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Experts say inflation concerns looming

Macdonald Laurier Institute Senior Fellow Philip Cross warned the higher money supply could lead to higher inflation, followed by higher interest and mortgage rates.

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Economic experts warn the early warnings of rising inflation have appeared, threatening a greater burden on indebted Canadians and federal and provincial governments.

Thanks to new debts from the provinces and federal government, the Bank of Canada tripled its assets in 2020. This led to a 30 per cent increase in the money supply, which is much higher than the typical 7 per cent annual increase.

In an interview with the Western Standard, Macdonald Laurier Institute Senior Fellow Philip Cross warned the higher money supply could lead to higher inflation, followed by higher interest and mortgage rates.

“We Canadians are holding a tremendous amount of debt, especially government, but household debt is very high, too, with all this housing we’re buying. So if interest rates start rising, that’s going to be burdensome for a lot of people who are taking on a lot of debt during this crisis.”

The deficit spending of the 2008 financial crisis did not result in inflation, partly because the Bank of Canada wound down its holdings as quickly as it could. This past year, the Bank of Canada has bought at least $4 billion of federal debt every week and there’s no end in sight.

Some early signs of inflation are already evident. The price of gasoline has risen 30 cents per litre since December, and the price of lumber and some commodities have also spiked. The main reason inflation has not manifested more broadly is that pandemic restrictions have prevented spending.

“We’re conducting a huge experiment now. What’s going to happen? I mean, Canadians are sitting on literally hundreds of billions of dollars of savings. What are they going to do with that? I don’t know. Nobody knows. We’ve never been here before. We’ve never been in a pandemic,” Cross said.

 “It’s almost guaranteed that inflation is going to go up to at least 3 per cent, probably a little more, probably four, four and a half, just for technical reasons.”

Steve Ambler, with C.D. Howe Institute as holder of the David Dodge Chair in monetary policy as well as a retired professor, told the Western Standard, he also sees early signs of inflation.

“Real estate prices are one area that’s really, really picking up very quickly. In Montreal now you have all this evidence. There was a house not too far from where we’re living that went on the market, and had about 12 offers on it within 24 hours and sold a day later at $100,000 over asking price,” Ambler said.

“I think we should be prepared to see inflation a bit above 2 per cent for a while,” Ambler said.

“If I had to predict, it’s going to happen probably before 2023 – not before the end of 2021, but maybe sometime in 2022.”

Ambler believes when inflation takes hold, the Bank of Canada will face “a tough balancing act” deciding how much to let interest rates climb.

“They’re going to receive some implicit pressure – probably not explicit, but you never know – from the federal government to keep rates down to bear the costs of servicing payments on the federal government debt don’t explode.”

Inflation in the post-pandemic economy won’t be evenly spread, Ambler said.

“Certain sectors that are going to be looking at capacity constraints and excess demand move very quickly. And it’s not gonna be sort of inflation in the classic sense of an increase in prices across the board. But I think some sectors are going to see spikes in prices,” he said.

William Robson, president and C.E.O. of the C.D. Howe Institute, told the Western Standard he might pay closer attention to the Bank of Canada’s monetary aggregates than the bank itself.

“When there was a very odd thing happening with the growth rates, I asked one of the members of governing council [at the Bank of Canada] what he thought might be behind it, and he was surprised to hear of it at all. So they’ve got it in the shop window but it’s not something that they’re paying a whole lot of attention to,” Robson said.

Certain figures have caught Robson’s eye.

“The spread between ordinary and real return bonds are an indicator of inflation expectations,” Robson said.

“A year ago, it was about 0.8. Now it’s about 1.6.”

A comprehensive measure of the money supply, M2, is rising rapidly.

“Even M2 is growing very, very fast, by any standard, like double digit growth rates,” Robson said.

Robson just hopes the federal government will maintain a 2 per cent inflation target as it renews its five-year agreement with the Bank of Canada later this year.

