According to in-house research, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is “boastful” and “self-congratulatory” when it comes to her record on inflation. A Finance Canada report said Canadians believe Freeland has disconnected from the economic realities of taxpayers on inflation and housing.
“Participants were unsure whether Canada was going in the right or wrong direction,” said the report Budget Day Focus Groups, which includes sentiments from Canadians who watched the 2023 budget address last March 28.
“Among those who responded, half said Canada was going in the right direction while the other half said the country was going in the wrong direction,” wrote Léger Marketing researchers.
Participants who viewed the address positively “struggled to recall specific positive moments in the speech itself,” reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
“Those who thought Canada was going in the wrong direction mostly mentioned the rising cost of housing, food and everyday consumer goods,” wrote researchers, with the finance minister scoring the lowest among voters under 40.
Overall, most participants said the Canadian economy is “poor,” and claimed Freeland is “boastful” on her record.
“People often commented that aspects of the speech felt self-congratulatory,” said the report. “Participants were somewhat cynical and questioned what had been actually accomplished or how useful the information was.”
“The self-congratulatory criticism came up again when discussing the government’s efforts to address rising costs,” said Focus Groups.
“The Minister saying the inflation rate was coming back down was received particularly negatively among the group,” wrote researchers. “Some participants felt prices were still high and did not see an improvement.”
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Freeland in her budget speech referred to “investments” 13 times, boasted that “inflation is coming down” and said Canada “made a remarkable recovery” from the pandemic.
“I am so proud,” she said, which the focus groups found off-putting.
“Many commented that while the intent was to reassure and use statistics to portray a brighter picture of the situation in Canada the speech did not include any concrete measures to help Canadians face issues of affordability,” said the report.
Freeland in her speech also mentioned the war in Ukraine. “The brave people of Ukraine have reminded us we must never take our freedom and our democracy for granted,” she said.
Focus Groups said participants found the reference puzzling. “There was no clear connection as to why it was being discussed,” wrote researchers.
Freeland also promised to “protect our environment” from ‘climate change,’ which did not resonate with voters.
“Measures on the ‘green economy’ left many participants indifferent or even uninterested,” wrote researchers.
“Several participants noted that housing was largely omitted from the budget speech along with details on the implementation of measures to help families cope with rising grocery prices.”