Pierre Poilievre has a problem with Doug Ford

Pierre Poilievre’s promise to get rid of housing “gatekeepers” was an ingenious political strategy that helped broaden his appeal among younger voters and increase his political support. But it may also backfire, given that the biggest and most formidable guardians of Canada’s housing market appear to all be conservative politicians. Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s recent rebuke of the quads is just the latest example of a growing body of evidence here, one that could ultimately backfire for Poilievre when it comes to keeping his younger voters on his side. side.

Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie angered Ford with a proposal that would make four-story and four-story buildings in Ontario no longer require municipal approval. In the midst of a province-wide housing crisis, this idea shouldn’t be particularly controversial. In fact, it’s actually one of the key recommendations of the Ford government’s own housing task force, which presented its report in 2022. “We heard from planners, city councilors and developers that ‘by right’ zoning – the ability to “Avoiding long distances, lengthy consultations, and amendments to zoning bylaws is the most effective tool in the provincial toolkit,” the task force report says. “We agree.”

Ford, on the other hand, clearly does not. “I can assure you, 1,000 percent, that if you go into the middle of the communities and start building four, six, eight-story buildings deep in the communities, there will be a lot of screaming and yelling,” he said. saying. “That’s a big mistake”.

Of course, no one is proposing a six- or eight-story building here. As Sabrina Maddeaux, former National Post columnist and possible CCP candidate in Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill, noted on social networks, “Fourplexes (homes with four units) are not four, six, much less eight stories (that would be the McMansion of all fourplexes). In fact, they are often indistinguishable from townhouses, and even many single-family homes, on the outside.”

However, he did not mention Ford by name, perhaps because his willingness to bend the knee to local NIBMY groups is so obvious. “They can continue doing that, destroying communities. Crombie thinks he knows best,” he said. “I am going to listen to the communities.” Ironically, it was his housing task force that warned against this type of capitulation to local interest groups. “Ontarians want a solution to the housing crisis,” he says. “We cannot let opposition and politicization of individual housing projects prevent us from meeting the needs of all Ontarians.” They probably never imagined that the opposition would come from the prime minister himself.

Ford isn’t the only conservative who’s been practicing his control skills lately. In Calgary, where the city is proposing “blanket zoning” that would allow duplexes and townhomes to be built without public hearings, Calgary Center MP Greg McLean was also doing his best to address Poilievre’s talking points on housing . “I oppose the blanket rezoning,” he said. said on social media. “It eliminates citizens’ right to have a say in how their neighborhoods grow and presents complications for existing infrastructure that is not designed for that density.” Apparently those doors won’t stand on their own.

Liberal Housing Minister Sean Fraser clearly smells some long overdue political blood here. “When you look at the politics of this,” he said he said in an interview last week, “there is a side that seems very happy to prey on the anxieties of people who are very worried about themselves, their families and their future without actually offering solutions that solve the challenge.” Indeed, Poilievre’s housing private member’s bill – the unpleasantly titled “Home Building, Not Bureaucracy Bill” – would result in a massive cut to housing funding and effectively restore the GST on rents specially built buildings that the liberals have just erected.

He also takes the fight with Poilievre to social media with a slick three minute video contrasting the ideas and record of the PCC leader with the recent efforts of the Liberal government. His conclusion: Poilievre is using young people and their housing problems as a political wedge to come to power. The fact that he decided to attack BC Premier David Eby, whose province is far ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to new housing construction, but remains so conspicuously silent in the face of Ford’s intransigence, certainly lends some credence to that conclusion.

If Poilievre wants young people to support him on housing and vote for his party in the next election, he will have to do more than simply hit the Liberals and New Democrats over the heads with spurious correlations. He will also have to demonstrate that he is willing to talk tough to people who actively oppose the kinds of policies that would allow more housing to be built, especially when they are in his political milieu.

Pierre Poilievre’s promise to crack down on housing gatekeepers has proven to be little more than empty talk. Ironically, it has been Doug Ford and other conservative politicians (the real guardians of housing) who have done the testing here.

If he can’t be bothered to convince members of his own partisan family to follow his lead on this very important dossier, perhaps it was never that important to him in the first place. Younger voters would do well to keep this in mind.

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