Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre openly criticized the mayors of Montreal and Quebec City, calling them both “incompetent” over the lack of new housing construction, sparking a heated debate among political figures.
Following his first post on X calling out the mayors in French, Poilievre had numerous subsequent posts with additional data to support his claims and concerns.
“Massive drop in construction in Quebec, while Trudeau gives billions to incompetent mayors, Marchand and Plante, who block construction sites,” Poilievre wrote in his first post to X. “Federal money for cities will be tied to the number of houses and apartments built when I’m PM.”
Bruno Marchand, Mayor of Quebec City, lashed back at Poilievre in French about an hour after his initial post.
“Poilièvre’s ‘common sense’ is to insult the elected representatives of Quebec. Frankly. This is not only contempt for elected officials, but for all those who work on housing issues in our city. It’s petty politics. Quebec does not deserve this contempt,” said Marchand.
Poilievre responded by accompanying figures published by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, showing Quebec City’s housing starts were down by 40%, followed by Montreal at a 37% decrease.
“Mr. Mayor, your bureaucracy is blocking construction, resulting in a 40% drop in housing starts, while your citizens endure some of the worst rent increases in the country. I’m not going to force taxpayers to send you cheques to deprive people of housing,” wrote Poilievre.
Based on the data, only Trois-Rivières and Saguenay had increases, 14% and 49%, respectively. Poilievre congratulated both of these cities in his next post to X.
The mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, also replied to Poilievre.
“Before calling anyone incompetent, Mr. Poilièvre should understand that in Quebec, federal funding for housing does NOT go through the cities,” she said. “‘Common sense’ also means understanding the financing mechanisms specific to each province.”
Poilievre responded with data that showed housing starts were down in Montreal by 37% and nearly 25,000 housing units have been obstructed since the start of the Plante administration in Montreal in 2017.
“Madam Mayor, construction starts in Montreal are in free fall because of your bureaucracy which prevents construction in the midst of a housing crisis. And Trudeau continues to send you cheques,” said Poilievre in his first post calling out Plante.
“By preventing the construction of tens of thousands of units, the Plante administration is contributing to making Montreal less and less affordable,” said Gabriel Giguère, author of the study from which the data was pulled.
“Fewer civil servants, more housing when I am PM,” Poilievre added in his second post addressed to Plante.
Speaking in Nunavut, Trudeau gave his short take in French on the arguments between Poilievre, Marchand, and Plante.
“I’m extremely disappointed by what we saw from Mr. Poilièvre today in terms of his contempt for Quebec elected officials. It’s been several times now that he has shown condescension and ignorance about how things work between the federal government and the provinces,” said Trudeau. “I think it’s high time he apologized for his behaviour and for what he’s been saying, attacking elected officials in Quebec.”
According to The National Post, Marchand said in a radio interview that he hopes Poilievre does not become prime minister.