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Time to fix the math on inflation

Opinion Editorial by MP Fraser Tolmie: Submitted to local media week of February 6, 2023

My office has been receiving calls, emails, and letters from straight across our large riding, expressing deep concerns about the rising cost of living, an economy that is not reaching its true potential, and a government that simply isn’t listening to the needs of Saskatchewan. Among a long list of issues, inflation seems to stand out as hitting Canadian families the hardest, and people in my riding specifically. People are struggling to make ends meet and the government’s current approach simply isn’t working.

Inflation is hitting Canadians hard. Canadians who never previously required any kind of charity or assistance are now lining up at food banks because they can’t afford both rent and groceries. In many cases, people are now taking multiple jobs and working unreasonable hours simply to keep themselves and their families housed and fed. Seniors, students, and other people on fixed incomes often have few (if any) options to earn more, forcing them to change their diets, move homes to save on rent or mortgage payments, and make other sacrifices. In a country as prosperous as Canada, working people, seniors, students, and those starting their careers shouldn’t have to make such extreme sacrifices to merely get by with the basic essentials. 

Inflation has driven up the cost of housing, food, fuel, home heating, and so much more. To make a bad situation worse, many Canadian families are now struggling to pay their mortgages under the highest interest rates in a generation. With higher prices for essentials and higher costs of borrowing, the candle is being burnt at both ends. While some rate hikes were inevitable due in part to eight years of historically irresponsible government deficit spending, raising interest rates cannot be the only solution to combating inflation. With the government’s current approach, we risk finding ourselves in the nightmare scenario of “stagflation”: economic stagnation and inflation at the same time.

The only lasting solution to inflation is true economic growth, which comes from producing more goods and services. Canada must produce more of what the world desperately needs, like natural resource products and agricultural goods, while cutting waste and reckless spending from the federal government to keep more money in the real-world economy. That can only happen under a government that empowers producers through smart, collaborative regulation, instead of imposing layers upon layers of tax and red tape, suffocating growth. 

With smarter, more efficient, and targeted investments, Canada could’ve managed the challenges posed by a pandemic-stricken economy without mortgaging our future through increased debt and dollar devaluation. Many people in Saskatchewan are hurting, and my Conservative colleagues and I are both listening to and acting on your concerns. Our leader and our party’s goal is to transform that hurt into hope, offering an alternative vision for Canada’s future and working hard to implement the leadership changes necessary to pursue those bold ambitions in the next election. We have a plan to get Canada on the right track, give you back control over your lives, and ensure that the next generation inherits a bright future instead of stagnation and burdensome debt.