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Letter: North Okanagan-Shuswap MP quick to blame, short on details

Arnold urged to share specific proposals to lower cost of living
A woman shops for produce at the Granville Island Market in Vancouver, on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

MP Mel Arnold blames “out-of-control” spending by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government for the spiralling inflation we are all experiencing. Unfortunately, he drastically oversimplifies the situation and does not offer any clear solutions to the problem. (Re: Trudeau causing cost of living crisis…)

Arnold stresses the increasing costs of gasoline, home-heating fuels and groceries, but fails to mention the war in Ukraine, which has driven up the costs of oil and natural gas (yielding huge profits for Canada’s energy sector).

Oil is an international commodity with prices determined by global supply and demand. As almost every country including Canada has sanctioned Russia by refusing to buy its oil, they are now all competing for a smaller global supply, which drives up prices.

For example, the global food industry consumes approximately 30 per cent of the world’s energy, so higher oil prices show up in food costs at our local supermarkets, much of which as part of a global supply chain with ingredients sourced in far away countries.

Mr. Arnold suggests the solution is to “create more homes, more gas, more food, and more resources here at home,” without mentioning either the need for funding and labour, or that the private sector is already fully engaged trying to deliver these commodities.

His call to “create more gas” flies against all common sense, as the energy sector’s transition to renewables must accelerate in a desperate effort to reduce global GHG emissions and avoid continuing climate catastrophes for us, our children and grandchildren.

Read more: Canada’s inflation rate drops slightly in September even as food costs climb

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GHD, a global engineering and architectural services firm, recently released an analysis of the cost of climate chaos. It states “Floods, droughts and major storms that wash out highways, damage buildings and affect power grids could cost Canada’s economy $139 billion over the next 30 years.” That’s about $5 billion extra that Canadians will have to pay annually.

How would Mr. Arnold handle those costs? He and his Conservative Party colleagues should pressure the Liberals to stop subsidizing the oil and gas corporations at $4.8 billion a year!

Also driving higher food prices is climate change. Drought and extreme weather events are impacting crop production more severely. Hotter, drier weather, less frequent but more intense precipitation events are affecting B.C. farmers and ranchers as have been affecting the more southerly production areas of California, Mexico and elsewhere.

Mr. Arnold fails to mention the supply chain challenges facing Canadian businesses caused by the global effects of the pandemic and ongoing shutdowns in China. Nor does he mention how government spending on goods and services or infrastructure creates income for private sector firms and workers. In turn, those firms and workers spend their income on goods and services in their communities. If the government were to cut spending, there would be less additional income, so less money would ripple through the economy.

Too much debt is never good but there are times when government spending and debt benefit us all.

Inflation is not going away any time soon.

Mr. Arnold should tell us what specific proposals he has put forward in the House of Commons to lower the cost of living for constituents in the North Okanagan Shuswap and across Canada, that won’t involve government spending. Blaming Trudeau for everything is not a solution.

Andrea Gunner
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