The parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, compared, on Monday, the solidarity proposal to a real estate flip, but which would be done with the aim of making housing more affordable. (Photo: The Canadian Press)
Longueuil — Quebec solidaire wants the Quebec government to buy 10,000 affordable houses and condos to “sell them 25% cheaper” on average in a first term.
A united government would start a $1 billion “Anti-Speculation Fund” administered by the Société d’habitation du Québec. This fund would have the mission of buying properties, renovating them and reselling them “at an affordable price”.
The parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, compared, on Monday, the solidarity proposal to a real estate flip, but which would be done with the aim of making housing more affordable. “Imagine if it worked backwards, he said at a press conference in a park in Longueuil. Imagine if we bought houses and put them back on sale at prices affordable to the middle class.”
In concrete terms, the fund would remain the owner of the land while the residents would own the dwelling. By separating the residence and the land, the purchase price would be 25% cheaper, on average, depending on the value of the land compared to the price of the property. The profit on sale would be fixed in advance.
The model is inspired by that of the community land trusts that appeared in the United States in the 1970s. It was mainly developed in the northeastern United States, particularly in Burlington, Vermont.
Questioned several times, Mr. Nadeau-Dubois avoided saying whether a lottery system should be used to determine which first buyers would have access to government assistance. He said local organizations would determine the admission criteria.
The proposal comes at a time when home ownership has become a concern for many young people. The Association of Construction and Housing Professionals of Quebec (APCHQ) estimates that there is a shortage of 100,000 homes in Quebec. “Since 1990, in Quebec, the price of houses has increased six times faster than wages in the world, worries Mr. Nadeau-Dubois. It can’t go on any longer.”
If 10,000 homes are not enough to make up the shortfall, the candidate pointed out that Québec solidaire has other housing proposals, which would allow the construction of 55,000 social housing units.
Mr. Nadeau-Dubois does not believe that the proposal would have the effect of creating a class of privileged citizens while other first-time buyers would be left behind. “I do not think so. Protecting 10,000 properties from speculation generally calms the speculative dynamic.”
Immigration: a number, but no “numerology”
The candidate was questioned about the immigration thresholds. Friday, in Rimouski, he had said that Quebec solidaire would raise the immigration thresholds. In an interview with Radio-Canada the day before, he mentioned a threshold of between 60,000 and 80,000 people.
“For us, 80,000 is a maximum. Between 60,000 and 80,000, we have to work with experts to determine it precisely, this reception capacity, he said during a press briefing in Longueuil. Me, I will not play politics and numerology, treating immigrants, immigrant women like numbers. It’s not just a question of numbers, it’s a question of model [d’intégration].”
The arguments of Québec solidaire seem to meet one of the main demands of the business community. In July, the Manufacturers and Exporters of Quebec (MEQ) demanded that the immigration threshold be raised to 90,000 people per year in Quebec.
The Legault government mentioned a target of 50,000 people. This threshold would be ideal to ensure integration, says the government. An assertion contested by Québec solidaire, the Liberal Party and the business community.
This year, the government plans to welcome nearly 70,000 immigrants, which includes the target of 50,000, but also a catch-up for people who were unable to come to Quebec due to the pandemic in 2020. The Liberals, for their hand, propose to leave this figure at 70,000 in 2023, rather than reducing it to 50,000.
Mr. Nadeau-Dubois accused Mr. Legault of having “his own ideological obsessions” with immigration. He also accused the Parti Québécois of having abandoned the regions by proposing to lower the immigration threshold to 35,000 while the regions are suffering from a labor shortage.
“Immigration is wealth. You will never hear me breaking sugar on the backs of immigrants.”
Francois Legault “lies” about the climate
Quebec solidaire, which presented its green plan the day before, was taken to task by François Legault, who said that the left party’s plan would increase Quebec’s debt by 50%.
“He will have to explain to us where he will take the money, by how much he will raise taxes. Listen, let’s be realistic. Money doesn’t grow on trees.
Mr. Nadeau-Dubois accuses Mr. Legault of “lying” to Quebecers when he asserts that the green plan of Québec solidaire will lead to an increase in the debt. He does not have to provide more information before presenting his financial framework “in the coming days”, but he assured that it would be balanced.
“What we need in 2022 is not someone who tells stories of fear about the ecological transition. He is someone who takes his responsibilities, ”said the parliamentary leader of QS.
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Québec solidaire promises to buy 10,000 houses to make them more affordable
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