in shelters, and shelters will ask for more resources from Quebec to make sure everyone is fed. We see it coming."

But Quebec Premier François Legault says it's not a money problem, it's bureaucracy.

"It's a question of finding the right plans, to give all the permits rapidly. So, the money is available. And the Minister of Finance — it's a bit funny, he's telling me, since two years, we're not able to spend the money," the premier said.

Housing was one of many criticisms in question period, with the opposition also taking aim at the income tax cuts, saying it doesn't provide enough savings for lower-income Quebecers because the more you earn, the more you get back.

"If that government wanted to help people, they would have helped the people at the bottom in priority," said Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, co-spokesperson of Québec Solidaire.

Parti Québécois (PQ) leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon was also critical of the provincial budget.

We learn this morning that the inflation at the grocery store is still at 10 per cent. So, how àre low-income persons or families going to cope with such an important inflation with a tax cut that is worth $200?" the PQ leader said in Quebec City.

Quebec Liberal Finance Critic Frédéric Beauchemin said, "A three per cent increase of the solidarity credit is like $8. If you're making $20,000 a year, it's ridiculous."

For the mayor's part, she wants to put together a so-called tactical team to figure out how to solve the lack of housing without the province's help.

"Housing is often the last element before you lose everything," she said, adding that the Quebec government should be treating housing as a fundamental right.

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