Liberal cabinet retreat in Vancouver
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet is discussing new government help for Canadian households to cushion the blow of inflation, with his finance chief signaling a “balanced and careful” approach to any spending.
“We understand that the most vulnerable in our society need to be supported,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters Wednesday in Vancouver, reiterating her commitment to fiscal responsibility. “That was one of the guiding principles in the budget, and that is going to be an approach that we continue to take.”
Her comments came hours after the Bank of Canada raised interest rates by 75 basis points to 3.25 per cent, the fourth straight outsized hike to borrowing costs amid inflation that’s running at four-decade highs. That pinch on voters’ wallets, combined with the likely election of a populist firebrand as leader of the Conservative Party, is ratcheting up pressure on the government to act.
Freeland declined to comment when asked about the central bank’s efforts to bring persistent price pressures to heel. “I recognize the independence of the Bank of Canada as one of the fundamental institutions in Canada, and I am not going to jeopardize that,” she said. “The bank has a mandate and the tools and the expertise to tackle inflation.”
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