Affordability in Canada is at a crisis point – and politicians have no easy fix | TBEN News


For Canadians like Missy Anderson, the cost of living is becoming a crisis.

She is 38 years old, mother of four and lives in Burlington, Ont. Like many Canadians, she is forced to make difficult choices about how to spend her money.

“It’s a juggling act,” she said in an interview on TBEN’s The House which aired Saturday. In addition to the cost of feeding and caring for her children, low-dose chemotherapy treatment to tackle stage 1 cervical cancer poses another challenge for the freelance writer.

Inflation in July was 7.6 percent higher in July than in the same period last year. It was the first month-to-month decline since 2021, but the cost of living is still taking a bite out of Anderson’s budget — and she’s hoping for help from politicians.

LISTENING | Which party has the best plan to fight inflation?

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TBEN News: The House17:09Which party has the best plan to fight inflation?

Missy Anderson, a mother of four, talks about her difficulties dealing with living costs, and experts Trevor Tombe and Sean Speer discuss the politics and policy of possible solutions.

“They need to understand how the average Canadian lives. They offer benefits that I think sound good — things like $500 one-time help for rent,” Anderson told host Catherine Cullen.

“If you’re in this area, it won’t mean much for help. That’s two trips to the supermarket.’

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Anderson hopes for more help as soon as possible.

The federal government this week announced new measures aimed at helping with the affordability challenge, including the rent benefit Anderson describes, as well as increased GST credits and a new dental benefit.

“These are things that will make a difference in people’s lives right now, but they are targeted enough not to contribute to higher inflation,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre, however, claimed the plan would throw “gasoline on the fire” of inflation. Scotiabank head of economics capital markets Derek Holt also criticized the government for shelling more spending.

No easy solutions for short-term pain

Trevor Tombe, an economist at the University of Calgary, said: The House the recently announced measures were unlikely to have a significant effect.

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But he noted that it may be difficult to tackle the core problem of inflation quickly, so one of the things governments need to be honest about is “clearly and explicitly recognizing that not much can be done in the very short term” , he said. said.

Much of inflation is driven by global factors and high energy prices, Tombe said, on which government spending or transfer policies may have a limited impact. Rate hate from the Bank of Canada will also take time to have an effect on inflation, Tombe noted.

Governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem walks in front of the Bank of Canada building in Ottawa on June 22, 2020. Economist Trevor Tombe says it will take time for interest rate hikes to cool inflation. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

Sean Speer, a senior fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and former economic policy adviser to Stephen Harper, agreed that long-term planning was needed to fully address the major challenges Canada faces today.

“I think we haven’t heard enough from the government about short-term plans to increase supply, but more importantly, long-term plans. There are so many areas where we see our supply limited: health care, housing, energy,” he said.

NDP claims victory over benefits announcement

Speer noted that Poilievre took advantage of being faced with the inflation problem, and that there may now be a battle over the federal carbon tax.

“While the goal of the carbon tax is to increase prices over time, energy prices have risen so much in the past 12 months that there is a risk that the increases targeted by the carbon tax will accelerate even faster,” he said. he.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said: The House the new announcement — which he has touted as a big win — will help ease costs for Canadians by lowering the burden of dental costs while keeping other prices high.

LISTENING | NDP leader Jagmeet Singh talks about new gains, Poilievre’s victory:

TBEN News: The House9:31Jagmeet Singh launches dental plan as battle for working class mood heats up

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh speaks of new federal measures announced this week that are intended to help alleviate the affordability issue, and responds to the election of Pierre Poilievre as Conservative leader.

But he said the dental benefit is just a temporary plan. He told The Canadian Press that his party would no longer be flexible with the government on this point and expects a comprehensive program next year.

But Missy Anderson is now looking for action rather than future promises.

“People have children, people work hard every day and they can’t pay their bills. Something has to be done.”