The Conservatives and the New Democrats are demanding that the federal government introduce new measures to tackle the rising cost of living for Canadians, with different approaches to tackling the inflation crisis.
Conservatives have tabled a motion from Opposition Day asking the government to temporarily suspend goods and services taxes on gasoline and diesel, freeze carbon taxes and, among other things, remove tariffs on fertilizers to help Canadians provide immediate relief.
“People pay — in some counties — $2 a gallon for gas. People can’t afford groceries, they can’t afford rent, let alone mortgages… What’s really frustrating is that the liberals aren’t even considering raising taxes. As I said, this is not a new idea, other countries are doing it,” interim conservative leader Candice Bergen said.
Bergen said she hopes the motion will gain the support of the NDP and the Québécois Bloc.
However, in a separate press conference Tuesday to tackle the rising cost of living, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh argued that the way to tackle this is by imposing an excessive profit tax on large companies.
“We can clearly see that companies are making these huge profits. They are making record profits and their record profits contribute directly to the rising cost of living,” Singh said.
“We strongly believe that the solution must be the redistribution of wealth.”
The calls to action come on the same day that the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) released a new report showing that consumer price index inflation is now at its highest level since the introduction of the inflation target in 1991.
The PBO pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine as unexpected but significant inflationary pressures.
Innovative, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne responded to the demands of the conservatives and the NDP, noting that inflation is “top of mind” for the government.
“I think everyone is on the issue of finding ways to make life more affordable for Canadians from coast to coast… In my remit I reached out to the Competition Bureau to make sure we would look into practices that – -competitive,” he said.
The minister also pointed to the government’s childcare agreements with the provinces as a mechanism to reduce the daily cost of living.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents in a new FP Canada Financial Stress Index survey named money the biggest source of stress for the fifth time in eight years, almost twice as much as personal health, work or relationships.
More than two-thirds said rising grocery costs have a direct impact on financial stress, and a further 56 percent said the same about gas prices.
A separate poll published Sunday by Food Banks Canada and conducted by Mainstreet Research shows that food and hunger insecurity is increasing across the country, with nearly a quarter of respondents saying they eat less than they should because they don’t have enough money. had.
The number doubled for those making less than $50,000 a year.
The poll also found that one in five Canadians said they went hungry at least once between March 2020 and March 2022.
Kristin Beardsley, CEO of Food Banks Canada, said the majority of food banks have already stretched as insecurity levels are expected to increase during the summer months.
“Food banks in most regions of Canada are experiencing an influx of Canadians visiting food banks for the first time — a number that has risen to 25 percent in some regions,” she said in a statement.
Some provincial governments are taking measures specifically to lower the price of gas at the pumps.
The Doug Ford administration announced in April that it would introduce legislation that would reduce the gas tax by 5.7 cents per liter and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per liter for six months, starting July 1. The government of Jason Kenney also announced that it would stop collecting its fuel tax and offer a $150 electricity rebate.
Bergen accused the liberals of showing “political vindictiveness” by refusing to agree to the conservatives’ proposals to tackle inflation in recent months.
“What is so incredibly disturbing is the Prime Minister’s willingness to play politics with people’s lives, conservatives, on the other hand, have chosen to offer positive solutions,” she said.
MPs are expected to vote on the Conservative motion later in the evening.
With files from The Canadian Press.