Coronavirus: Quebec Premier François Legault goes silent on cries of Renters

There has been much praise for Premier François Legault's leadership on the COVID-19 public health crisis.

However, the Premier's magnanimous words won't help pay the rent for those Quebecers whose places of employment have been shut down.

There ought to be a temporary suspension of rent payments until federal relief reaches those who need it as housing advocates have sought.

“We've been asking the Quebec government to actually suspend all rents for April unless there's money coming from the Quebec government to help tenants to make payments for April,” Maxime Roy-Allard of the Association of Housing Committees told CTV.

April 1 is fast approaching.  How are scores of tenants in Quebec going to make the rent?

Legault showed leadership on closing down commercial establishments which could become venues for the further spread of the COVID-19 public health crisis.

But, he has shown great hypocrisy by failing to redress the socio-economic impact on the lives of Quebecers who don't have the Premier's plus $100,000/yr salary per year and all of his other savings to fall back-on as an elite member of Quebec's business community.

“I applied for unemployment but I'm still worried until I get confirmation in the mail,” said tenant Sara Feldman. “I always paid my rent on time, never late. I’ve never, never had a problem with that.”

CTV elaborates that Quebec landlords are warning tenants that if they don't pay or fall behind, they could face "serious consequences".

A report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives this week highlights that 23 per cent of Quebec households that rent have less than a week of savings to rely on.

"We definitely need to have something put in place to help tenants pay their rent," said Catherine Lussier, a community organizer with the Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU).

Yes, evictions have for now been suspended in Québec.  But, Legault's lack of leadership for renters will mean that they could eventually be evicted under a mountain of debt for rent which they have had no income to pay as a result of the closure of places of work.


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