Langley Advance Times runs a new weekly feature, call it “At Your Service.”
It’s another forum in which to put questions to our local politicians about key issues facing our community and its residents.
Using a basic question-and-answer format, elected officials will be asked one question at a time and given the opportunity to respond (to a maximum of 250 words) on that said issue.
Alternating between elected groups, Langley City and Langley Township councils, Langley school board, Langley MLAs, and Langley MPs each have a chance to participate.
The answers provided will be published in their entirety online each Sunday.
Both Langley MPs were asked the same question: How can the federal government help Canadians facing significantly rising food prices?
MP John Aldag
A. Canadians understand that we, like the rest of the world, are facing supply chain bottlenecks, high global energy prices, and the logistical challenge of turning the world economy back on after lockdowns.
Canada alone cannot fix inflation overnight.
We are committed to using the powers we have to ensure that the cost of living, including food prices, remain affordable for Canadians.
Our economy has recovered the jobs and GDP lost during the pandemic. This rapid economy recovery has also led to increased wage growth, which should offset some inflationary pressure. It has also allowed us to scale back existing COVID-19 supports and has given more room to tackle inflation.
In turn, the Bank of Canada has stopped quantitative easing and is focusing on the current inflation. This contrasts with similar countries such as the United States that has higher inflation and is still using quantitative easing.
The Bank of Canada has said that the current inflation, while not short-term, is transitory and that they are confident that by the end of next year they will be able to reduce inflation back to the 1 to 3 per cent target range within its mandate.
Additional government policy will remain in effect to further address the price of food such as supply management for dairy, poultry and eggs, labour programs including for temporary foreign workers in the agricultural sector, and import/export agreements to assist in the flow of food to and from Canada.
These are some of the ways the federal government is assisting Canadians with rising food prices.
MP Tako van Popta
A. I am concerned that inflation is at a 30-year high, and we haven’t seen action by the federal government to break the inflationary cycle.
The prime minister must deal with rising inflation, which is causing an increase in most consumer needs, not just food. It is most impactful on Canada’s modest and middle-income households.
Canadians should be concerned.
In 2019, I was curious by Mr. [Justin] Trudeau’s choice to create a ministry of middle-class prosperity. What was this ministry supposed to do? What was the plan? Two years later, we have skyrocketing inflation, which is another tax on the middle class, and the ministry no longer exists.
My colleague, Pierre Poilievre has been hammering the Trudeau government to present a plan for breaking the inflationary cycle. We are still waiting.
Regarding access to affordable food, the pandemic has taught us that our food supply chain is more fragile than we thought.
Canada’s economy is already struggling under a shortage of truck drivers and this is about to become worse as mandatory vaccine rules roll out soon.
Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole recently said that “we’re going to see prices skyrocket for groceries, for everything, if we see tens of thousands of truckers unemployed.”
He added that we should be looking for reasonable accommodations like regular COVID-19 testing.
We need to:
1) Secure our food supply chain, and bring rapid testing to Canada’s trucking industry.
2) Continue to demand the prime minister presents his plan to manage Canada’s finances, pay attention to monetary policy and develop a plan leading to a balanced federal budget.
Next week’s Langley City councillors are being asked: Will inflation affect the City’s budget and result in higher taxes this year and in coming years?
Watch for their answers online Sunday.