Inflation is the problem of the hour. It erodes purchasing power, it particularly hurts retirees, it forces central banks to make sudden moves on interest rates. Out-of-control inflation is a real poison for the economy and could lead us straight into a recession next year.
Before Pierre Poilievre was a candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party, then Conservative finance critic, I interviewed him to talk about inflation.
He had pointed with aplomb to the responsibility of governments that recklessly pumped money into the economy during the pandemic. As far as I'm concerned, government spending sprees don't explain all the inflation, but they did contribute to it.
MP Poilievre also touched the public with a precise analysis of the consequences of inflation on the portfolio of families in addition to advancing some possible solutions. In short, I would have thought that the theme of inflation would be a very strong point for him in a leadership campaign.
However, he slipped. His basic speech always has a foundation. But for obscure reasons, it got entangled in preposterous additions.
First, he developed this idea that investing in bitcoins would be an ingenious way to protect against inflation. A priori, this YouTube video in discussion with a restaurateur investing in bitcoins could have been only a nice curiosity. But the aspiring chef takes his arm in the wringer.
It was absurd advice. Calculation done, a person who would have been seduced by the advice of Poilievre and who would have transferred his bank account to bitcoins at the end of March would have lost today a third of his purchasing power. In addition to inflation. Thanks Peter.
Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against cryptocurrencies: but they are volatile in the same way as many risky stocks on the stock market. It goes up and down like a rollercoaster. If someone is willing to take the risk with cash that isn't needed for next week's groceries, go for it.
But a political leader who suggests transferring his assets there in order to protect himself from inflation is highly reprehensible.
The Governor of the Bank
In debate this week, Poilievre slipped again. He has promised to fire the Governor of the Bank of Canada if elected. If there is one function that everyone wanted to keep away from politics, it is this one. In particular for the monetary stability of the country.
To say that Justin Trudeau spent too much is one thing. To politicize the Bank of Canada for its supposed complicity in financing said expenditures is not serious. One day, he will find a way to extricate himself from such a promise.