Montreal’s mayoral candidates debate affordable housing issue

Montreal’s mayoral candidates debate affordable housing issue

Valérie Plante, Denis Coderre, Balarama Holness and Gilbert Thibodeau answered questions at Université de Montréal Tuesday night.

Article content

Montreal’s mayoral candidates gathered at Université de Montréal Tuesday night to address questions concerning youth issues.

Advertisement

Article content

While it was billed as “a debate” the four party leaders did not actually clash with each other at the university. Instead, they appeared behind a podium one after the other and were asked a series of questions from Radio-Canada reporter Alexis Tremblay as well as questions submitted online from the public. Most of the questions pertained to affordable housing, public transit and the environment.

The candidates — incumbent mayor Valérie Plante, of Projet Montréal; Denis Coderre, of Ensemble Montréal; Balarama Holness, of Movement Montreal; and Gilbert Thibodeau of Action Montréal — stuck close to their election scripts throughout the evening. But Holness received a question submitted online that stood out.

Advertisement

Article content

If the legal voting age were dropped to 16 in Quebec, would Holness support lowering the voting age in a municipal election?

“Absolutely. When you saw all of the demonstrations during the pandemic and those before related to the environment, who was at the front? It was the young people,” Holness replied. “Not only should we be able to vote at the age of 16, but we should have voting bureaus in schools, during school hours.

“Imagine if people could vote at the age of 16. There would be no cuts to education.”

When Coderre was asked a question about social and affordable housing, he repeated his promise to create 50,000 social housing units in the next four years, but also pledged to create more student housing units as well.

Advertisement

Article content

“We can speak of 2,000 student units as an objective and when we talk about student units we’re talking about family units, with three apartments,” Coderre said.

When Holness was asked a similar question, he criticized Coderre’s plans as an old way of thinking.

“At this moment, there are 180,000 students (in Montreal) and to simply say we are going to build a couple of thousand housing units for students is passé. The city has to be affordable,” Holness said. “At Movement Montreal we are dedicated toward closing the exit door that is (referred to) as the 20-20-20 rule. What is that? It the rule that says 20 per cent has to go to social housing, 20 per cent toward affordable housing and 20 per cent goes to family housing. We have to close the exit door by assuring there is affordable housing for all Montrealers.

Advertisement

Article content

“Our universities are growing by large steps, so we have to become an affordable city. (Recently) there were 8,000 people who left Montreal because it isn’t affordable and right now the real-estate market is on fire. We have to close the exit door.”

Plante was asked what her party would do, if elected, to make affordable housing available to young people within the first year of a new mandate.

“We have reserved about 250 pieces of land, including 100 around (Université de Montréal’s main campus) just to develop social housing, affordable housing and family housing,” Plante said. “We have already put the tools in place and the idea is to multiply those efforts. In our next mandate, we have announced there will be 2,000 student housing units to be developed.”

pcherry@postmedia.com

Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *