The parties don’t talk enough about poverty and social housing

To really help low-income people, more “structuring” measures such as raising the minimum wage, increasing social assistance benefits, increasing the solidarity surcharge and “strong public services” would be needed. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

Renters and those on low incomes are complaining about the political parties’ lack of attention to poverty and housing issues during the current Quebec election campaign.

The promise of a check or one-off or one-off anti-inflation aid isn’t enough because it doesn’t address the root problem, said Serge Petitclerc, spokesman for the Collective for a Quebec Without Poverty, in an interview on Thursday.

“Tax cuts are all well and good, but you still have to pay taxes to benefit from them,” Petitclerc said at first.

He admits that political parties have been talking about inflation and various measures to combat it. But “Checks for $500, $600, $400, the “one shot” as they say, these are not measures that help people in the very long run; it helps people in the very short term,” he said.

To really help low-income people, more ‘structuring’ measures are needed, Mr Petitclerc argues.

He cites an increase in the minimum wage — which is currently $14.25 an hour in Quebec — a “significant” increase in welfare benefits, an increase in the solidarity tax credit and “powerful audience services.


He is also disappointed with the political parties’ lack of commitment to social housing. First, affordable housing is not social housing because it remains in the private sphere, he emphasizes.

Second, even so-called affordable housing isn’t always affordable for minimum-wage workers, low-income earners, or those on welfare, he argues.

The Collective for a Poverty-Free Quebec, which issued a joint press release with the Regroupement des Comités Logements et des Associations de Tenants (RCLALQ), also advocates better rent control through a national rent register.

The two groups are also concerned about the “renovations” phenomenon and its impact on less fortunate tenants.

Why does he think political parties have said little about poverty and social housing?

“I can’t help but think that the poorest vote less. I can’t help but think that all issues related to poverty, all issues related to housing, are not subjects that are very sexy or that are very popular with the public and the media,” M. Petitclerc replied.

Darren Pena

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