Show me the money, says opposition about promised inflation assistance

·2 min read
The price of heating oil is part of what is driving the inflation rate on P.E.I. (CBC - image credit)
The price of heating oil is part of what is driving the inflation rate on P.E.I. (CBC - image credit)

P.E.I.'s opposition parties are wondering when the cheques the provincial government promised for low-income Islanders to help them deal with high inflation will be delivered.

The leaders of the Green and Liberal parties raised the issue during question period Wednesday, the same day that Statistics Canada reported P.E.I. once again had the country's highest inflation rate in March, at 8.9 per cent.

The national rate was 6.7 per cent.

On March 8, Premier Dennis King announced a $20 million inflation aid package. That package included assistance for NGOs and food banks, and money for student unions to distribute to students. In addition, it promised direct payments of up to $150 for low-income Islanders.

"We got a call just this morning, actually, from a constituent who still has not received their cheque and was wondering when it's going to arrive," Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker said, in leading off question period.

Province of P.E.I.
Province of P.E.I.

"When will the cheques go out for the relief that you announced last month, and since it's absolutely clear that this problem is not going away and is actually getting worse, will this program be extended into the future?"

King said the province is working with the Canada Revenue Agency to deliver the cheques, and the province was still hoping to get those cheques out as quickly as possible.

When his turn came, interim Liberal Leader Sonny Gallant also had questions about the program, and whether it would be extended.

Finance Minister Darlene Compton said the government had no current plans to expand the program.

Province of P.E.I.
Province of P.E.I.

Gallant went on to ask if the provincial government bore some responsibility for inflation because it is running a large deficit.

"We can't have it both ways," said Compton.

"We hear on a daily basis the needs from the opposition and what they would like to see come forward."

The provincial government will continue to do what it can, she said, but it does not have any control over inflation in the country.

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