Conservatives and new Democrats are calling for the federal government to introduce new measures to address the rising cost of living for Canadians, with different approaches to tackling the inflation crisis.
Conservatives have filed an opposition-day motion calling for the government to temporarily suspend the tax on goods and services collected on gasoline and diesel, freeze the carbon tax and eliminate tariffs on fertilizers, among other things. other requests, in order to immediately relieve Canadians.
“People are paying more, in some provinces, $ 2 a liter for gasoline. People can’t afford groceries, they can’t afford rent, let alone mortgage … What’s very frustrating is that “Liberals will not even consider tax cuts. As I said, this is not a new idea, other countries are doing it,” said interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen.
Bergen said he hoped the motion would gain the support of the NPD and the Bloc Quebecois.
However, at a separate press conference on Tuesday to address rising cost of living, NPD leader Jagmeet Singh argued that the way to address it is by imposing a profit tax on large companies.
“We see clearly that corporations are making these massive profits. They are making record profits and their record profits are directly contributing to the rising cost of living,” Singh said.
“We firmly believe that the solution must be to redistribute wealth.”
Calls for 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 cited the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine as unexpected but significant inflationary pressures.
The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, responded to the demands of the Conservatives and the NPD, noting that inflation is “the starting point” of the government.
“I think everyone is busy trying to find ways to make life more affordable for Canadians from coast to coast … Within my competencies, I took over the Competition Bureau to make sure that We would look at any practices that could be anti-competitive, ”he said.
The minister also pointed to government childcare agreements with the provinces as a mechanism to alleviate the costs of daily living.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents in a new FP Canada financial stress index survey cited money as the fifth largest source of stress for the fifth time in eight years, nearly twice as much as personal health, the work or relationships.
More than two-thirds said rising grocery costs are having a direct impact on financial stress and another 56% said the same on gas prices.
A separate poll published Sunday by Food Banks Canada and conducted by Mainstreet Research shows that food insecurity and hunger are on the rise across the country, with nearly a quarter of respondents saying they ate less than they should because they didn’t have enough. money.
The figure doubled for those earning less than $ 50,000 a year.
The survey also found that one in five Canadians reported going hungry at least once between March 2020 and March 2022.
Food Banks Canada CEO Kristin Beardsley said most food banks are already stretched, as levels of insecurity are expected to rise 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 per cent in some regions,” he said. a statement.
Some provincial governments are taking steps to cool the price of gas in pumps specifically.
The Doug Ford government announced in April that it would introduce legislation that would reduce the gasoline tax by 5.7 cents per liter and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per liter for six months from on July 1st. The government of Jason Kenney has also announced that it will stop charging fuel tax and offers a $ 150 discount on electricity.
Bergen accused the Liberals of showing “political vindication” by refusing to accept the Conservatives’ proposals to deal with inflation in recent months.
“What is so incredibly disturbing is the Prime Minister’s willingness to play politics with people’s lives, the Conservatives, on the other hand, have chosen to offer positive solutions,” he said.
Deputies are expected to vote on the Conservative motion later this afternoon.
With files from The Canadian Press.