Quebec is not in crisis, insists minister responsible for housing
MONTREAL -- Quebec's minister responsible for housing says she does not believe the entire province is in crisis, despite the rising number of tenants searching for homes amid mounting rent prices.
"We are not at all in a housing crisis," declared Andrée Laforest on Wednesday afternoon.
The minister held up a chart showing a vacancy rate of 0.6 per cent in the early 2000s in Montreal, compared to 2.7 per cent in 2020. In the rest of Quebec, the rate was slightly below 2.5 per cent in 2020.
There is no crisis, she assured the parliamentary commission studying budgetary credits for housing and municipal affairs.
"When we talk about a housing crisis, we have to be very, very, very careful," Laforest insisted, in response to Quebec Solidaire MNA Andrés Fontecilla, who used the expression "housing crisis."
Nevertheless, all the opposition parties have called on the CAQ to act.
Only 620 social housing units were delivered in 2020-2021, Fontecilla lamented, compared to 1,019 in 2019-2020. The CAQ had promised to build 15,000 social housing units during its mandate, he recalled.
"We are far from that," argued the MNA for Laurier-Dorion.
"We're in a pandemic. Construction stopped, it did not stop for long, but there were projects that were halted," insisted Laforest, adding the CAQ's commitment will be fulfilled. "We'll get to the 15,000."
Quebec and Ottawa have also announced an additional investment of $100 million to renovate already-existing social housing in Montreal.
The Parti Québécois (PQ) has also called for data on the 84 municipalities and six boroughs in Quebec that have bilingual status.
These municipalities have bilingual status under Bill 101 because their population is at least 50 per cent English-speaking, obliging municipalities to offer services in both languages.
Is the data up-to-date in the context of a future reform of Bill 101? asked PQ MNA Pascal Bérubé.
"Can the minister provide me with the percentages of anglophones in the 84 municipalities and six boroughs of Montreal, Longueuil and Sherbrooke?" he said. "Her contribution to the debate ensures that municipalities that no longer comply do not have to offer bilingual services."
Laforest did not have the data.
The Liberal Party says it arrived at the commission with a booklet of about 100 preliminary questions, but a third of them have yet to be answered.
Liberal MP Marie-Claude Nichols was indignant about this, but to no avail.
"I think that the questions relevant to the study of credits have been answered," Laforest simply replied.