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QUESTION PERIOD — Finance

Canada's Inflation Rate

April 6, 2022


Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition)

Honourable senators, my question today is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Leader, Canada’s inflation rate is currently at a 30-year high and shows no sign of climbing down on its own. This means that it is very likely that the Bank of Canada will be raising rates again, putting increased pressure on Canadians who are trying to pay off their mortgages.

On Tuesday, the Parliamentary Budget Officer testified before our National Finance Committee and said the following:

. . . it’s clear that the fiscal policy that tends to be expansionary, such as deficit financing, makes the job of the Bank of Canada more difficult when the economy is already running close to or at full capacity, employment growth is very strong and the unemployment rate is low. So running deficits that are significant makes the job of the Bank of Canada in taming inflation much more difficult.

Leader, does this NDP-Liberal government realize that its uncontrolled spending is fuelling inflation, or do you believe that the Parliamentary Budget Officer is misleading senators?

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

Thank you for the question.

Of course I do not believe that the Parliamentary Budget Officer is misleading senators. He is expressing his opinion based on his experience and in recognition of the challenge, which we all recognize, of coming through the pandemic and responding to the calls of industry, businesses, individuals, working Canadians and Canadians who are unable to find work for assistance through these difficult times, coupled, happily, with a strong economy — as you pointed out properly, colleague — and low unemployment.

It is an enormous challenge to balance all the competing needs, desires, aspirations and responsibilities of government. The Government of Canada, which will be presenting its budget tomorrow, believes that it is firmly on track to provide what Canadians and our economy need to move forward and to build a better future for all Canadians.

We are all anticipating this NDP budget that we’re going to receive tomorrow.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average price of a home in Winnipeg has gone up almost 30% in three years. According to Statistics Canada, the cost of household appliances has gone up over the last year. The cost of a refrigerator increased by more than 15%; ovens, dishwashers, and laundry appliances all went up more than 9%. And, of course, the cost to feed a family went through the roof last month, up over 7%, the largest yearly increase since 2009.

Leader, these are not just statistics. These are real costs borne by real Canadian families. The PBO says your government’s uncontrolled spending is going to make life harder for him. Is this NDP-Liberal government listening to the Parliamentary Budget Officer?

Senator Gold [ - ]

Yes, it is. Thank you.

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