Conservative MP tells Freeland to watch Poilievre's housing video as parties clash over home prices

Jasraj Singh Hallan urged the finance minister to ‘like share and subscribe so others can see the Conservative plan to get housing fixed’

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OTTAWA – A Conservative MP called on Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to “like, share and subscribe,” Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre’s housing video, as the Liberals and the Conservatives sparred over housing policy at a parliamentary committee Thursday.

Freeland appeared for one hour before the House of Commons Finance committee, which is studying housing costs. Conservative MP Jasraj Singh Hallan opened his line of questioning by asking if Freeland had seen Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s housing video.

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“It’s a common sense Conservative plan on how to build more homes and reduce bureaucracy,” he said.

Poilievre released the 15 minute video online over the weekend in which he blames the Trudeau government for the high cost of housing and the rise over the last eight years.

Freeland said she hadn’t seen the video, prompting Hallan to encourage the finance minister to watch it.

“While you’re at it, like share and subscribe so others can see the Conservative plan to get housing fixed,” he told the finance minister.

The rest of Hallan’s time at committee was devoted to several exchanges with Freeland in which the two talked over each other, leading to interruptions from other MPs and the chair.

Freeland accused the Conservatives of being uninterested in answering real questions.

“I’ve been repeatedly interrupted, and what we see is that Conservatives are interested in posturing, they’re not interested in asking actual questions,” she said.

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Conservatives are attempting to slow the business of the House of Commons with hundreds of amendments to legislation. In a more partisan introduction than usual, Freeland used part of her opening remarks to criticize Poilievre’s housing plan.

“The leader of the Opposition’s proposal would actually see fewer homes built across the country. He would put the tax back on rental construction. He would cut funding to cities that are trying to build more housing, and he would repeat the mistakes of the past,” she said.

The Liberals and the Conservatives are both proposing a GST rebate for the construction of rental housing, but Poilievre’s proposal would limit that to apartments with below market rates.

Freeland was asked repeatedly by both Conservative MP Adam Chambers and NDP MP Daniel Blaikie about the Canada Mortgage Charter, which she unveiled in the Fall Economic Statement.

The charter outlines what banks are expected to do when someone is renewing their mortgage, including offering longer amortizations and taking other measures to help people stay in their homes.

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The charter is not legally binding on banks, which Blaikie and Chamber both tried to get the minister to admit. Freeland said only that the charter was developed with financial institutions and they believe banks will respect it.

“We believe that the mortgage charter is something financial institutions are able to abide by and supportive of because we developed it together with them,” she said.

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