The price of this Brie cheese is now up 39.7 per cent in recent years. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

 

I like Brie cheese. I like it a lot. But I’ve always treated it as a luxury. It’s not terribly expensive, but I only buy it when I’m feeling comfortable financially.

For many years, you could get a small wheel of Brie either at Walmart or No Frills for $10.

On Monday, I picked one off the shelf, and to my horror, noticed the price was now $13.97, a 39.7 per cent increase in price from about a year or two ago.

This, I thought, is how prime ministers lose elections.

Almost every person I’ve spoken to in recent weeks, be it friends, family or acquaintances, have commented on the rising cost of food.

Whatever the supposedly single digit official StatsCan inflation figures are, it’s a farce. No one can believe it. That’s because they can see, with their own eyes, how food prices are insane. A head of cauliflower  – $6.99. I generally try to buy fruits or vegetables when they’re around $1 a pound. Now, I can hardly find any “healthy” food for under $2 a pound. And meat? Unbelievable.

Several times in the last week people have told me they’re now routinely spending $300 on a trip to the grocery store. Us, too.

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This is now a weekly reminder of the inflationary policies of the Trudeau Liberal government. From the inflationary carbon tax on everything, to the soon-to-be-imposed Clean Fuel Standard, which is yet another inflationary carbon tax, to the profligate spending by the federal government flooding the economy with money.

The same government that a few years ago suggested people borrow, borrow, borrow because the interest rates were so low just saw the Bank of Canada raise its rate to the highest level in over two decades.

Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is doing well in consistently hammering the Trudeau government for “Justinflation.”

Poilievre pointed out on May 15, “The median price in Niagara Falls, Canada, is $645,000. The median sale price in Buffalo, 35 minutes away, is $242,000. That is in Canadian dollars on both sides of the border. Why is it that the house 35 minutes away on the Canadian side of the border costs more than twice as much as the same, equivalent house on the American side? Why?”

Liberal Housing Minister Amhed Hussen responded, “The leader can ask all the questions he wants, but these are the facts. He does not believe in helping homebuyers. He does not believe in building more supply. He does not have a real plan on housing. He has a half-baked plan built on our real plan that was already in progress from 2017. That is the fact. We can have this debate. I am happy to compare our record to his, which is non-existent. He did not do anything as housing minister, and today he pretends to care about homeowners when he voted against measures to help homeowners.”

Poilievre said, “When I was housing minister, people could afford a home.

“In fact, if one looks at the housing on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls versus the American side, it is very interesting. On the Canadian side, at 3047 St. Patrick Avenue, one can get a tiny shack for $549,900. On the American side, one gets a much bigger stand-alone home for $164,000. It is $549,900 on the Canadian side and $164,000 on the American side, and both are at Niagara Falls. Why the discrepancy?”

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Not getting an answer from Amhed, Poilievre continued, “We have established that on the American side house prices are roughly half of what they are on the Canadian side. I have asked why multiple times. It cannot be population; they have 10 times the people. It cannot be land mass; they have less land than we do. The answer is that government gatekeepers block construction. He claims he is doing something about that, but he has been in this role and his Prime Minister has been in this job for eight years. If they were going to solve the problem, they would have by now, but everything is worse.”

We’ve got one kid who in a few weeks will be moving out permanently, on her own, with a new job, new career within her trade, in new apartment. The son will be following her in a few short years. Yet I worry constantly how they will ever be able to afford a home of their own. Will inheritance be their only path to home ownership?

In 2001 we paid $118,000 for our first home, a nice 1,100 square foot place in a nice neighbourhood in North Battleford. Our down payment was $5,900. Now, $118,000 doesn’t by a home, but it might by a nice pickup truck. As Poilievre said, “What we have is double trouble. The Prime Minister promised housing would be more affordable when he took office. At that time, the average needed minimum down payment was $22,000. It has now risen to $47,000. The average mortgage payment was $1,400. It has now risen to $3,100. The average rent on a two-bedroom was $1,172. It has now risen to $2,227. It is double trouble.”

Certainly salaries have not doubled in that time.

It won’t be environmental policy, gender issues, pipelines, windmills or electric cars that will cause people to vote out the Liberals. It will be that wheel of Brie cheese young people can no longer afford, as they drive home past homes they may never have a chance to own.

 

Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online and occasional contributor to the Frontier Centre of Public Policy. He can be reached at brian.zinchuk@pipelineonline.ca.

 

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