Affordability in Canada is at a crisis point — and politicians don’t have an easy fix

For Canadians like Missy Anderson, the cost of living is becoming a crisis.

She is 38 years old, mother of four and lives in Burlington, Ontario. Like many other Canadians, she has been forced to make difficult decisions about how to spend her money.

“It’s a juggling act,” she said in an interview on CBC The house which aired on Saturday. In addition to the cost of feeding and caring for her children, low-dose chemotherapy to treat stage 1 cervical cancer poses another challenge for the freelance writer.

Inflation rose 7.6 percent in July from the same period last year. It was the first month-on-month drop since 2021, but the cost of living is still weighing on Anderson’s budget — and she’s hoping for help from politicians.

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Missy Anderson, mother of four, talks about her struggles managing the cost of living and experts Trevor Tombe and Sean Speer discuss the politics and politics of possible solutions.

“You have to understand how the average Canadian lives. They offer perks that I think sound good — things like a one-time $500 rental help,” Anderson told host Catherine Cullen.

“If you’re in this area, that won’t mean much for help. It’s like two trips to the grocery store.”

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Anderson is hoping for more help as soon as possible.

The federal government this week announced new measures aimed at helping with the affordability challenge, including the rent subsidy described by Anderson, as well as increased GST credits and a new dental benefit.

“These are things that are going to change people’s lives now, but they are so well targeted that they are not contributing to increased inflation,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre, however, argued the plan would “put fuel on the fire” of inflation. Scotiabank’s head of capital markets economics, Derek Holt, also criticized the government for spending more.

No easy fixes for short-term pain

Trevor Tombe, an economist at the University of Calgary, said The house The recently announced measures were unlikely to have a significant impact.

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But he noted that tackling the root problem of inflation quickly could be difficult, so among other things governments need to be honest, “clearly and explicitly recognizing that not much can be done in the short term,” he said.

Much of the inflation is caused by global factors and high energy prices, Tombe said, which government policies on spending or transfers can have a limited impact on. The Bank of Canada’s interest rate hatred will also take time to feed through to inflation, Tombe noted.

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem walks in front of the Bank of Canada building in Ottawa on June 22, 2020. Economist Trevor Tombe says it will take time for rate hikes to cool inflation. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

Sean Speer, a senior fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and former economic policy adviser to Stephen Harper, agreed that long-term planning was needed to comprehensively address the grand challenges Canada faces today.

“I don’t think we’ve heard enough from the government either about short-term plans to increase supply, but about more important long-term plans. There are just so many areas where we are in supply shortages: healthcare, housing, energy,” he said.

NDP claims victory in announcing benefits

Speer noted that Poilievre is benefiting from addressing the inflation issue and that a battle over the federal carbon tax may now be brewing.

“While the purpose of the carbon tax is to increase prices over time, there has been such a significant increase in energy prices over the last 12 months that there is a risk that the increases intended by the carbon tax could be accelerated even further accelerated,” he said.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said The house The new announcement – which he touted as a major victory – will help bring down costs for Canadians by reducing the burden of dental bills while other prices remain high.

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NDP leader Jagmeet Singh speaks about new federal measures announced this week aimed at solving the affordability problem and reacting to the election of Pierre Poilievre as Conservative leader.

But he said the dental benefit is only a temporary plan. He told The Canadian Press that his party will no longer be flexible with the government on the issue and expects a comprehensive program next year.

But Missy Anderson is now looking for action rather than future promises.

“People have kids, people work hard every day and can’t afford their bills. We need something to make a difference.”

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