Media releases | January 25, 2023

EDMONTON - Today, the Bank of Canada has raised interest rates for the eighth time in less than a year as the affordability crisis deepens in Alberta. Advocacy organization Public Interest Alberta is speaking out against the policy, which will not address fuel prices and will further strain Albertans’ ability to purchase the basics.

“The central bank has raised its policy rate to 4.5 per cent — the highest since 2007,” said Bradley Lafortune, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “Costs for essentials like housing, food, and utilities are already sky-high. Twisting the screws with even higher interest rates is going to mean even more hardship for most Albertan families.”

“We know that wages have been basically stagnant for years,” added Lafortune. “How much more pressure can Albertans take?” 

Canadian Economist Armine Yalnizyan has pointed out that our economic conditions are similar to the post-war era: labour and supply shortages alongside staggering corporate profits. She points out that this situation was not solved with increases to the cost of borrowing, but rather through taxes on excess wealth and corporate profits. 

“We need to see policy measures that address soaring inequality, wealth hoarding, and tax evasion if we’re going to help everyday Canadians and Albertans,” said Lafortune. 

Lafortune stressed the way that the UCP has failed Albertans throughout this economic crisis. 

“Provincially, the UCP has taken a bad situation in Alberta and made it even worse,” said Lafortune. “They have cut healthcare, education and social services, privatized assets like housing and land and hurt the most vulnerable Albertans by deindexing income supports.”

“The UCP approach of cuts, chaos and privatization is no surprise,” said Laforune. “For the past four years, Albertans have had the misfortune of being governed by a party hell-bent on putting the needs of wealthy shareholders and CEOs above the people of this province.” 

“Albertans deserve real action on the affordability crisis,” said Lafortune. “The combination of another interest rate hike and inaction on real affordability measures is only going to further hurt Albertans.”