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No fundamental right to housing, says Legault

Photo: Olivier Zuida Le Devoir Québec solidaire tried to find out if the CAQ government was ready to recognize housing as an individual right.

Patrice Bergeron – The Canadian Press in Quebec

Posted at 7:16 p.m.

  • Quebec

Even if housing is “essential”, it is not a fundamental right, Prime Minister François Legault suggested on Thursday.

In the midst of a housing crisis, Québec solidaire (QS) tried to find out if the CAQ government was ready to recognize housing as an individual right, as recommended by a federal organization.

Last week, The Canadian Press sent a request to this effect to the office of the Minister of Housing, but inadvertently, a press secretary sent in response an internal email in which the office wondered how not to answer the question.

The parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire (QS), Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, returned to the charge on Thursday to get an answer clear.

“We have the right to know what the Prime Minister thinks on this fundamental issue,” he said. According to the Prime Minister, in Quebec, is housing a right, yes or no ? »

« Obviously it is essential for someone to have housing,” replied the CAQ leader, praising his government’s investments of $6.3 billion to build housing.

But he argued that the current flow of new arrivals to Quebec, at a rate of 5,000 to 10,000 per month, is unsustainable: it is impossible to erect enough apartment buildings.

“Whether we make a law or not, how can we build housing so quickly […], with 560,000 temporary immigrants ? »

The parliamentary leader of QS relaunched Mr. Legault by asking him if he was “open to recognizing” the right to housing, but to no avail.

“We will not start “not to have a competition between the head of Québec solidaire and me to know who has the best values”, said the head of government.

An Embarrassing Email

Recall that last Friday, the office of Minister France-Élaine Duranceau sparked controversy by trying to dodge the issue of the right to housing.

Last February, the Office of the Federal Housing Defender urged every province to recognize in law “the individual’s right to adequate housing as defined by international law.”

The Canadian Press asked each province, including Quebec, if they agreed with the argument that housing is a human right, and if they intended to pass legislation guaranteeing this right.

The Canadian Press then received an email that was presumably intended for another member of the firm's staff: “Relaunch. I ghoste again ? Otherwise, general response which does not respond to say that Housing is a priority for our government ? »< /p>

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“The response from the minister’s office is now famous,” Mr. Nadeau-Dubois could not help but say ironically on Thursday.

“But I would like to have a specific answer that answers and not a general answer that does not answer,” he continued.

Mme Duranceau has already faced its share of controversies, since being tasked with reforming tenant protection rules and the construction of social housing. Coming from the world of real estate brokers, she reduced the possibilities of lease assignment and her statements could be interpreted as a lack of sensitivity towards tenants.

Currently, it only Prince Edward Island can boast of having enshrined the right to housing.

The first line of its Residential Tenancies Act acknowledges that Canada has signed a United Nations treaty affirming that housing is a human right – although critics point out there is nothing in the provincial law to support this right thereafter.

Most provinces did not respond directly to the questions and instead provided a long list of initiatives launched to address the crisis housing.

Manitoba responded that the government recognized “Canada's rights-based approach to housing”, and Newfoundland and -Labrador indicated he agrees with federal and international laws recognizing housing as an individual right.

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