TORONTO – Against the backdrop of stubbornly high inflation and rising interest rates, Finance Minister Christia Freeland on Thursday spoke in detail about the financial commitment to “help make life more affordable for millions of Canadians”, but all these measures were announced earlier.
In a keynote address on the state of the Canadian economy to the Imperial Club of Canada in Toronto, the minister outlined a “federal government plan to make life more accessible,” which includes a series of $ 8.9 billion measures to re-support Canadians in 2022.
All of these measures have been included in the last two federal budgets and are now coming into force.
Minister Freeland called the recent surge in inflation a “global phenomenon” fueled by the long-lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing quarantine in China and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“There is no shortage of jobs and businesses are thriving,” Ms Freeland said. But at the same time, many Canadians find it harder than before to pay their bills at the end of the month. ”
Last month, Statistics Canada said annual inflation reached 6.8% in April. This was the highest level since January 1991. The federal agency is due to publish its May report on inflation next week.
The Conservative Party said Ms Freeland’s speech “demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the causes of inflation”.
“This misguided economic approach is destroying Canadian workers’ incomes and ignoring the most fundamental principle of the economy: spending in an inflation crisis will only increase inflation,” said conservative critics in charge of finance and industry, Dan Albas and Gerard Deltel, in a joint press release. Thursday afternoon.
The statement also accused liberals of “continuing to blame global factors for inflation and (refusing) to provide Canadians with the immediate help they need to overcome the cost of living crisis.”
“On the contrary, they are announcing a policy that will not take effect until the fall, leaving Canadians suffering during the summer.”
Ahead of Ms. Freeland’s speech, the Canadian trade union called on the Secretary of the Treasury to announce new measures “to ensure that millions of vulnerable workers and their families are not left behind by the escalating inflation crisis.”
“Governments have an obligation to intervene so that families do not bear the burden alone,” said Bea Bruske, president of the Canadian Labor Congress, on Thursday.
“In addition to the activities announced in the 2022 budget, providing additional direct and targeted support to families through an immediate increase in GST credit will help vulnerable families who need it most.”
The US Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point on Wednesday, the biggest increase since 1994, leading economists to predict the Bank of Canada following suit in its next monetary policy decision next month.
Twice in recent months, the Central Bank of Canada has raised its key interest rate by half a percentage point to 1.5% in June, and its chairman, Tiff McLaughlin, has hinted that he is ready to act “more decisively” if high inflation persists.