Quebec Solidaire proposes real-estate reforms to counter the 'madness of speculation'

Quebec Solidaire leaders Manon Masse and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois respond to questions during a news conference at the party caucus in Sherbrooke, Que. on Wednesday, September 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

As it prepares to return to the National Assembly on Sept. 14, opposition party Quebec Solidaire said it has a clear goal in mind this year: protecting first-time homebuyers from what it described as a real-estate market gone to the sharks.

The two other opposition parties, in their own caucus talks Thursday, focused on the health emergency and what COVID will bring this fall, but they were at odds in their proposals.

QUEBEC SOLIDAIRE PACT FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS

To "stop the madness of real-estate speculation," Québec Solidaire wants to adopt a series of measures to protect young families who want to become homeowners.

On the sidelines of its parliamentary caucus in Sherbrooke, the party announced that it will present a pact for first-time buyers this fall.

The plan proposes a limit on real-estate brokers' commissions, a minimum time limit for submitting an offer to purchase and the obligation to carry out a pre-purchase inspection.

QS also suggests transparent offers to purchase, in order to counter overbidding, and the obligation of a legal guarantee except in cases of inheritance.

"These measures are the bare minimum," said QS parliamentary leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

"They are emergency measures to calm the madness of speculation," he said.

"In the long run, to solve the housing crisis, we will need much more than that; we will need a new government. The CAQ has delivered young families to speculators and financial sharks."

The Gouin MNA said he wishes that the dream of becoming homeowners will become possible again for his generation, as it was possible for his parents and grandparents.

"For my generation, the dream of ownership is the nightmare of debt," he said, citing a recent statistic: on the Island of Montreal a couple now has to earn an income of over $212,000 to buy a single-family home.

Nos parents, nos grands-parents ont travaillé dur pour acheter leur première maison. Ça n'a jamais été facile, mais c'était un rêve accessible.

Pour ma génération, le rêve de la propriété, c'est le cauchemar de l'endettement.

Voici ce que QS propose ��https://t.co/yAcqytJJZr pic.twitter.com/eBAFSAx0mD

— Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois (@GNadeauDubois) September 9, 2021

QUEBEC, PQ AT ODDS ON EXTENDING STATE OF EMERGENCY

Opposition parties differ on some measures in their pre-assembly caucuses. Unlike the Parti Québécois (PQ), the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP) says it favours maintaining the state of health emergency, which gives the government extraordinary powers.

Liberal parliamentary leader André Fortin said Thursday that "there are measures for which the state of emergency is still necessary."

For example, the provincial Liberals said at the end of August they were in favour of imposing mandatory vaccination in the health and education sectors, among others.

However, they don't want the government to abuse these sweeping powers. Fortin believes that it is up to the province to justify its governance by decree and to be "more proactive in its explanations" to Quebecers.

For its part, the PQ urged the Legault government on Wednesday to end the state of health emergency, accusing it of being intoxicated by power.

According to PQ parliamentary leader Joel Arseneau, the government "has become accustomed to governing in a way that decides without any debate and with a small group around the premier."

He challenged the government to keep its word and the commitment it made when it adopted a motion last May to end the state of emergency.

"We're not there yet," said Liberal MNA Marc Tanguay on the sidelines of the Liberal caucus in Orford on Thursday.

"We are still facing a wave -- it is extremely worrying. The situation in Quebec is such that today, we are not in a position to set a date for the end of the state of health emergency."

In his opinion, he said, it is possible for the government to maintain the state of emergency while working "in greater collegiality" with the opposition parties and being "more democratic."

On Aug. 11, Premier François Legault announced that the state of health emergency would be maintained longer than expected due to the fourth wave of COVID-19.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published in French on Sept. 9, 2021. 

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