Alberta's housing minister met face-to-face Tuesdaywith nearly two dozen people who have been hit with huge rent increases.
The renterswere angry thatthe province isrefusing to consider rent controls to counter a spike in rental rates as housing prices soar andvacancy rates plummet.
On Tuesday, Housing Minister Ray Danyluk took up Liberal Leader Kevin Taft's challenge to meet with a group of 23 renters.
The group had complaints of rents that arespiralling beyond their reach, including a womanwho said her rent has gone from $570 to $800 a month and she only has an income of $1,050.
Retired soldier Peter Tyleman came out of the closed-doormeeting with Danyluk and Treasury Board president Lloyd Snelgrove,unsatisfied with the response.
He says the Tory party's refusal to bring in rent controls is a slap in the face to low-income Albertans.
"That means nothing to the poor woman with one or two children that's struggling at a cheap jobjust to make ends meet, being told by her landlord that her rent is going up two or three hundred per cent. It'sinsane."
But Danyluk has repeatedly dismissedthe option of limiting rent increases, saying he doesn't want the government to interfere in the market.
"They have brought forward the plights they have and I will bring that forward to government," Danyluk said after the meeting.
'Crisis situation' in Calgary, MLAsays
On Monday, Calgary-Nose Hill Tory MLA Neil Brown said rising rents are creating a "crisis situation" in the city.
"I think that we need some sort of guidelines for landlords," he said.
"The vast majority of landlords are very prudent and reasonable in their rent increases. But we've heard some unscrupulous landlords have given inordinate increases of 30 and 40 per cent, which have really resulted in some hardships for tenants."
The rental issue came up at the weekend meeting of Alberta Progressive Conservatives, during which delegates rejected a motion to adopt rent controls.
The government introduced new rules in the legislature this past week to limit rent hikes to one a year and to mandate that landlords give tenants a year's notice if they want to convert apartments to condos.
They have also committed $285 million to help municipalities construct more affordable housing and to deliver short-term aid for renters and newcomers in crisis.