Conservative leader Pierre Poivre said he apologized to a woman in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Because he called her house a “little hut” in an attempt to explain the high cost of housing in the area.
“Housing costs have doubled under (Justin) Trudeau,” Poivre said at a news conference on Wednesday.
“Let me just give you one example. A tiny little shack costs $550,000,” he also said before listing specific addresses. “You can go and find out for yourself.”
The home is a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1.5 story home on 0.5 acres. On the market for $539,900.
“He called it a hut. “It was a little embarrassing, because it really isn’t.”
CHCH said Ms Letourneau worked as a waitress and saw Poivre’s comments online after finishing her night shift.
“It’s not the nicest house on the street, but it’s definitely not a shack,” she told CHCH.
The property listing for the home describes the home as a “great north end property set on a quiet street with mature trees and surrounded by expansive grounds.”
“This home is full of possibilities and is waiting for you to put the finishing touches on yourself and make it your own,” the listing adds, adding that the listing includes details of a finished basement and large garden with space for a pool.
Mr. Poirièvre called Mr. Letourneau to apologize, his office confirmed to CTV News.
“In many ways, her house is not very different from the one I grew up in,” Poirievre said in a statement. “My point was that every waitress, welder, barber and factory worker should be able to afford housing. Now that housing costs have doubled under Trudeau, that’s not the case in Canada, but it’s often double what it is a few minutes south of the border.”
It added that housing is being used specifically to explain the need to “build, build, build” more homes to keep current prices in check.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Poieble pointed to a comparison of home prices on the American side of the Niagara River, where “large, beautiful multi-story (homes) with garages and large lots” are listed at half price.
“The answer is that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s policies are driving up the cost of everything,” he said.
According to real estate listings, the median household income in the area is $89,159, but nearly 40% of households earn less than $60,000 annually.
About 50 percent of the region’s residents are listed as working in trade or transportation, or in sales and services.
Meanwhile, other MPs expressed their views online and asked Conservative leaders for comment.
“Pierre Poivre mocks working-class housing as ‘shanty’,” tweeted NDP MP Charlie Angus.
Many people also took to Twitter to point out that the house appears to be built in the “Victory Home” or “Strawberry Box” architectural style popularized after World War II to house soldiers returning from war.
This style and floor plan was used to quickly build some homes to address shortages of both factory workers during the war and veterans afterward, and similar homes can still be found across the country. The year in which the House of Letourneau was built is not included in the list.