Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “If this bill is not accepted before January, they will carry the burden on their shoulders […] when the lease renewal notices start coming in,” declared France-Élaine Duranceau Thursday morning.
Angered by the lack of collaboration from the opposition parties at work on Bill 31, the minister responsible for Housing suggested Thursday that they could bear the responsibility for evictions next spring. “If this bill is not accepted before January, they will carry the burden on their shoulders […] when the lease renewal notices begin to come in,” declared France-Élaine Duranceau on Thursday morning.
Just before, the elected official had stressed that there were “excellent measures regarding eviction” in her bill and that the oppositions often said that it was necessary to “help vulnerable people who are in a situation of eviction.”
Bill 31 defines, among other things, the amount of compensation to be given to tenants during an eviction, i.e. the equivalent of one month's rent for each year spent in the apartment.
Minister Duranceau wants to present 66 amendments to Bill 31, which has 38 articles. Her disagreement with the oppositions concerns the way of studying them in parliamentary committee: she wants to approach them “by theme”, while the oppositions recommend an article by article examination.
Earlier in the morning, the interim leader of the Liberal Party, Marc Tanguay, was “scathing” when questioned about the minister's demands. “Is this Minister Duranceau’s first bill? I think so. Is she coming to instruct us in the art of making legislation? I've been doing legislation for 11 years, he said. There’s a housing crisis, [and] she’s not in too much of a hurry. So, the lecturer on the art of legislation, we will come back. »
“Blackmail” and “free for all”
Tensions were high when work resumed in the parliamentary committee, which quickly had to suspend its work. “It’s free for all,” France-Élaine Duranceau even dropped at one point.
With one voice, elected officials from the Liberal Party, Québec Solidaire and the Parti Québécois denounced the methods of the Minister responsible for Housing. “It’s unheard of for a minister to come to a parliamentary committee to blackmail! » denounced the liberal parliamentary leader, Monsef Derraji, criticizing the “arrogance” of the CAQ elected official. “It keeps us in the dark,” lamented the PQ MP who sits on the commission, Joël Arseneau.
The opposition parties argue that Ms. Duranceau's approach will slow down the work by depriving them of the opportunity to prepare. “Each time there is an amendment from the minister, we will have to rework our amendments, and therefore suspend,” illustrated the Liberal housing spokesperson, Virginie Dufour.
The opposition deputies, who are in the minority in the parliamentary committee, however had to resume work in the afternoon without having been able to consult all the amendments in advance.
De new rules on subletting
The minister finally presented a first block of 10 amendments on Thursday.
Two of them give new powers to owners whose tenants sublet. Landlords already have the right to prevent the renewal of a lease when the tenant has sublet the apartment for more than a year. However, a first amendment would prevent the tenant from contesting this decision before the Administrative Housing Tribunal (TAL) if he has not informed his landlord of his intentions after receiving the notice of non-renewal.
< p>A second amendment specifies that the owner can bring the tenant before the TAL in such circumstances.
The elected representatives of the opposition also tried, in vain, to have amendments adopted prohibiting evictions in certain circumstances. Virginie Dufour suggested that we prevent evictions aimed at creating short-term tourist accommodation, while solidarity deputy Andrés Fontecilla proposed that it be prohibited in cities where the vacancy rate is lower than the rate balance of 3%.
With Marie-Michèle Sioui