The truth: the CERB did not cause the rise in inflation as a Conservative Party candidate argued

Our Investigation Office specializes in the art of establishing the facts. Throughout the election campaign, our researchers present their findings to you to flush out the candidates’ surprising, dubious or downright false statements, and allow you to see them more clearly.

THE STATEMENT

During the electoral debate organized by UQAM, candidates from the 5 parties represented in the National Assembly met to discuss important issues, including the economy.

During an exchange, the Conservative candidate for Mont-Royal–Outremont, Sabrina Ait Akil, spoke about the issue of inflation. “I think the vision of the Conservative Party is already to take stock. The state of affairs is as follows: during the pandemic, money was given without any productivity counterpart. We all remember the PCU and so on, and that’s what also created this inflation and which is also linked to the labor shortage, ”she said.

FACTS

It is doubtful to say that the CERB is responsible for the increase in inflation in Quebec and in Canada. This relates to several elements, including international conflicts and the problems of global supply chains.

Economist Pierre Fortin disagrees with the assertion. Based on the three-month change in the CPI, he says the rise in inflation actually happened in the winter of 2022, while the CERB was a measure of 2020 and 2021.

“In 2021, 12-month inflation was high because […] the starting point a year earlier was extremely low, and not because recent inflation was high,” he argues.

Rather, he associates the increase we are experiencing today with four aspects. Two of them would be linked to the war in Ukraine. These are “the global explosion in the price of a barrel of oil and prices at refineries”, “the rise in the price of agricultural materials”, “the breakdown of supply chains for goods and the rise in the price of deliveries and the “extreme strength of the economic recovery, which has shattered the unemployment rate and accentuated the labor shortage”.

Sylvain Charlebois, economist and director of the agro-food analytical sciences laboratory at Dalhousie University in Halifax, is a little more nuanced. According to him, it is difficult to say beyond a reasonable doubt that the CERB did not have a link with the price increase.

“But it is possible. States, including Canada, have been spending a lot, which has probably contributed to inflation in general. It is now that the whole of the West is suffering the consequences”, he maintains.

  • Spotted a false or questionable statement during the election campaign? Write to us at hourjuste@quebecormedia.comand we will check the facts.
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