Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says Canada needs “fiscal sanity” as decades-high inflation has driven up the cost of living in the country.
Poilievre made the remarks at a Conservative caucus meeting Wednesday, criticizing the Liberal government for not doing enough to keep food prices and interest rates down.
“The costly coalition want to drive up inflation further,” Poilievre said. “They want to add billions more in inflationary gaps.
“Conservatives will fight to restore fiscal sanity. We will put legal limits on spending to bring down inflation.”
Read more: Tories maintain lead over Liberals as gap slightly widens, new poll shows
According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, the annual rate of inflation held steady at 6.9 per cent in October amid dropping pressure on grocery prices.
Food prices were up 10.1 per cent year over year in October, down slightly from the 10.3 per cent hike in September, StatCan said in its report last month.
Meanwhile, to tamp down inflation, the Bank of Canada once again raised its key interest rate last week, to 4.25 per cent. That’s the highest level since 2008.
Poilievre said inflationary pressures have forced one in five Canadians to cut meals and 1.5 million people to access food banks in a single month.
He was referring to a new survey by the Salvation Army published on Dec. 9 that showed 41 per cent of Canadians said they bought cheaper, less nutritious food, while 21 per cent skipped or reduced the size of a meal.
The 1.5 million food bank visits happened in March, according to an annual report by Food Banks Canada published in October.
Poilievre said even though housing prices are going down, monthly payments are rising because of the high interest rates, “which means buyers and sellers are losing,” he said.
He also criticized the Liberal government’s carbon price plan that Ottawa is imposing to meet its climate goals.
Next summer, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia will be subject to the federal consumer carbon price after a federal review determined the provincial systems would no longer meet federal standards.
By July 2023, only British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick will have provincial carbon-pricing systems for individuals and businesses with lower levels of emissions.
As concerns over inflation grow, there are signs that support for the federal government is waning.
A new poll conducted over the weekend by Leger showed that the Tories are still leading the Liberals and have slightly widened the gap.
It’s the fourth consecutive monthly poll in which the Conservative Party has maintained a lead – and the fourth since Poilievre became its leader.
— with files from Global News’ Craig Lord and The Canadian Press.