“I’m nervous as is. If I start to hear anybody on the elected side talking about the advantages of having a more flexible or higher inflation target, then my nervousness escalates to sleepless nights,” Robson said.

Lee Harding is a Western Standard contributor based in Saskatchewan

Lee Harding is the Saskatchewan Political Columnist for the Western Standard. He is also a Research Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and is the former Saskatchewan Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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Jivraj admits planting fake stories with Press Progress, CBC

Under oath, Jivraj admitted he was a long-time informant for Press Progress, the de facto media arm of the NDP.

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Western Standard News editor Dave Naylor has spent two weeks investigating the story of Caylan Ford. Ford seemed a rising political star – intelligent, photogenic and a working mother. She was recruited by Jason Kenney to run provincial for the UCP.

Ford seemed to be on the path to stardom when she was shot down in flames by rumours and planted news stories in a NDP-linked news site.

Ford blames one man for her downfall – Kiram Javrij. 

Over the next week, Naylor will tell their story backed with court documentation and interviews.

Karim Jivraj, under testimony during a deposition, detailed just how complex his undercover harassment of UCP candidate Caylan Ford, and other women was.

Under withering questioning by Ford’s Lawyer, R.E. Harrison, Javrij admitted to planting fake stories with the NDP-linked Press Progress and the CBC.

In October 2018, Jivraj wrote a letter accusing Ford of committing “residency fraud” and claimed she was ineligible to stand as a candidate for election in the riding of Calgary Mountainview.

“He asked nine members of my constituency association board to sign the letter, but did not sign it himself,” said Ford in an exclusive interview with the Western Standard.

“Then he sent it to the media, and invited journalists to report on his allegations. Press Progress did.”

The following is a portion of the Q and A between Harrison and Jivraj.

Harrison: You say that you helped author the letter?
A: Yes.

Harrison then ask Jivraj who else on the board helped author the letter to then UCP Executive Director Janice Harrington.

Q: Now, after authoring the letter, you circulated it to the other board directors to seek their signatures?

A: Yes. I — I and others circulated it.

Read Javrij’s letter to the Mountainview board

Harrison then got Jivraj to admit he didn’t sign the letter he letter. Jivraj then detailed how he was the one who sent the letter to the NDP-linked news website, Press Progress.

Q: The October 13, 2018, article from Press Progress is entitled “UCP Constituency Association Accuses Jason Kenney’s Handpicked ‘Parachute Candidate’ of Breaking Party Rules.” Do you see that.

A: Yeah.

Q: Do you recognize this article?

A: Yes.

Q: Now, do you know who sent the October 1, 2018, letter to Press Progress?

A: I believe I did.

In November 2018, Jivraj purchased Google attack ads on searches of Ford’s name. These ads included a fabricated quotation, which Jivraj attributed to Ford. Harrison asked Jivraj who bought them.

A: I’m not sure if “purchase” is the right word. I received a free $50 budget on Google Ads, and so that was used for this. So there was no monetary investment.”

Q: Okay. So these ads were posted by you?

A: Yes.

In November 2018, Jivraj used a pseudonymous email account to send defamatory statements about Ford to 1,300 of her electors. The emails included another fabricated quotation which he attributed to Ford.

Q: You see the last attack ad has a quote: “My family has lived in southwest Calgary for generations. I could never live in north Calgary. Anywhere above the Bow is basically a suburb.” Do you see that quotation?

A: Yes

Q: Did you create that quotation?

A: I don’t believe so.

Q: Where did you get that quotation from?

A: I’m not sure. I think Ms. Ford may have said something along those lines when I was looking for a place in Calgary.

Q: You’re aware that Ms. Ford has lived in the neighbourhood of Sunnyside?

A: I became aware of that afterward.

Q: And why did these attack — why did these ads link to Press Progress?

A : That’s a good question. I don’t know.

Under oath, Jivraj admitted he was a long-time informant for Press Progress, the de facto media arm for the NDP.

