The Conservative Party is pushing for an emergency debate on inflation before the House rises for summer recession, as the consumer price index (CPI) rose last month at a yearly rate not seen since January, 1983.
Ahead of a caucus meeting Wednesday, Conservative House Leader John Brassard told reporters the party would be asking the House Speaker for a debate on three issues of concern, one of which is the rising cost of living.
“The first issue is on inflation and affordability. Obviously, with the inflation numbers being at 40-year highs this morning – the impact that this is having on Canadians, families, businesses right across the country,” he said.
Brassard said the party is turning its attention away from issues that can be addressed in the fall session of Parliament, such as hybrid sittings, to issues he says require immediate focus.
He listed ongoing passport delays and accusations of political interference in the RCMP’s investigation into the Nova Scotia mass shooting as other priorities.
Statistics Canada reported on Wednesday that the CPI in May rose 7.7 per cent compared with a year ago, due largely to higher gas prices.
“Higher prices for services, such as hotels and restaurants, also contributed to the increase. Food prices and shelter costs remained elevated in May as price growth was unchanged on a year-over-year basis,” the agency said.
Conservative MP and finance and housing inflation critic Dan Albas noted that the last time the CPI rose at this pace Pierre Elliot Trudeau was prime minister.
Albas said Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland was warned that the government’s stimulus spending would lead to this.
“She’s making the lives of Canadians more difficult at a time when government should be trying to make things easier. So this puts more pressure on the Bank of Canada, and the government only has itself to blame,” he said on Wednesday.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also addressed inflationary concerns today, raising several proposals to return money back to Canadians.
“Our proposal is one that will not increase inflation. It’s about redistributing the windfalls in the system. The GST windfall that the government has right now as a result of the inflation – we can redistribute that back through a GST tax credit,” he said.
Singh also suggested increasing the Canada Child Benefit by $500.
He said the party has consulted with a host of economists about its strategy and addressed the idea with the prime minister.
During a meeting with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in Toronto on Monday, Freeland said the government is committed to “fiscal tightening” and touted Liberal programs aimed at reducing the cost of living such as their new $10 dollar a day child care deals with the provinces .
The House is scheduled to adjourn on Thursday, giving MPs a short time frame to engage in an emergency debate.