Survey: Cost of living is top priority for Canadians in 2022 federal budget – National

Canadians are looking to next week’s federal budget to signal that Ottawa understands the pressure the rapidly rising cost of living has put on household finances, suggests a new poll conducted exclusively for Global News by Ipsos.

“Canadians are in many parts of this country, really feeling the pressure, especially people with more precarious jobs, women, people with children at home, people who are under real pressure as a result of what they see as increased unplanned. cost of living that they now have to manage,” said Darrell Bricker, executive director of Ipsos Public Affairs. “And they’re looking at this budget for a sign from the government that they got it and they have some ideas about how to deal with it.”

Ipsos asked 1,500 Canadians in an online survey completed between March 11-16 to list his three priorities for the 2022 budget, due on April 7.

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A majority, 53 percent, listed “helping with the rising cost of daily necessities due to inflation” as one of their top three priorities. That was followed by 45 percent who said “reducing taxes” was a top priority and 40 percent who told the pollster that “increased investments in health care” should be a priority.

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Bricker said the mood in the country on the eve of this budget is significantly different than in other years. In other words, climate change, green infrastructure, indigenous reconciliation and other issues often associated with the Trudeau government’s “Build Back Better” message were higher priorities among the electorate. Those problems now have a lower priority, according to the Ipsos survey.

“What we’re seeing is people much more focused on the daily affordability of their lives, and that aligns with much more pessimism coming out of the pandemic this time, and a real belief that we’re suffering now. the personal economic fallout associated with the pandemic,” Bricker said. “It will be interesting to see if the government, through this budget, is able to move from that to that, as opposed to its ‘build back better’ agenda, which seemed so positive, to make the world a better kind of place from a schedule.”

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Federal conservatives, in fact, expect precisely that kind of turnaround.

“Fight inflation, control spending, ease the tax burden on Canadians. These are the things I’m looking for,” said Ed Fast, the Conservative MP from BC who is also a financial critic of his party.

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60% of Canadians worry about feeding their families amid inflation: Ipsos survey

However, the recently concluded Liberal-NDP trust and supply deal is more about the kind of vision associated with progressive “Build Back Better” budgets. The NDP will vote for this budget and the next three budgets, under that deal, as long as the Liberals keep their end of the bargain by moving forward with implementing national pharmaceutical care, dental care, indigenous reconciliation while fighting more against climate . change and make housing more affordable.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the budget she is drafting would address affordability issues.

“Our government was re-elected with a commitment to grow our economy, make life more affordable and continue to build a Canada where no one is left behind,” Freeland told the House of Commons last week. “That is exactly what we are doing and that is what we are going to continue to do in the budget that I will present to this House on April 7, 2022 at 4 pm”

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Freeland’s challenge will be trying to meet multiple costly political obligations during a time of high inflation and global geopolitical unrest. Compromises made a few months ago on the Liberal electoral platform are likely to cost $50 billion over five years; commitments to the NDP are likely to cost $13 billion; increasing defense spending to 2 percent of GDP, as many other NATO members are now doing, could cost as much as $25 billion a year; and provinces are pushing for billions more in annual health transfers.

“I think they are going to have to achieve some kind of alchemy to make this all work,” said Sahir Khan, executive vice president of the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa and a former member of the Parliamentary Budget Office. “I don’t envy the government, but they have to squeeze so many political compromises into a really small space and still be fiscally sustainable without raising taxes.”

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To get an idea of ​​how tough government choices can be, consider this: Housing affordability was identified as a top three priority by 21 percent of respondents to the Ipsos survey, but 21 percent he also said that reducing general public spending was one of the top three priorities. and reducing the deficit was one of the main priorities of 20 cent.

Bricker said that when the electorate thinks about housing affordability, they no longer do so in the context of providing more social housing or housing for low-income Canadians. It has now become a problem for the middle class, particularly middle class women, who worry that their own families will be able to buy a house, and they worry especially about their children’s ability to buy a house.

Ipsos found declining support for other budget priorities:

  • 17 percent said the budget should help businesses still battling the pandemic.
  • 16 percent supported more spending on a green energy transition.
  • 11 percent support financial incentives for Canadians to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • 11 percent support increased defense spending.

“I think Canadians are not saying they don’t want the government to spend money on defense,” Bricker said. “But as far as the priorities that they have relative to their situation, the personal situation in their day-to-day, what’s happening to you today matters more than anything else.”

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