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Poilievre defends investments in rental properties while campaigning to address housing affordability


Even as he decries government policies for pushing up the cost of housing, Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre is defending investments he and his wife made in rental properties of the kind that some economists say contribute to rising real estate prices.

Poilievre co-owns a real estate investment company that owns a rental property in Calgary and his wife owns a rental home in Ottawa.

“We're helping solve the problem by providing affordable rental accommodations to two deserving families,” Poilievre said at a press conference in North York, Ont., on Thursday, where he discussed the housing crisis.

While the Ottawa-area MP and his family live in a $550,000 lakeside home in Greely, Ont., south of Ottawa, his wife, Anaida Poilievre, owns a rental property in a semi-detached home in the Ottawa suburb of Orleans.

She paid $238,000 for the home in 2012, before they were married, but last June took out a $250,000 mortgage on it from Tangerine Bank, which registered a $425,000 charge against the property.

With interest rates climbing, economists have cautioned Canadians against using their homes as “ATMs” – borrowing against their rising equity. But Poilievre defended his wife’s decision to leverage the value of the property.

“She followed all of the rules and used the equity that she has built up through a very responsible and intelligent investment, to maximize the best interests of her financial position,” the MP said Thursday.

After the press conference, Anaida Poilievre approached a CTV News journalist to say she was proud of her investment and that, next time, the reporter should ask her to her face.

Pierre Poilievre also followed up with CTV News after the event to say, “My wife started off with humble beginnings and she invested in a rental property to protect her financial independence.”

He said he was proud of her investment savvy.

Poilievre controls 50 per cent of the voting shares in Liberty West Properties Inc., an Alberta corporation that owns a unit in a townhouse complex on 90th Ave. S.E. in Calgary.

The remainder of the shares in the firm are controlled by his friend, former Alberta justice minister Jonathan Denis, and Denis’s mother, Marguerite, according to corporate records.

The company bought the home in 2006 for $249,000.

It is not unusual for MPs to own rental properties. A CTV News review of conflict-of-interest disclosures filed with the federal ethics commissioner show at least 59 MPs received income from rental properties or own a stake in a real estate holding company. Nearly 90 MPs did not have their ethics filings publicly available at this time.

But owning second homes to rent out is blamed by some for increasing competition in an already overheated real estate market.

A Statistics Canada report last week said that Canadians who buy second homes as investments contribute to rising prices.

“Owners seeking additional properties contribute to increased competition in already tight real estate markets,” the report said, making “it more difficult for prospective homeowners to purchase a home.”

In his bid for leadership of the Conservative Party, Poilievre has repeatedly assailed the Trudeau government for policies that he blames for pushing the price of housing out of reach for most Canadians. This week, he has repeatedly targeted what he calls “gatekeepers” – provincial and municipal officials who enforce zoning and development rules that he contends slow down new housing construction.

Several members of the federal cabinet also dabble in rental properties, including Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen, who got into the lucrative Ottawa market in July 2021. He paid $434,255 for a newly-built townhouse near the South Ottawa neighbourhood of Findlay Creek. Property listings show the home was rented for $2,300 monthly.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and her husband together own a small row house not far from Waterloo Station, in London, U.K. They bought the property in 2002 for £405,000 (C$660,0900) and lived in the home while working in London. They now rent out the home, which is valued in excess of £1 million (C$1.6 million).

Freeland also owns a home in Toronto’s Summerhill neighbourhood.

Also in London, Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne collects rent on a half-double in the Notting Hill area. He paid £820,000 ($1.3 million) for the unit in 2009, when he worked in London. His ethics declaration also lists co-ownership of another rental property north of the city’s financial district.

With files from Mackenzie Gray and BNN Bloomberg


This story has been updated to clarify details about the mortgage Anaida Poilievre took out on her rental property.




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