Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he "could have" and "should have" moved faster on making affordable housing a priority for his government — an insight that comes as his government faces the worst polling it's seen since coming to power.
As Parliament resumes for the fall sitting, Trudeau spoke to the CBC podcast Front Burner about his record so far on housing affordability — the political issue that could define the next election.
"I will say it hasn't been enough," he told host Jayme Poisson Monday morning. "We should have, could have moved faster. Absolutely. There's always more to do."
The housing market crunch has been a persistent point of vulnerability for the Liberals over the summer. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has blamed Trudeau's government for a range of problems facing Canadians post-pandemic, including ballooning rents and a shortage of housing.
WATCH: PM says government could have moved 'faster' on housing shortage
While Canada's national housing agency says progress is being made on building enough housing to close the affordability gap, a recent report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says almost 3.5 million new units will have to be built by the end of the decade.
Trudeau said repeatedly in the interview that he believes Canadians would feel even more squeezed under a Conservative government.
"If we hadn't got the federal government back into the business of housing, then everything would be much worse right now," he said, alluding to the government's National Housing Strategy.
"It's easy to say, 'Oh, housing is terrible right now.' And it is. Would it have been worse if we hadn't lifted a million people out of poverty over the first few years in government? Would it have been worse if we hadn't created a million jobs? Would it be worse if we didn't move forward on $10-a-day child care?"
Trudeau said he'd love "to wave a federal magic wand" to get more homes and purpose-built rental units built in municipalities.
"That's not the way this country works," he said.
WATCH: Trudeau says government can 'bend this curve' on housing
Trudeau announced new measures last week aimed at countering rising housing prices — and at fending off claims that his government has been missing in action on the issue.
The measures include removing the GST from the construction of new rental apartments to spur new development.