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Cost of Living

October 26, 2023

My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In Quebec, 872,000 people are using food banks every month, according to a report from late 2023. According to a study conducted by the Quebec food bank network, that is 30% more than last year and 73% more than in 2019. That is the sad reality being reported by the food banks.

The number of workers using food aid has more than doubled since 2019. How does the government leader explain such a disaster?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ + ]

Every time I try to explain the multitude of factors that unfortunately contribute to the challenges facing Canadians — not just the poor, but also an increasing number of middle-class families — the government is accused of being irresponsible.

The government is doing its part to help Canadians who need help. It is encouraging producers and supply chain companies to ensure that price increases stop, and the hope is that we will see lower prices and other support programs for Canadian families who are struggling as a result of the rising cost of living.

Leader, of course, the situation is even worse in some other provinces. Compared to last year, food bank use is up by over 44% in Newfoundland and Labrador and over 42% in Prince Edward Island. Ontario, however, has the largest annual increase at over 40%.

When we ask about the main reasons why people are using food banks this year, we are told that it is because of the cost of food and housing. The government has completely dropped the ball in these two sectors.

Leader, can you name the food products that came down in price at Thanksgiving, as your colleague Minister Champagne promised?

Senator Gold [ + ]

Thank you for the question. You are right in saying that the price of food and housing are two reasons for the challenges Canadians are facing. I will repeat, once again, that the government will continue to work hard to ensure that the situation improves for Canadians.

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