#TrendingNews Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Lifestyle News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology World News
Housing Havoc: Trudeau and Poilievre Clash Over Solutions for Canada's Housing Crisis

(Conservative and Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau)

Trudeau’s Housing Track Record

The Canadian economy has unexpectedly recorded a GDP increase of 3.1% in the second quarter of 2023. As a result, some are expecting yet another interest rate hike GDP seems not to be slowing down while at the same time, Canada experiences record low unemployment levels. The Canadian economy is experiencing overall growth rather than the economic slowdown many were expecting. For the Liberals, good job numbers and GDP growth give them the leverage to sell themselves as the party that steered the economy away from recession. 

But as much as the Liberals could espouse their outlook on the economy, the Liberals are severely lacking in addressing Canada’s lucrative housing market. While polls consistently show housing as a top 5 issue, the federal government has largely been complacent in letting the housing market reach its current unaffordable state. Although the government has implemented some supply-side programs such as the $1.5 billion Rapid Housing Initiative and the newly announced $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund, both of these initiatives are targeted housing policies that only provide affordable supply to marginalized groups rather than the general population. 

For the general population, the Liberals are planning to implement a long-term housing infrastructure plan that is going to focus on building more supply around dense transit-oriented areas. The Liberals hope to tie their $15 billion transit investment to this new housing infrastructure plan as a means to create dense thriving economic hubs. With a multitude of transit projects currently in development across the country from the GTHA, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton; the Liberals are aiming to streamline housing development around the transit stations of these projects to promote economic growth, lower emissions, and increase housing supply all in one comprehensive strategy. 

But while the infrastructure plan is to be announced in the fall, one can conclude a number of things with the Liberal’s approach to housing. Rather than pushing municipalities to develop housing by withholding or threatening federal funds, the Liberal approach focuses on collaboration with municipalities and provinces. Meeting the lower jurisdictions halfway is good enough for their housing strategy. By the time the next election rolls around, the Liberals will have 2 housing funds, numerous projects, and a long-term infrastructure plan to show off to the public. 

The Liberals have also implemented anti-flipping laws and a 2-year ban on non-Canadians and entities purchasing housing in Canada (Bill C-32). As a result, any opposition party will find it difficult to attack the Liberals on the policy front and will instead appeal to people who cannot afford their first home. 

Poilievre’s Roundhouse Response

But while the Liberals have slowly implemented their housing strategy since their win in 2015. The Conservatives are consistently hammering the Liberals for failing to stabilize the prices of homes. They’ve made housing and affordability the primary strategy to criticize the Liberals on, the Conservative’s new motto even includes the phrase “Bring it Home” with an image of a small hutted home in the background. The Conservative leader, Pierre Poilievre, has made housing talking points his primary tactic for damaging the Liberals. The Conservatives have been ruthless in their opposition, polls indicate that the public supports the Conservatives on the economy and housing. Furthermore, polls on voting intentions put the Conservatives in a healthy lead over the Liberals, meaning that the Conservatives have a good chance of winning the next election. 

On housing, Poileivre has single-handedly made the Liberals quiver on the issue, both parties are keenly aware that the status quo in Canada’s housing market is not sustainable and are eagerly pushing policies to convince voters of their commitment to the issue. 

Largely due to Poilievre, the Conservatives have brilliantly shifted the housing issue to be their strong suit. The Conservatives control the conversation on housing, and the Liberals have no choice but to address the barrage of criticism with the policy measures that they’ve recently announced. In other words, the new Liberal long-term housing infrastructure plan is likely a reaction to the Conservative narrative on housing.

For the Conservatives, the issue of housing lies in the issue of supply. Unlike the Liberal’s more collaborative approach, the Conservatives are looking to force municipalities to increase the housing stock in the country. As a policy, the Conservatives are looking to set home-building targets of 10-15% every few years for major Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver. If cities don’t meet these targets, then a Conservative government would withhold federal infrastructure funds as punishment. In addition to this, the Conservatives are willing to give municipalities “building bonuses” worth $10,000 for every extra home they build beyond the target. 

The Conservatives rightfully point to the typical price of homes effectively doubling since 2015 compared to now. More than that, the Conservatives point out that incomes have not kept up with housing prices, they argue that income levels must catch up with housing prices for it to be affordable.

In terms of scapegoat rhetoric, the Conservatives blame “gatekeepers” as middlemen that block housing from being built, leading to low supply and high prices. The Conservatives define these gatekeepers as both local bureaucrats and NIMBYs who deliberately refuse to build more housing to keep the value of their personal homes up at the expense of others.

The Conservatives have also been skeptical of the Liberal government’s immigration targets, arguing that although immigration is beneficial to fill labour shortages, it must be done cautiously in accordance with available infrastructure. According to the Conservatives, in order to reap the full benefits of immigration, adequate infrastructure is required to keep cities affordable and liveable without public services being strained. 

The 2025 Conservative Election Opportunity

While housing has historically been a none issue in Canada. The past 5 years have proven otherwise, housing has now become a national issue at all levels of government. 

Specifically, housing is on the minds of first-time home buyers and youth who are increasingly worrying that they’ll never be able to purchase a home. For Trudeau, the housing crisis may especially prove to be an issue for garnering the youth vote. For Poilievre on the other hand, it is a glaring opening to bash the Liberals on housing to attract youth turnout. If young voters come out in droves for the Conservatives in 2025, that can prove to win them the election. 

Combining the housing crisis with Poilievre’s current pre-campaign strategy on “common-sense” politics, Poilievre has positioned himself as the Prime Minister who will lead with people’s budgets and incomes in mind. A politician who recognizes the daily financial struggles of families and who believes in policies that will make life more affordable. 

At the same time however, the Conservatives will have to paint the Liberals as inherently a party that represents the elites and the maintainers of the status quo. The Conservatives will have to contrast themselves from that image by being a party that represents families, affordability, work, and common-sense policies on housing, ethics, and taxation. In other words, the Conservatives have a real opportunity to snatch the election from the Liberals as long as they stick to the basic principles of everyday living; affordability, housing, ethics, and jobs. 

But the Liberals aren’t out of the ring just yet. Just as they’ve done before, the Liberal Party is still a juggernaut to face in an election. Their campaign attacks, wonky campaign policies, massive grassroots support, and brand are still alive and yearning to take on Poilievre. Just as Poilievre reinvigorated the Conservative base, the Liberals are just as eager to defeat the Conservatives once again. 

Share This Post On


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in