Same answers but Liberals start to fret over new inflation question

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Governor General Mary Simon gives the Throne Speech in the Senate on November 23.pool/Reuters

If the terminology of Tuesday’s speech from the throne took any political cue, it was that the liberal government of Justin Trudeau realized the economy could become a thing.

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After running an election campaign on vaccines and child care and a green future and miscellaneous other items, the Liberals outlined the legislative program of their third term in a speech to Governor-General Mary Simon called “Building a Resilient Economy”.

In it, we learn that liberals are now living up to concerns about rising cost of living, a new-ish kind of recognition following an election campaign where Mr Trudeau treated inflation as something that He didn’t worry too much about it. No need to talk.

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Fortunately, the solution to this newly discovered inflation problem is exactly what liberals have been promising for months or even years. What luck!

Trudeau government speech from throne warns ‘the earth is in danger’

Liberals Are Not To Blame For Inflation, But They Are Storing Wood On Fire

To counter the rising cost of living, Trudeau’s government will bring in the national child care plan he promised in last year’s throne speech, and the housing policies he promised in the summer election campaign, when Trudeau didn’t seem too upset. Were. Inflation at all.

Now, it is true that government funding agreements with the provinces for child care will reduce costs for parents of young children, and Quebec’s experience with the policy has shown that it is particularly effective in the labor force. It will encourage economic development by encouraging greater participation among women.

But there are reasons to doubt that housing policies proposed by liberals will have a similar beneficial effect.

And in particular, the approach suggests that what liberals wanted to do in the face of every new, complex problem has immutable value.

No mention was made of effort to deal with supply chain bottlenecks, or transportation bottlenecks here.

No one expected Mr Trudeau’s liberals to run on the independence of the Bank of Canada or the conduct of its monetary policy – for good reason – but you would think that a speech that proclaims “we must deal” with the rising cost of living Will hint at some government policy levers that are not already being pulled.

Perhaps this could include some suggestion that the three-year, $101 billion recovery program outlined by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in her April budget will be revamped now that immediate concerns about the economy are about stimulating demand. I don’t have that much.

To be fair, a throne speech never contains much detail, so the government’s prescription for the cost of living could wait until Ms Freeland makes an economic statement later this fall. But so far, it appears the plan is to let Canadians know that past policies are suitable for all future purposes.

This isn’t a new trend in Mr Trudeau’s Ottawa. The postpandemic plan to build a better Canada outlined in last year’s throne speech looked like a pre-pandemic plan, after winning a second term in 2019 but with a bigger budget.

Throne speeches are always vague outlines, and it should come as no surprise that Tuesday’s speech repeated the promises of a recent election campaign.

But new elements showed that liberals are slowly falling prey to the perception that post-pandemic economic issues are emerging as a political problem.

Conservatives, particularly MP Pierre Poiliver, have been attacking inflation for weeks, though not always with a coherent diagnosis or program to combat it. Party leader Erin O’Toole loves to tweet about the cost of living. Many party lawmakers think it is a win-win issue if they blame Mr. Trudeau’s liberals.

So the liberals threw a few words at the economy. The speech acknowledged concerns about the rising cost of living, even though it did not suggest anything new to tackle. The title was about the economy, even if the content isn’t really. We were told that “as we move forward on the economy of the future, no worker or sector will be left behind,” although it was unclear how this would happen.

But at least now we know that liberals are beginning to think that the economy could become a political issue. Who knows? The next step might be to do something about it.

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