Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says she recognizes her privilege after being criticized for drawing parallels between her decision to cut her family’s Disney+ subscription to save money and the efforts of Canadians to make ends meet amid soaring costs of living.
“I want to start by recognizing that I am a very privileged person,” said Freeland when questioned by reporters in Milton, Ont., on Monday.
“Like other elected federal leaders, I am paid a very significant salary … I really recognized that it is not people like me — people who have my really good fortune — who are struggling the most in Canada today.”
Freeland faced criticism for being “out of touch” after telling Global News’ The West Block on Sunday that her family cut their Disney+ subscription to save money.
Freeland said the government is working on finding savings in the federal budget and there is “$6 billion more to go,” adding that she thinks “every mother in Canada” is using the same approach to cut costs.
“And I want to say to all of those mothers, I believe that I need to take exactly the same approach with the federal government’s finances because that’s the money of Canadians,” said Freeland in the interview.
Freeland said on Monday that people who are struggling to keep up with the high cost of living are low-income Canadians who “have to make difficult choices” about what food to buy and how to cover their rent.
On Nov. 3, the federal government released its fall fiscal update, with plans such as advance payment on worker’s benefits and elimination of student loan interest.
Freeland said the recognition that low-income Canadians are struggling in this economy shaped the federal government’s fall economic statement, contributing to the decision to “focus government resources on helping the most vulnerable,” which also drove the decision to double the GST tax credit.
The government also recognizes young people are also struggling, which is why they decided to eliminate permanently the federal interest on Canada students and Canada apprentice loans, said Freeland.
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