Welcome to the Empire Club of Canada—over 100 years of pandering to profit. It is where Canada’s finance ministers go to seek approval and deny progress. It is where the leaders of banking, business and industry gather in mutual admiration. I have always thought the Empire Club served as a rent-a-mob for Canada’s elite. It is where deputy prime minister and finance minister Chrystia Freeland went last week to report nothing—and her audience was pleased.
The minister’s staff had told the media that it would be an important speech. It was not. Freeland summed it up herself when she reportedly told the media: “The measures that we have set in motion already, I think, do a pretty good job of reaching precisely those people in Canada who have the biggest challenges with affordability.”
I have often wondered what sort of finance minister, Freeland would be. Now we know: a nothing finance minister. She does what her department tells her to do. She seems to have no concept of what the real powers of her department could achieve.
Did she, for example, address the unconscionable profits of the oil companies while they drive up inflation? Did she question the huge profits being reported by the big grocery chains? Admittedly, the government does get a small cut of those profits but it also has the power to tax excessive profits. Has her government done a damn thing to control the profits of the big three telecommunications companies in this country?
The answer is no, on all counts.
You tend to wonder if she is really afraid of those unthinking conservatives who accuse her of driving up inflation by printing money? You can hardly blame all the inflationary pressures on the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
You can tell that her main influences are on the right wing of economics. She thinks it is a big deal that her government is helping poor people with a tax credit. The last time I checked, you had to have some taxes to pay before you could get a tax credit.
And isn’t her department the one that is taking money from people getting just $1169 per month in Ontario who mistakenly thought COVID-19 benefits included them?
Oh well, to be fair, she must have wowed all those rich and wannabes at the Empire Club. She is one of them.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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