A round of applause from delegates greeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who spoke Friday afternoon at the federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference.
Trudeau talked about issues involving housing, the relationship with provinces, the resource sector and the Liberal government’s proposed ban on new handguns.
“Our legislation would implement a national freeze on handgun ownership,” Trudeau said as part of a 15-minute speech. “That means it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transport or import handguns anywhere in Canada.”
Trudeau then answered a few questions from FCM president Joanne Vanderheyden about these and other issues. One of the most important things that can be done is in housing.
“Housing affordability is a real and growing concern, especially for young Canadians,” he said. “They’re worried that they won’t have the same opportunities as their parents and grandparents to own a home and build their future.”
People want to buy their first home but prices keep going up, with even starter homes becoming out of reach, he said.
“Tackling housing affordability is a complex problem and there is no one silver bullet,” he said. “As you well know, anyone who is offering simplistic solutions is simply being unrealistic.”
He brought up the relationship he’s had with the provinces when Vanderheyden asked about his relationship with the municipalities. Trudeau said that for him, working with municipalities is often the best way to get things done, and he recognizes that municipalities are often asking for funding directly instead of through the provinces.
“But don’t forget every time we do that, we let the provinces a little bit off the hook on that,” he said. “If we’re instead making sure that the provinces come in to match those dollars that the federal government is putting forward, you’ll have twice as much money to be able to invest in the things your communities need, and you know you need them.”
Trudeau has spoken nine times at FCM since 2013. National New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh is scheduled to speak Saturday morning in person to the delegates.