HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, September 15 (Reuters) – The leader of Canada’s main opposition party said on Wednesday that a surge in inflation last month highlighted the failure of Prime Minister Justin’s economic policies Trudeau and urged Canadians to vote against the government in an election on Monday.
Erin O’Toole, whose Tories are tied in polls with Trudeau’s center-left Liberals, said Canadians were going through an affordability crisis and blamed what he called reckless spending and massive debts of the Prime Minister.
“It is troubling that Justin Trudeau does not seem to care about the skyrocketing cost of living imposed on Canadians by inflation,” O’Toole said in a statement.
Statistics Canada said the annual inflation rate in August accelerated to 4.1%, the highest level since March 2003, in part due to soaring gasoline prices and the fact that prices in August 2020 were depressed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Liberals, in power for six years, racked up record debt and the highest budget deficits since World War II. Trudeau promises more investments if he wins.
The Liberal leader said he recognizes families are concerned about affordability, which is why his government has spent so much to protect businesses and people from the worst of the pandemic.
He told reporters in Halifax, Nova Scotia that Canada “is recovering from an extreme crisis of this pandemic which has caused a lot of disruption and, yes, is raising prices.”
The Bank of Canada says the price spike is temporary and expects inflation to fall back to the central bank’s 2% target by 2022.
O’Toole, speaking to reporters in Saguenay, Que., Said a Conservative government would tackle high inflation by reducing the pace of spending and allowing more competition in wireless markets and from the Internet.
The Conservative leader promises to balance the budget within a decade without making cuts, but has not explained how.
Left-wing New Democrats, who are vying for the support of progressive voters in the Sept. 20 federal election, said inflation data showed “people can no longer afford empty promises of Justin Trudeau ”.
Trudeau, who heads a minority government that relies on the support of opposition parties to pass legislation, called an election last month, two years earlier, to garner voter support for his stimulus package. The Liberals, however, saw their early lead in the polls quickly fade amid voter fatigue and discontent with the early call for an election.
A Nanos Research telephone poll of 1,200 Canadians for CTV on Wednesday put public support for the Conservatives at 31.2%, the Liberals at 30.5% and the New Democrats at 21.4%. Such an outcome could lead to a stalemate in which no party is able to form even a stable minority government.
The poll is considered accurate to within 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Written by David Ljunggren Edited by Paul Simao
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