The Liberals know that if Canadians are focused on the cost-of-living, they will punish Trudeau at the polls.
Justin Trudeau has tried to make this election about a lot of things:
Demonizing unvaccinated Canadians.
Demonizing law-abiding gun owners.
Posturing on climate change.
Being a ‘feminist.’
Falsely claiming his opponents will privatize healthcare.
And on and on and on.
Yet, when it comes to the issue that most Canadians are concerned about – and the issue that most impacts us in our day-to-day lives – Trudeau is virtually silent.
That issue would be inflation.
Every Canadian has felt the surge in inflation, as everything gets more and more expensive.
Food prices in particular are through the roof, and almost nobody even believes the ‘official’ inflation rate, as prices seem to be going up much higher.
That said, even the government has to admit that inflation is now reaching a level not seen in quite a long time.
Here’s what Stats Canada said:
“The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 4.1% on a year-over-year basis in August, the fastest pace since March 2003, up from a 3.7% gain in July. The increase in prices mainly stems from an accumulation of recent price pressures and from lower price levels in 2020. Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose 3.2% year over year.”
Of course, excluding would be to ignore the fact that gasoline is up a whopping 32.5% year-over-year.
And, as you very well have noticed, meat prices are up dramatically:
“Year over year, prices for meat products rose at the fastest pace in August (+6.9%) since June 2020 (+8.1%). Prices for fresh or frozen chicken were up 8.4%, partly based on higher input costs and growing demand from restaurants. Prices for fresh and frozen pork also increased on a year-over-year basis in August (+9.3%), mainly the result of higher input costs and supply chain issues.”
The biggest issue of the campaign
Inflation and the rising cost of living is the biggest issue of the campaign.
It most directly impacts all of us, and the consequences continue to grow.
We are in effect being robbed of our money, beyond the robbery that takes place through the tax system.
With inflation this high, and with GDP growth weak, we are all getting poorer and poorer in real terms, as our hard-earned money is robbed of value.
So, why wouldn’t Justin Trudeau want to talk about this?
Because the surge in inflation is largely an indictment of his economic record while serving as PM.
Trudeau famously said “the budget will balance itself,” and most recently said he “doesn’t think about monetary policy.”
Under Trudeau – and even before covid-19 – the Liberals had massively expanded the budget deficit, set Canada on a path to structural deficits, expanded the size and scope of government, raised taxes, and put our country in a much more vulnerable situation.
Bank of Canada complicity
Adding to the damage of Trudeau’s fiscal policies has been the Bank of Canada turning into an increasingly political institution.
They have enabled Trudeau’s endless spending by keeping interest rates artificially low, making it seem that Trudeau’s policies were ‘sustainable’ since people didn’t feel the impact of all the over spending initially.
But as we know, you can’t keep pumping more and more money into an economy without an increase in productivity, unless you want inflation to be the result.
And here we are.
Trudeau shifts the political ‘consensus’
Unfortunately, in addition to the damage it has done to the economy, Trudeau has shifted the political ‘consensus’, albeit artificially.
Clearly, many Canadians would be open to spending cuts and more restraint in order to get inflation under control, but no major party is currently advocating those policies.
While former CPC finance critic Pierre Poilievre has been a strong voice for policies that would reduce inflation and has done a great job explaining the connection between Justin Trudeau’s policies and the surging cost of living, the CPC as a whole hasn’t pushed for any drastic change.
Note: If the entire CPC message was built around the communication strategy being used by Poilievre, they would be much better positioned for success:
With today's 4.1% inflation numbers again contradicting the "experts" who first told us there would be no inflation and then that it would be transitory, there is a serious question: were they lying or incompetent?
— pierrepoilievre (@PierrePoilievre) September 15, 2021
Now might be the worst time to have a Prime Minister who does not think about inflation. pic.twitter.com/UykABAWpxa
— pierrepoilievre (@PierrePoilievre) September 15, 2021
In what is clearly a big gap between what the CPC/many CPC MPs want, and what the CPC ‘leadership team’ wants, the Conservatives are proposing to run deficits for another decade, and some projections have them spending even more than the Liberals in the short-term, with reductions pushed out to ‘future years.’
This could be another reason for the PPC Surge, as they are now the only party that is really espousing any sense of fiscal conservatism, in addition to mentioning cryptocurrency, one of the ways more and more people are hedging against inflation.
Many people are asking if I support #Bitcoin and cryptos. Of course I do!
I hate how central banks are destroying our money and economy. I’m more of an old-fashioned gold & silver fan, but cryptos are another new and innovative way to counter this that should be encouraged.
— Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier) September 15, 2021
Additionally, after years of ripping into the ‘Trudeau Carbon Tax,’ O’Toole not only introduced his own, but has further muddied the waters by leaving open the possibility of provinces keeping the Trudeau carbon tax in place even if O’Toole wins:
— National Newswatch (@natnewswatch) September 15, 2021
As the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation pointed out, that is quite a further betrayal of O’Toole’s promise to repeal it:
““I, @erinotoole promise that, if elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax; and, reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.””
“I, @erinotoole promise that, if elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax; and, reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.” #cdnpoli https://t.co/z9z50yYUne
— Franco Terrazzano (@franco_nomics) September 15, 2021
So, with the CPC, Liberals, and NDP parties promising – in effect – to bring in policies that could continue to make inflation a problem for the country, why would this surging inflation damage Trudeau the most politically?
It’s because he is currently in power, and because nobody believes he will ever show spending restraint.
The CPC still has many fiscal conservatives, but the Liberals do not.
At one point, the Liberals could have credibly called themselves a fiscally conservative party, but under Trudeau that legacy has been wiped away.
Trudeau’s answer to everything is to spend more and more, with no regard for the future, and no regard for the rising cost-of-living.
So, if Canadians go to the polls thinking about inflation, and thinking about the cost-of-living, then Trudeau will pay a heavy electoral price, hence his effort to distract attention everywhere else.
And, unfortunately, Jason Kenney’s appalling reversal by announcing (on the very same day the new inflation numbers emerged) that he is imposing more restrictions and is bringing in a vaccine passport in Alberta will play into Trudeau’s effort to focus attention away from his immense failure on the economy.