In Nova Scotians ever needed an indication that something may be wrong with the provincial economic the latest consumer price index numbers should a scary signpost of where we could be heading as a province.
It should also provide members of Nova Scotia’s two opposition parties with some useful cannon fodder as they attempt to discredit the jobs creation package advocated by the NDP government and the direction it’s attempting to take the province.
Figures released Friday by Statistics Canada show the province’s consumer price index had the biggest jump in January of any province in the country. At 1.4 per cent it’s almost three times the national average with things like electricity and gasoline leading the way.
A Stats Canada analyst said things like home and mortgage insurance were the largest pressure on the CPI.
But the fact that gas is up five per cent and electricity up four per cent is also very troubling because while not everyone owns a house, most Nova Scotians own a car and pay for electricity to heat their home – rented or owned.
It’s equally troubling when you consider the price of gas dropped nationally and electricity remained stable. With Nova Scotia Power requesting more power rate hikes to pay for its conversion to greener energy and to help pay for the Muskrat project, it appears the province will continue to buck the national trend and we all will pay a little, or a lot, more.
With food and clothing also increasing as well, it’s not news many Nova Scotia residents are going welcome because as the CPI increases so too does the pressure on them to make ends meet.
Some jobs in Nova Scotia are tied to the rise of the consumer price index, but many jobs are at or just above minimum wage. There’s no CPI increase for those employees and the resulting gap between the haves and the have-nots is going to continue to increase.
It would be easy to point the finger at the provincialgovernment, which is exactly what the Conservatives and Liberals are going to do as we move closer to an election. While the NDP can’t shoulder all the blame for the increased cost of living it must bear some of the responsibility and must take some action in those areas it can control to ease the financial burden on those who are barely treading water above the poverty line. That includes going to bat for Nova Scotians when it comes to what some may construe as corporate greed among utilities and big oil – firms that are more concerned with the return on investment than whether not John or Jane Doe can fuel their car, heat their home or feed their family.