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France-Élaine Duranceau's cabinet openly ignores journalists' requests

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “RELAUNCH. I ghost it again? Otherwise, a general response which does not respond to say that Housing is a priority for our government?”, wrote the press secretary of the Minister of Housing, France- Élaine Duranceau, regarding a journalistic request on the right to housing.

Sarah Smellie – The Canadian Press and Patrice Bergeron – The Canadian Press

Published yesterday at 8:11 p.m. Updated yesterday at 8:39 p.m.

  • Quebec

This is what reveals an email obtained by The Canadian Press, when the minister's office was questioned about the recognition of the right to housing as a fundamental individual right.

Invited another time to respond a week after a first request, the press secretary sent The Canadian Press an email which was probably intended for another member of the firm's staff: “Relaunch. I ghost it again? Otherwise, general response which does not respond to say that Housing is a priority for our government?»

The opposition took no time to react at the end of the day. “This is what France-Élaine Duranceau thinks about the right to housing in Quebec,” wrote MP Joël Arseneau on the X network, formerly Twitter.

“We doubted it a little, the reality is even more tragic,” he commented.

The Canadian Press asked each province whether it agreed with the federal housing advocate that housing is a human right, and whether it intended to pass legislation guaranteeing that right.

Friday afternoon, Minister Duranceau's office had still not responded to the request from The Canadian Press.

As more and more Canadians struggle to find affordable housing, the country's smallest province, Prince Edward Island, is the only one that could benefit from a law recognizing housing as a fundamental individual right.

She responded with a link to her Residential Tenancies Act, the first line of which acknowledges that Canada has signed a United Nations treaty affirming that housing is a human right – although critics point out that there is no nothing in the provincial law which subsequently supports this right.

Most provinces did not respond directly to the questions, drawing up a long list of initiatives launched to address the brewing housing crisis.

Housing as a human right

In her report on homeless encampments published on February 13, federal housing advocate Marie-Josée Houle urged each province to recognize in law “the right of the person to adequate housing as defined by international law.”

She wondered in an interview whether the provinces simply didn't understand what it would mean to explicitly state that they view housing as a human right.

Ms. Houle says that under the bilateral agreement they all signed as part of the National Housing Strategy in 2018, this would mean the provinces would adopt a “human rights-based approach to housing.”

For the housing advocate, this involves meeting and listening to homeless people and trying to find them housing that meets their needs, rather than deciding what is best for them without their input and forcing them to take temporary measures, such as shelters, where they do not want to go.

It's a commitment from the recognition that homelessness is a systemic problem and that people are homeless because governments at all levels have failed them, she says.

And to the provinces, she says: “We need all the players at the table”.

Dale Whitmore, from Canadian Center for Housing Rights, says the provinces could take a simple first step toward recognizing and respecting housing as a human right by adding a clause to their rental law stipulating that eviction should be a measure of absolute last resort.

For Mr. Whitmore, it is essential that the provinces follow Ms. Houle's recommendations and adopt laws that recognize housing as a human right, but also that they subsequently defend this right. He thus emphasizes that even if the rental law of Prince Edward Island recognizes this right, it offers nothing to enforce it.

“We need regulations that keep rents affordable and protect tenants from unreasonable and predatory rents, and we need eviction protections to prevent people from losing their homes to unaffordable rents,” he said. -he declared in an interview. And we'll need it even more as the housing crisis continues to worsen.”

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116