If there were ever proof that this election is Justin Trudeau’s to lose, the Liberal leader reaffirmed it this week with another classic foot-in-mouth moment. When asked by a reporter about whether he would support altering the Bank of Canada’s inflation-fighting mandate to allow for higher prices, as the U.S. has done, Trudeau offered this gem of a response:
“When I think about the biggest, most important economic policy this government, if re-elected, would move forward, you’ll forgive me if I don’t think about monetary policy. You’ll understand that I think about families.”
Unpacking the stupidity of this statement could take the rest of this column, but here’s the Coles notes:
Monetary policy involves setting inflation targets. Higher inflation lowers families’ purchasing power. Lower purchasing power means less money for groceries, rent, mortgages, gas, clothes and everything else families need. Inflation hit 3.7 per cent in July, one of its highest readings in 20 years; this is also the fourth straight month the rate exceeded the Bank’s 1 per cent to 3 per cent mandate. That mandate is set by the federal government, and is up for renewal later this year.
In other words, thinking about monetary policy is thinking about families, and the prime minister is in a position to do something about it. If he understands how it works, that is.