Photo: Adil Boukind Archives Le Devoir “To be perfectly honest, when I found out yesterday, I was very angry,” says Françoise David in an interview with “Le Devoir”, Thursday.
Françoise David is “angry”. The government's refusal to modify its law on the protection of vulnerable senior tenants this week is another signal, she says, of the disconnection of the Coalition Avenir Québec.
“Hug, it doesn’t cost a penny, all that! » At the end of the line, the former spokesperson for Québec solidaire did not lose his temper. This week, despite proposed amendments from solidarity and PQ deputies in parliamentary committee, the minister responsible for Housing, France-Élaine Duranceau, refused to revise the provisions of what solidarity members call the “Françoise David law”.
Adopted in 2016 while Ms. David was in opposition, this law prohibits an owner from evicting seniors aged 70 and over who have occupied their home for at least 10 years and whose income is “equivalent to or below” the maximum threshold to be eligible for social housing.
During the detailed study of Bill 31 on housing this week, Québec solidaire and the Parti québécois in turn proposed an expansion of this law. The deputy and solidarity spokesperson for housing, Andrés Fontecilla, for example, asked that the minimum age be lowered to 65 and that the minimum rental period increase to five years.
“There are many people who are not vulnerable at 65. So, we come to protect the people who are with eviction measures and that is how we act,” replied the minister, rejecting her opposition colleagues.
“To be perfectly honest, when I found out yesterday, I was very angry,” says Françoise David in an interview with Le Devoir, Thursday. “I admit my incomprehension. »
“Reverse the burden”
The government says its bill “reverses the burden of proof” . “Instead of it being the tenant who is asked to explain himself, it is the owner who must explain himself” when a case is brought before the Administrative Housing Tribunal, Prime Minister François Legault declared in chambers, Wednesday.
A modification which will change nothing for “poor and isolated people”, believes Françoise David. Especially since older tenants do not know their rights, she adds. “The only amount of money they should put is to publicize the law, whether it is amended or not, for that matter. »
As for the government's refusal to modify the “Françoise David law”, “we wonder why”, she simply said. “Strengthening a law, my God, but it’s so not a big deal. »
On Wednesday, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation revealed that the vacancy rate in Quebec had reached a low of 1.3% for the first time since 2003. The average increase in rent for two-bedroom apartments was 7.9% in the Montreal region from 2022 to 2023.
The former elected official from Gouin criticizes the government for having lost contact with the population, who, in a severe context of housing shortage, has “difficulty getting to the end”. “Where does the minister live, what does she understand about the situation of low-income people ? I really wonder. Honestly,” she proclaims.
“You have to try to put yourself in people’s shoes,” adds the former solidarity leader.
“No discomfort” with Lessard-Therrien’s salary
Françoise David feels “no discomfort” with regard to the decision of Québec solidaire to pay her co-spokesperson, Émilise Lessard-Therrien, a salary much lower than that which her male counterpart receives in the Assembly national.
Last month, the left-wing party confirmed that it would pay its new spokesperson $82,000 per year. A total well below the MP and parliamentary leader salary of Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who earns more than $177,000 — before donations made to offset the recent salary increase for MPs, which his party opposed.
A very normal situation, according to former solidarity spokesperson Françoise David, who has difficulty explaining why “there are still people who are on this”. “At the time when Amir Khadir was elected deputy, I remained president and spokesperson for Québec solidaire salaried. The party really didn't have a lot of money, and so I earned […] not even half of Amir's salary,” she said in an interview with Le Devoir.
“I'm a feminist, I think equality and parity are super important, but it never crossed my mind to rebel. » When he was an extra-parliamentary male spokesperson, Andrés Fontecilla earned “much less” than she did as an elected female spokesperson, she points out.
To those who accuse Québec solidaire of denying its feminist values by offering Émilise Lessard-Therrien the salary she has, Ms. David only responds with one thing: “Frankly, frankly. »