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Poilievre calls mayors of Quebec's 2 biggest cities 'incompetent' over slowdown in home construction

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, seen here speaking in the House of Commons on Nov. 22, 2023, criticized Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand on social media Thursday. (Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld - image credit)
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, seen here speaking in the House of Commons on Nov. 22, 2023, criticized Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand on social media Thursday. (Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld - image credit)

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre did not mince words when talking about the mayors of Quebec's two largest cities, describing Valérie Plante and Bruno Marchand as "incompetent" in a social media post Thursday.

Poilievre was reacting to a recent report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. That report showed a significant dip in the number of homes being built in Quebec in 2023 compared to the previous year.

Poilievre took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to criticize the way Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is handling the housing crisis.

But Plante, the mayor of Montreal, and Marchand, her counterpart in Quebec City, weren't spared.

"Massive drop-off in construction in Quebec, while Trudeau's giving billions to the incompetent mayors, Marchand and Plante, who get in the way of construction sites," Poilievre wrote in French.

"The federal money for cities will be tied to the number of houses and apartments that are built when I become PM," Poilievre added, in reference to the housing plan he unveiled last September.

Both Plante and Marchand shot back and called into question Poilievre's ability to lead the country.

On X, Plante highlighted the fact that federal money for housing is managed by the Quebec government.

Sherbrooke Mayor Évelyne Beaudin, left, Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand, second from left, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, second from right and Gatineau Mayor France Bélisle take part in a panel called 'A new international role for cities?' at Montreal's Council on Foreign Relations in April, 2023.
Sherbrooke Mayor Évelyne Beaudin, left, Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand, second from left, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, second from right and Gatineau Mayor France Bélisle take part in a panel called 'A new international role for cities?' at Montreal's Council on Foreign Relations in April, 2023.

Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand, second from left, and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, second from right, seen here at Montreal's Council on Foreign Relations in last April, did not wait long before replying to Pierre Poilievre's social media post. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

"Before calling anyone 'incompetent,' Mr. Poilievre should understand that in Quebec, federal funding for housing does not go through the cities," the Montreal mayor wrote in her post, adding that he should understand the funding mechanisms for each province.

Marchand also weighed in on X, accusing the Conservative leader of showing contempt for elected officials and everyone who works on housing issues in his city.

"This is petty politics," Marchand wrote.

Later in the day, the Quebec City mayor spoke to a group of reporters about Poilievre's comments.

"When someone wants to become prime minister and says things like this, they're basically telling François Legault and the Quebec government that they don't care about the rules that are established," he said.

Marchand then said it isn't the kind of statement someone makes if they are qualified to become Canada's prime minister.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, commenting in Iqaluit where he was signing an agreement to transfer powers to the Nunavut government, said Poilievre should apologize for showing such "contempt for Quebec elected officials."

Trudeau went on to say that Poilievre has "several times demonstrated condescension and ignorance as to how things function between the federal government and the provinces."

In a statement, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, called on Poilievre to apologize and described his comments as "unacceptable."