Earth for millennials: Pierre Poilievre is playing with you on housing

Credit where it’s due: Pierre Poilievre has talked a lot about housing since he was elected leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Sure, he continues to lie about being housing minister in the Harper government (no such role existed) and continues to pretend that the problem magically started when the Trudeau Liberals were elected, but he has effectively drawn attention to an issue that has been overlooked. high for too long. The huge rise in conservative support among millennial voterswho now outnumbers baby boomers, helps explain why his party is so far ahead in recent polls.

However, housing-hungry millennials may want to look a little closer at what he’s actually saying on the subject. Yes, Poilievre has been very good at feeling his pain and harnessing it for his own political ambitions. But if anyone is hoping to win him back as prime minister, his recent behavior suggests they are setting themselves up for a pretty major disappointment.

For example, he has decided to make an enemy of NDP Prime Minister David Eby, whom recently suggested He has “probably the worst real estate record of any politician on Earth.” Eby, of course, has been premier of British Columbia for just over a year. In that time, he has transformed the real estate market in his province, implementing a series of wildly ambitious and aggressive reforms that target everything from short-term rentals and restrictive local zoning bylaws to design-oriented regulations that can unlock greater supply. Leo Spalteholz, a housing activist in British Columbia, described changes as “transformational”.

Poilievre is apparently counting on Canadians to ignore that progress or the context in which it took place. “Look at the prices,” he said in a video that was cut and shared for proud Canada. “Vancouver is now the third most expensive real estate market in the world, when comparing median income to median home prices. See for yourself at Demographia.ca.”

Well, I did it. Despite the dormant link Poilievre tried to direct people to (it’s demographia.com), the data doesn’t tell the story he would like to pretend. In 2015, for example, Demographia’s annual study of housing affordability revealed that Vancouver was the second most expensive city in the world by those same criteria. Maybe, just maybe, it’s about more than Justin Trudeau and Eby.

Curiously, while Poilievre is happy to blame Eby for the high housing prices that long predate his entry into provincial politics, he is conspicuously silent on the record of Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Prices and rents have skyrocketed there since his Progressive Conservatives took power in 2018, and most of his government’s legislative efforts on the issue have revolved around trying to enrich pro-Ford developers and developers. exacerbate existing problems in the province with expansion. Ontario PCs have repeatedly ignored the recommendations of its own Housing Affordability Task Force and, in some cases, actively opposed them.

As a result, while housing started rose 11 percent at Eby’s BC in 2023, fell 36 percent at Ford’s Ontario. like the center Steve Lafleur pointed out, federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser has been leading the fight for better housing policies in Ontario. “He is getting municipal governments to make tough reforms that the prime minister has been unwilling to impose until now. In fact, many of these reforms come directly from the Housing Affordability Task Force report. “The Prime Minister doesn’t have to drive the bus, but he shouldn’t stand in front of it either.”

In case there was any doubt about whether Poilievre’s focus on housing was driven by policy rather than politics, he dispelled it last Wednesday in the House of Commons. When the Prime Minister invoked housing expert Mike Moffatt’s criticism of Conservative housing policy (one Moffatt described as “incredibly weak tea”), Poilievre answered calling him a “failed liberal academic.”

This was a strange flex, especially since Moffatt is widely respected on this file by conservatives and liberals alike. There is also the fact that his advocacy has helped elevate the issue to a level of national importance, with attendant national political consequences. As Globe and mail columnist andrew coyne noted, “Moffatt has done more than anyone to make housing a five-alarm issue. Who has benefited most politically? Poilievre. “I should propose him for the Order of Canada.”

Pierre Poilievre has talked a lot about housing over the past two years. But his recent attacks on BC Premier David Eby and housing expert Mike Moffatt show that for him, it’s really all about good politics, not good politics.

Poilievre’s thoughtful petulance should be a warning sign to those of us who want to see real progress on housing. He clearly doesn’t care who he has to drag through the parliamentary mud to win a point over his opponents, even if they are people who might otherwise agree with him on the real substantive issues at hand. That’s why he’s attacking Eby, the prime minister who does the most on housing, and giving Ford a pass even though he does the least.

For Poilievre everything is politics: first, always and forever. That can help you win the next election, and even win it comfortably. But it also means that she has no real interest in addressing the problems she is identifying, let alone working with academics and experts to find real solutions. So, yes, millennials, he feels your pain in the housing file, and he’s more than happy to exploit it. However, if he is looking for someone who will actually take the necessary steps to relieve him, he would be better off looking elsewhere.


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