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MNI INTERVIEW2:Trudeau-NDP Deal Means Deficit Inflation-Scheer
Canada faces years of painful inflation and budget deficits after Liberals struck a deal with the NDP to share power, dragging down the party in the next election whether or not Justin Trudeau stays or is replaced by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Conservative MP Andrew Scheer told MNI.
“That's only going to go up as the price tag on NDP spending is going to be added on top of the Liberal spending,” Scheer said in an interview in his parliamentary office, seated in front of a copy of the Magna Carta. “That's really a problem with the Liberals too, that their metric for success is how much money they spend.”
Voters are already smarting from the fastest inflation in decades and seeking relief from government over-reach into their lives according to Scheer, who lost the 2019 election to Trudeau and now backs Pierre Poilievre in a party leadership contest set for September. Sources have also told MNI more deficit spending will conflict with BOC tightening to clamp down on price gains.
Conservatives won fewer seats than the Liberals in the last two elections even though they were slightly ahead in the popular vote, in part as Trudeau shifted to deficit spending and attacked Conservative divisions around social policies. That identity crisis is emerging again with Poilievre's main rival in Jean Charest, a former Quebec Premier and federal Progressive Conservative leader.
UNIFYING THEME ON ECONOMY
“My belief is that a common theme that unites Conservatives, all the different types of Conservatives that there are, is freedom. The idea that there are limits to the role of government in our life,” Scheer said.
Trudeau has tried to quell speculation he will step down before the next election as his tenure as leader approaches a decade and includes some major political setbacks. Freeland and former central banker Mark Carney have been touted as replacements, both with credentials to hit back at Conservative attacks over inflation and a housing squeeze. Freeland for one will carry the political faults of Trudeau’s government after working closely with him and supporting his policies, Scheer said.
“It doesn't matter who's leading the other parties after this leadership election," Scheer said. "The message that we're going to take to the people in the next election, people are going to be inspired by that, and who's leading the other party won’t matter.”
"The essential ingredient is to not just talk about economics in terms of dollars and cents, but how it actually improves your life. You have a better quality of life when there's a more dynamic free market. We have more choice, we have more competition-- prices come down with competition,” he said.
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