Inflation in Canada Reaches 18-year-high

Inflation in Canada Reaches 18-year-high

Broad upward price pressures drove Canada’s annual inflation rate to speed up. Data on Wednesday showed it accelerated to an 18-year-high in August. This was ahead of a federal election that is expected to oust Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.                     

In August, the rate rose to 4.1%, the fastest since March 2003, and beating analyst estimates. This statement from Statistics Canada gave an opportunity for Trudeau’s main rival to pounce on the issue. 

Erin O’Toole, leader of the main opposition Conservatives, said the numbers released today make it clear that under Justin Trudeau, Canadians are experiencing an affordability crisis.

According to a poll, the Conservatives have a narrow lead over Trudeau’s Liberals. It was at 31.2% to 30.5% and less than a week before the Sept. 20 elections. In third were the New Democrats at 21.4%.

Around the world, countries are struggling with high inflation amid supply chain hurdles and labor shortages. The easing and tightening of restrictions with each new wave of the virus lead to unstable demand and supply bottlenecks.

The Bank of Canada (BoC) said it expects headline inflation to remain above its 1%-3% control range this year. That would be before it eased back to the 2% target in 2022.

‘Tripod of Angst’

Former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz spent seven years with the central bank until 2020. He said many Canadians are “understandably distraught” by the handling of federal finances. 

In an interview on Tuesday, Poloz said there is a sort of tripod of angst among regular folks: high government debt, the possibility that they’ll have higher taxes and higher inflation connected to that debt. People need some reassurance, he added.

Poloz disproves fears of runaway inflation, saying there is a reason why it hasn’t been an issue for people for nearly 30 years, and suddenly it is.

While prices have, in fact, risen significantly over the past year, that’s only a natural trajectory and shouldn’t be conflated with woes of inflation.