HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, September 15 (Reuters) – The leader of Canada’s main opposition party on Wednesday said the inflation rate last month highlighted the failure of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s economic policies and urged Canadians to vote for the government in a Monday election.
Erin O’Toole, whose conservatives are tied in the vote with Trudeau’s left-wing liberals, said Canadians were experiencing an affordable crisis and blamed what he called the prime minister’s ruthless spending and massive debt.
“It is worrying that Justin Trudeau does not seem to care about the sky-high cost of living imposed on Canadians by inflation,” O’Toole said in a statement.
Statistics Canada sa annual inflation in August accelerated to 4.1%, the highest level since March 2003, partly due to the high cost of petrol and the fact that prices in August 2020 were depressed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Liberals, in power for the past six years, incurred record debts and the highest budget deficits since World War II. Trudeau promises more investment if he wins.
Liberal leaders said he acknowledged that families were worried about affordable prices, which was why his government had invested heavily in protecting businesses and people from the worst pandemic.
He told reporters in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that Canada is “bouncing back … from an extreme crisis of this pandemic that has caused a lot of disruption and, yes, is raising prices.”
Bank of Canada says that the price increase is temporary and that it expects inflation to fall back towards the central bank’s 2% target by 2022.
Speaking to reporters in Saguenay, Quebec, O’Toole said a Conservative government would address high inflation by cutting spending and allowing more competition in the wireless and Internet markets.
The Conservative leader promises to balance the budget within a decade without making cuts but has not explained how.
The left-leaning New Democrats, who are vying with the Liberals for support for progressive voters in the Sept. 20 federal election, said inflation data showed that “people can no longer afford Justin Trudeau’s empty promises.”
Trudeau, who leads a minority government that relies on the support of opposition parties to pass legislation, called for elections last month, two years early, to seek voter support for his recovery plan. However, the Liberals have seen that their early lead in the polls quickly fades amid fatigue and dissatisfaction with the early election.
A rolling 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 a result could lead to a stalemate where no party can form even a stable minority government.
The survey is considered correct to 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Writing by David Ljunggren Editing by Paul Simao
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