Windsor-Tecumseh MP 'confused' over objections to federal housing deals with municipalities


The Liberal MP for Windsor-Tecumseh is confused over Canada's premiers objecting to federal government making deals with individual municipalities to build more housing.

Irek Kusmierczyk told AM800's The Shift with Patty Handysides the Housing Accelerator Fund is about getting municipalities the funding they need to build houses.

The Housing Accelerator Fund is a $4-billion pledge meant to incentivize municipalities to update their zoning and permit systems to allow for faster construction of housing.

During a meeting of Canada's premiers this past Monday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford called on the federal government to end the program, suggesting that Ottawa is overstepping its jurisdiction.

"You can't have a federal government going into a certain town or certain city and dumping funding and not even discussing it with the province,” Ford said.

Premiers and territorial leaders said the money should be flowing through their offices to better address housing needs and support long-term capital planning.

Kusmierczyk says they've already announced agreements with seven municipalities.

"Cities like London, Kitchener, Halifax, you name it, Vaughn, Brampton. We have three municipalities, Windsor, Tecumseh and Lakeshore, who also have their applications in through the Housing Accelerator Fund," he says. "We want to work directly with the municipality because we just want to get the shovels in the ground and get those houses built as quickly as possible."

Kusmierczyk says he's a little confused and doesn't understand the message from the province.

"They're basically saying let's complicate the process more, let's add another jurisdiction, let's add another layer of bureaucracy. We're saying let's all work together, forget jurisdictions, let's just work together, let's get shovels in the ground and that's exactly what the Housing Accelerator program is about," he says.

Kusmierczyk says we need to forget about jurisdictional wrangling and let's just get houses built.

"We need to put the squabbling aside, put the finger pointing aside, and let's just get things done. If it means that the federal government, if the fastest way to get houses built in Windsor is to get the federal government to work directly with Windsor city council and Tecumseh town council, to get houses built, that should be our focus," he adds.

The premiers say they want to be involved to make sure that the funding is equitable for communities and meets the needs of their provinces.

With files from The Shift, The Canadian Press and CTV News