Conservatives Blame Excessive Spending for Rising Cost of Living Ahead of Budget

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Conservatives blamed on Tuesday the “out of control” spending by the Liberal government for the rising cost of living and pressed for more fiscal responsibility ahead of the tabling of the budget on April 7.

“Thursday is fast approaching and with that, we will see our first ever NDP-Liberal budget, a budget that promises a hard veer to the left with big spending and fiscal irresponsibility,” said Conservative interim leader Candace Bergen during question period on April 5.

Bergen mentioning an “NDP-Liberal budget” was a reference to the two parties making an agreement on March 22 to keep the Liberal minority government in power until 2025 in exchange for increasing spending on health care.

“Isn’t it true that this budget will ignore the need to address inflation and the cost of living and instead give in to the extreme demands of the NDP?” Bergen asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau defended his government’s record, pointing to how government intervention helped Canada’s economy recover from the pandemic.

“Two years ago, our government put in place an economic response plan to meet the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19. We positioned our economy to come roaring back faster and recover stronger,” he said.

“As of February 2022, we’ve recovered 112 percent of the jobs lost at the peak of the pandemic and we must continue now to focus on our work to create jobs and continue building a Canada where nobody gets left behind.”

“The fact is out of control spending leads to out of control prices,” replied Bergen.

“Our choice, contrary to Conservatives, was to make sure Canadians didn’t have to choose between putting food on the table [and] keeping a roof over their head,” Trudeau retorted.

The competing economic visions between Conservatives and Liberals are made starker by the affordability crisis, with one side claiming the injection of government funds in the economy is a major source of inflation and the other attempting to ease problems caused by inflation with additional government intervention.

Housing is a sector where prices have risen exponentially and the topic led to heated exchanges in the House between Conservative MPs and the Minister of Housing Ahmed Hussen.

“‘Crushing,’ ‘stunning,’ ‘frenzy.’ That’s what the Royal Bank is calling the housing crisis in Canada. The Bank of Montreal is calling it a ‘full scale attack.’ Housing experts are calling the minister’s programs absolute failures. When will this minister listen to the experts and stop blaming others for his failures?” asked MP Matt Jeneroux.

Jeneroux was referring to a March paper by RBC titled “Housing affordability spiraling to worrisome levels” and a BMO note to clients titled “House prices in the crosshairs.”

“I would urge the honourable member to look at what the national housing strategy is doing in his home province of Alberta. In Alberta, we’re investing $444 million to support 35,000 households to pay the rent. What does he have to say about that?” replied Hussen.

Hussen then attempted to reply to MP Eric Duncan, who asked him if he will “acknowledge his record of failure,” but was being heckled by Conservative MPs.

“I guess the record of supporting 50,000 households to pay their rent through an investment of $1.46 billion is making the other side heckle,” he said, referring to federal dollars being spent to support renters in Ontario, and saying “shame” for the lack of Conservative support for the Liberals’ housing strategy.

“We really don’t appreciate the arrogant tone coming from that housing minister,” MP Raquel Dancho said.

“Day after day, especially after six years of their government, housing prices have effectively doubled … Humility would be welcome from that minister of housing. When will this government abandon their failed housing strategy?”

Hussen replied by saying that the Conservatives have voted against every Liberal housing initiative, “So they failed in government when it comes to housing and they’re now failing in opposition.”

Noé Chartier

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Noé Chartier is an Epoch Times reporter based in Montreal.



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