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NATIONAL PULSE – Canadians split on renovating PM’s crumbling residence

By ANGUS REID INSTITUTE

January 23, 2023 – As the National Capital Commission prepares to begin abatement work on 24 Sussex Drive this spring, the future of the prime minister’s official residence – not occupied by one since 2015 – is in serious doubt.

The federal government has yet to decide what to do with the dilapidated dwelling of the prime minister. However, new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds half of Canadians (50%) oppose renovating 24 Sussex at the estimated cost of $36 to $38 million. Still, a plurality (41%) believe that to be the best solution, while a further third (33%) say it’s best to knock it down and build a modern home and office for the prime minister.

Amid the high costs of maintaining official residences, some of which date back to confederation, there appears to be little appetite among Canadians for taxpayers to fund homes for political figures other than the prime minister.

Seven-in-ten (69%) believe the government should foot the bill for a house for the prime minister, but fewer believe the governor general (39%), leader of the opposition (25%), or the speaker of the house (19%) should receive publicly funded housing. Though not as significant as the bill for 24 Sussex, all of the official residencies for those positions also currently have seven-figure deferred maintenance costs hanging over them.

Perhaps the biggest barrier to the required renovations has been fear of political fallout. Two-thirds (64%) of Canadians believe this to be the case, saying recent federal governments have failed to maintain the prime minister’s residence “because they are afraid of the public backlash.” However, just half (49%) who say federal governments let 24 Sussex fall into disrepair because they were afraid of the political consequences also say they support the renovation of the prime minster’s official residency at the estimated cost.

More Key Findings:

  • Among those who voted in the 2021 federal election, only past Liberal voters support a taxpayer-funded official residence for the governor general at a majority level (54%). This, after former Governor General Julie Payette became the first in her position to live somewhere else than Rideau Hall during her tenure.
  • Past Liberal voters, as well, are the only group of political supporters to believe at a majority level (57%) 24 Sussex should be renovated at the current estimated cost. Three-in-five past CPC (60%) and Bloc Québécois voters (60%) are opposed.

Link to the poll here: www.angusreid.org/

About Mel Rothenburger (9358 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on NATIONAL PULSE – Canadians split on renovating PM’s crumbling residence

  1. I am definitely on the side of tearing it down and building a new building. The PM needs a home they can live and work in, and the people need to provide that.

    Reno’ing the existing building to sustain a building history for that shack … is pretty pointless and definitely not worth $36Million. This building has no real history that needs to be maintained, unlike the White House in the U.S. … Canadians dont really care about this building, so why is it being considered important?

    For the same money a new building could be dropped at that site, that could easily be a home, Cabinet work space and international head of state visitor space, and could easily handle state dinners and other events that Canada and its leaders may need to put on.

    Its about time Canadians quit quibbling about spending this one time money that in reality is very, very little money … for the sake of very much needed infrastructure.

    Seriously, a country with a debt of nearly a trillion dollars and a running deficit of $90Billion, with a GDP of $1.8Trillion … can afford even $50Million to build this.

    Canadians are just used to squealing about government expenditures for governmental things, its just a thing … but its also why we find ourselves with a PM house … that the PM wont live in, and no one goes to.

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