Nearly half of those surveyed by the Angus Reid Institute (46 per cent) said they trust the Bank of Canada to fulfil its mandate to ensure price stability adequately, but a similar number (41 per cent) disagreed. Governor Tiff Macklem could be troubled by the findings, as they suggest a significant portion of the population doubts him when he says he will bring down inflation. That means he might have to raise interest rates higher than he otherwise would to keep inflation expectations in check.
“Inflation is too high; it’s hurting Canadians,” Carolyn Rogers, the Bank of Canada’s senior deputy governor, said at an event in Toronto on June 22. “It’s keeping us up at night and we will not rest easy until we get it back down to target… That’s why we’re raising interest rates and as we say, we’re raising them quite aggressively.”
The mistrust appears to run along political lines.
Almost 60 per cent of Conservative supporters and 86 per cent of People’s Party of Canada supporters said they lacked confidence in the central bank.
Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre has been highly critical of the bank, going so far as to pledge to fire governor Tiff Macklem if he became prime minister.
Across the floor, almost 70 per cent of Liberal supporters and 47 per cent backers of the NDP said they trust the Bank of Canada to make good on its mandate to keep the consumer price index advancing at annual pace of about two per cent, even though headline inflation was testing year-over-year increases of seven per cent at the time of survey. (Inflation surged to 7.7 per cent in May, Statistics Canada reported on June 22.)
Central bankers might take some solace in knowing that Canadians aren’t too happy with their provincial governments either.
Alberta brought in a gasoline tax holiday and utility rebates, Quebec sent out a one-time payment of $500, and Saskatchewan has offered a rent benefit to help residents cope with rising costs.
Yet at least two-thirds of respondents in every province said their provincial government was doing a bad job on inflation.
The poll underlines how big a deal inflation has become for Canadians, many of whom have never seen it this high.
The cost of living was the most pressing provincial issue cited by 63 per cent of Canadians surveyed, ahead of health care at 52 per cent, housing affordability at 31 per cent, climate change at 26 per cent, and jobs at 25 per cent.
Forty-five per cent of those polled said they were financially worse off than a year ago, the highest level in at least 12 years, said Angus Reid. A third of respondents expect to be worse off a year from now, the highest number in more than a decade.
Half of Canadians characterized their situation as uncomfortable or struggling, an increase since May.
Groceries and gasoline are two big pain points, with slightly more than half of Canadians saying it is difficult to feed their families within their budget. One in three Canadians said they paid more for gasoline last month but, almost half said they spent less because they stayed home to save on fuel.
Angus Reid surveyed 5,032 adults between June 7 and June 13. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus two percentage points, 19 times out of 20.