(Ottawa) The Liberals plan to table a bill “very quickly” on the cost of living to implement the series of measures announced last week. They will not support the one that the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre, plans to table to stimulate housing construction.
Parliamentary work resumed in the House of Commons on Monday and the tone has already been set. The leader of the government in the House, Karina Gould, affirmed that the government would “collaborate” with the other parties for the good progress of parliamentary work while accusing Mr. Poilievre “of throwing crises”.
The Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, Sean Fraser, said the Conservative proposal is “totally disappointing.” “They exclude most homes intended for the middle class,” he commented.
Pierre Poilievre indicated Thursday that he intended to table a bill to eliminate municipal bureaucracy. In particular, it would remove the goods and services tax (GST) on the construction of affordable housing. A few hours later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government would implement this measure that he had promised in 2015, but never materialized.
It will be part of the cost of living bill that the Liberals want to table in the House of Commons and will be applied retroactively to September 14, the day of the announcement. Measures to reduce the price of the grocery basket will also be included – a tax is being considered if the five agri-food giants do not reduce it themselves. It would also include a reform of the Competition law.
The government also plans to table a bill to lay the foundations for a pan-Canadian drug insurance program and would like it to be adopted before the holiday season. This measure is part of the agreement with the New Democrats which allows Justin Trudeau’s minority government to extend its mandate until 2025.
Quebec already has its own program and Minister Gould did not want to say whether it could obtain a right of withdrawal with full financial compensation.
Agreement with Quebec
On housing, Minister Sean Fraser promises to respect Quebec’s field of jurisdiction and to come to an agreement with the Quebec government on housing. “We are not going to overstep the jurisdiction of the province,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last week the first agreement funded by the Fund to Accelerate Housing Construction, launched last March. This money is intended for municipalities to accelerate the construction of 100,000 new housing units across the country.
The first agreement was concluded with the City of London to create 2,000 new housing units over the next three years. However, in Quebec, the federal government cannot directly conclude agreements with cities. Current legislation requires that an agreement be concluded with the Quebec state.