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Poilievre accuses “incompetent mayors” of Montreal and Quebec of blocking construction sites

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick The Canadian Press “Trudeau pays billions to incompetent mayors, Marchand and Plante, who block construction sites,” wrote Pierre Poilievre, seen here in December, in a message that quickly sparked reactions in the two largest cities Quebecois.

Sébastien Tanguay in Quebec

January 18, 2024

  • Canada

Canadian Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre took shots at the mayors of Quebec and Montreal on Thursday afternoon in a tweet in which he claimed that Bruno Marchand and Valérie Plante were “blocking construction sites » and contribute to a “massive drop” in construction in Quebec.

“Trudeau pays billions to incompetent mayors, Marchand and Plante, who block construction sites,” wrote the MP for Carleton in a message that quickly sparked reactions in the two largest cities Quebecois.

“Before calling anyone incompetent, Mr. Poilievre should understand that in Quebec, federal funding for housing does NOT go through the cities,” replied the mayor of Montreal. “Common sense”, she added, taking up the Conservative leader’s favorite thing, is also to understand the financing mechanisms specific to each province. »

Invited to react immediately a few minutes after the tweet was broadcast, the mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, said he saw it as an unworthy testimony to the positions that the conservative leader covets.

“I don’t think it’s the testimony of a statesman […] nor of a man who wants to be prime minister,” he said. It's very disappointing. »

According to him, the Conservative leader, applauded by his supporters for his abrasive style but denounced by his detractors for his occasional shortcuts with the truth, demonstrated his incomprehension of the mechanisms that govern federal funding in Quebec.

“There is an agreement between the government of Quebec and Canada which says that it goes first through the government of Quebec,” he declared. In his eyes, Pierre Poilievre's message demonstrates “populism” and contempt for the entire Quebec political class. The Conservative leader also demonstrates his ignorance of the rules in place, or, at the very least, his desire to ignore them.

By once again targeting the mayor of Quebec, the conservative leader persists and signs. Last September, he made similar comments about Mayor Marchand and the tram. Pierre Poilievre had sworn that he would not “throw billions of dollars into projects mismanaged by incompetent politicians.”

The Conservative leader's comments also caused a reaction among the political class in Ottawa. While in Iqaluit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on the opposition leader to apologize for “his contempt for Quebec’s elected officials.”

“I am extremely disappointed with what we saw from Mr. Poilievre today,” said Mr. Trudeau. Several times now he has shown condescension and ignorance regarding how things work between the federal government and the provinces. It’s high time he apologized for his behavior. »

The leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, also used the

“The municipalities are under Quebec and provincial jurisdiction,” wrote the Bloc leader. He will not do better than the liberals either in terms of interference or in terms of contempt. That’s his common sense, we must believe…”

According to NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, Pierre Poilievre's comments are “unacceptable” and the offender must apologize.

“This is not worthy of a leader or a future prime minister,” he said in a press release. We can disagree on issues and express that disagreement in a respectful way. » The New Democratic Party recalls that the Conservative government to which Pierre Poilievre belonged itself “cut funding for housing”, to the point of sacrificing “more than 800,000 affordable housing units”.

“It is not for nothing,” concludes the party press release, “that the housing crisis is hitting Quebecers hard. »

A strategy to seduce the regions

According to political scientist Frédéric Boily, of the University of Alberta, the conservative leader's exit is not fortuitous and aims to unite a particular segment of the Quebec electorate.

“The party wants to make gains in Quebec, but it is not aiming for a sweep either,” believes this observer of conservative movements in Canada. The votes that the [Conservative Party of Canada] covets are not necessarily in big cities; they are located more in the regions and in the suburbs, and as such, this attack against the two mayors can be understood. »

Pierre Poilievre's attack comes a few days after the unveiling of figures from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) which confirm a 32% drop in housing starts in Quebec in 2023.

This reduction is even more significant in Montreal and the national capital, where it reaches 37 and 40% respectively.

“Pierre Poilievre does not try to find other causes: it is the fault of elected officials and Justin Trudeau. » The professor from the University of Alberta notes that the two mayors targeted by the conservative elected official have ideological connections with the Canadian Prime Minister, hated by the conservative base.

To his knowledge, the Conservative leader does not denigrate other mayors elsewhere in Canada. Even Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi escapes Mr. Poilievre's gall, he notes — even though he is a former minister in the Trudeau government.

With Isabelle Porter, Boris Proulx and Sandrine Vieira

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