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Poilievre calls Niagara Falls home ‘tiny little shack,’ apologizes to tenant

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says he has apologized to a woman in Niagara Falls, Ont. for calling her home a “tiny little shack” in an attempt to illustrate high housing costs in the area.

“Housing costs under (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau have doubled, and it is not a global phenomenon, it is unique to Canada,” Poilievre said at a press conference Wednesday.

“I’ll give you just one example. It costs $550,000 for a tiny little shack,” he also said, before listing a specific address. “You can go check it out yourself.”

The home — a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1.5-story home on a half-acre lot — is on the market for $539,900.

“He called it a shack. A shack,” the house’s tenant, Asha Letourneau, told CHCH. “That was a little embarrassing, also because it’s not.”

According to CHCH, Letourneau works as a waitress and saw Poilievre’s comments online after working a night shift.

“It’s not the greatest house on the street, but it’s definitely not a shack,” she told CHCH.

The home’s listing describes the house as a “fantastic north end property located on a quiet street with mature trees and set back on a generous lot.”

“This home is bursting with potential and is just waiting for you to give it your own finishing touches and make it yours,” the listing adds, including details about the finished basement and large yard with room for a pool.

Poilievre has called Letourneau to apologize, his office confirmed to CTV News.

“Her home is in many ways not a lot different than the one I grew up in,” Poilievre said in a statement. “My point was that every waitress, welder, barber, and factory worker should be able to afford a home, which is not the case in Canada today, after housing costs have doubled under Trudeau and are often twice what they are minutes away south of the border.”

He added that home in particular was used to illustrate the need to “build, build, build” more housing in an effort to rein in current prices.

At his press conference Wednesday, Poilievre pointed out comparative housing prices on the American side of the Niagara River, where for half the price there are listings with “a big beautiful multi-level (house), with a garage and a big lot.”

“The answer is that Justin Trudeau’s policies have inflated the cost of everything,” he said.

According to the real estate listing, the average household income in the area is $89,159, though nearly 40 per cent have a household income of less than $60,000 a year.

About 50 per cent of residents in the area are listed as working in trades and transport, or sales and service.

Meanwhile, other MPs have weighed in online and called out the Conservative leader for his comments.

“Pierre Poilievre ridiculed a working class house as a ‘shack’,” tweeted NDP MP Charlie Angus. “This dude lives in a 19-room mansion with a personal chef. All paid for by the taxpayer. No wonder he thinks ordinary Canadians live in ‘shacks.’”

Many people have also taken to Twitter to point out the home is seemingly built in the “victory home” or “strawberry box” architectural style popularized after the Second World War to house soldiers returning from the war.

The style and layout was used to build several houses quickly to address a shortage both for factory workers during the war, and afterwards, for veterans, and similar homes can still be found across the country. The year Letourneau’s house was built is not included in the listing.

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