Quebec refuses to consider $30 million loan to Airbnb King

The Legault government yesterday refused to end a controversial loan it had made to multinational Sonder, which specializes in Airbnb-style accommodation.

• Also read: A $9.2 million home for an Airbnb king

• Also read: Airbnbs for $2,000 a night instead of shelters

• Also read: The $30 million loan to an Airbnb king was denounced

In the National Assembly, opposition members called on the government of François Legault to suspend financial support for Sonder and to recognize “the negative impact of short-term tourist accommodation on the housing shortage”.

However, the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) declined to debate any motion presented on the matter.

On Tuesday, our Bureau of Investigation reported that Sonder, a company that operates 389 Montreal apartments, was granted a $30 million loan from Investissement Quebec, including $5 million that is forgivable (which is not have to be paid back).

“The CAQ is financing the real estate crisis, that’s scandalous. We gave the government the opportunity to correct their mistake, they didn’t want to take our outstretched hand,” said Ruba Ghazal of Québec solidaire, who submitted the motion with the support of the Liberal Party and the Parti Québécois.

To date, $6 of the proposed $30 million has been pledged by the government but has not yet been called off by the company.

According to Investissement Québec CEO Guy Leblanc, it will be “the government’s decision” to decide whether or not to pay the additional funds.

  • Listen to Richard Martineau’s interview with Jean-François Cloutier, Quebecor Bureau of Investigation journalist on QUB radio:

The minister plays down

In an interview with our Bureau of Investigation, Tourism Secretary Caroline Proulx defended Sonder, saying she doesn’t think it’s “the same business model as Airbnb.”

“Try, they only operate in commercial areas. They are not removing rental housing on Montreal territory,” the minister said.

But the minister is wrong, because 101 special apartments in the metropolis have been built in residential buildings. Several are displayed on the Airbnb platform.

Specifically, the company leases 47 units in a Griffintown building that was originally intended to house traditional apartments but has been converted into a hotel apartment.

Apartments there cost between $150 and $2,000 a night on the weekend of the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

– With Sylvain Larocque

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