An alarming report was released by licensed insolvency trustee MNP Ltd earlier this week.
According to the report, 52% of Canadians say they are $200 away or less from not being able to pay all of their bills at the end of the month. This is up from the 46% recorded back in April. Worse still, 35% of those surveyed reported they already do not make enough money to cover their bills and debt payments.
These are very serious concerns. In my column last week, I raised a similar issue, many Canadians, even those with good-paying jobs (who do not qualify for government benefit programs), are falling behind in their ability to pay their bills at the end of each month.
In the last week, I have heard from many more families in this situation. As the official Opposition, (Conservative) continue to raise these concerns with the (government), but it continue to ignore them.
“Made-in-Canada” inflation remains a growing concern, not just for the impact it has on families, particularly in rural areas, but also on many small businesses. One local small business owner recently shared with me he has found sourcing items from Canada is increasingly cost-prohibitive when you factor in the growing domestic shipping costs.
This business owner said price comparisons of similar goods purchased overseas, or even from the United States, (showed) the costs are considerably lower. It should also be noted neither of the regions imposes carbon taxes and other government policies that drive up the cost of getting goods to the market.
I mention these things as Canada's GDP growth rate has been lagging significantly behind our largest trading partner, the United States.
For example, from the last quarter of 2016 to 2022, real per capita GDP in the United States increased by 11.7 percent; however, here in Canada, it was only 2.8 percent. This is important to recognize because Canada's lack of growth is far more related to government policies compared to the United States.
From my perspective, one of the challenges is the government has focused more on selective stimulus spending than general policies that promote growth and investment. If you follow the government closely, you will notice many fiscal announcements often go towards private sector business investments that happen to align with the government's political ideology. Massive subsidies and handouts are now becoming routine and when these investments fail, taxpayers are often left to pick up the tab.
Another concerning example is we have watched many B.C. lumber mills close. Often, these lumber companies stay in Canada but they also open new lumber mills in the United States. That creates a troubling trend, where investment dollars are used to grow the economy in the United States.
I am placing only some of the blame for this on our federal government, as provincial government policies also play a vital role. Increasingly, at the provincial and federal levels, I am also seeing the policies implemented benefit those living in large urban areas at the expense of smaller rural communities.
In summary, government policies are becoming more targeted towards regions where governments get elected as opposed to policies that can benefit all Canadians more equally through increased investment and competition without selective government intervention.
My question this week:
Do you think our federal Liberal Government is on the right track? Why or why not?
I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll-free 1-800-665-8711.
Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.