Q: Did you email or call PressProgress to disclose this conversation?

A: I can’t recall. I don’t — I can’t recall if I reached out directly to Press Progress. I think the — what initiated the cycle of events was my meeting, my physical meeting at (Calgary coffee shop) Vendome.

Q: What I want to know is whether you phoned Press Progress to provide them with the contents of the conversation or provide them information

A: I can’t recall.

Q: Why did Press Progress call you out of the blue as you’ve insinuated.

Jivraj admits he has been in contact with Press Progress previously to discuss provincial and federal politics.

Q: OK, How many times would you have spoken with Press Progress previously to their phone call to you?

A: Again, I don’t want to guess, but several, several times.

Jivraj admits he has been in contact with Press progress since 2015. Ford herself then jumps into the questioning, asking Jivraj about his dealings with the CBC.

CBC Logo (photo credit CBC)

Ford: Did you disclose additional private messages between yourself and me to the CBC?

A: Yes

Ford: Have you created any other pseudonymous Twitter accounts?

A: Yeah. In my various political activities, yes, I’ve created many.

Ford is suing Jivraj, Press Progress and several media outlets for a total of $7 million.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

The saga of Karim Jivraj’s campaign against Ford and other conservative women is just too incredible to be told in a single feature article.

That’s why the Western Standard decided to break it down into a series, which will dive into several of the actions taken by Jivraj. It’s a story we did not believe until we obtained the evidence.

COMING NEXT: Tap on back leads to assault allegations from Rivraj against Ford

PREVIOUSLY: 
How a Conservative candidate worked with the NDP to bring down star UCP candidate
Tory candidate admits using a fake Twitter account to spread false sexual rumours
Jivraj admits to undercover online campaigns against women

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EXCLUSIVE: UCP MLA says Shandro approved barricading GraceLife Church

But a spokesman for Shandro denied any involvement by the minister.

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Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro personally approved the AHS-RCMP raid and barricading of the Grace Life Church according to a UCP MLA that spoke to the Western Standard on condition of anonymity.

RCMP and Alberta Health Services conducted a Wednesday dawn raid on the church in Spruce Grove, Alberta after it repeatedly refused to comply to lockdown and capacity orders from the government.

“Shandro directly signed off on the raid,” said the MLA.

The MLA said the public backlash against the raid has rocked the government, and they are considering removing the wall before an expected large service is held there Sunday.

But a spokesman for Shandro denied any involvement by the minister.

“Minister Shandro did not direct or sign off this action. The law gives AHS independent authority to carry out such an action. The Minister is not required to sign off on enforcement activity such as seen at GraceLife, nor did he sign off. “

The move against the church came the day after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney threw the province back into a COVID-19 lockdown for the third time, discarding the policy of phased reopening based on measurable targets.

The move infuriated even members of his own caucus, with 17 UCP MLAs signing a public letter denouncing Kenney.

Another UCP MLA told the Western Standard they are “100% certain” Kenney will be the subject of an early party leadership review.

“Caucus is in total chaos,” said the MLA, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.

A new Angus Reid poll this week showed a whopping 75% of Albertans oppose Kenney’s handling of the pandemic, including those that believe he has gone too far in restrictions, and those who believe that he hasn’t gone far enough.

Former federal Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day the Alberta government for barricading the GraceLife Church, saying it would bring “gleeful howls” from dictators around the world.

The church’s pastor, James Coates recently spent 35 days in the Edmonton Remand Centre after refused to agree to stop preaching as a condition of his bail.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Kenney urges GraceLife protesters to wear masks

“I call on those who believe in the sanctity of life, to act accordingly,” he said.

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Premier Jason Kenney is warning anyone planning to take part in Spruce Grove’s GraceLife Church protest Sunday to practice COVID-Alberta Health Services (AHS) safety protocols.

Kenney said it would be “tragic” if the protest “lead to a super-spreader event.”

On Tuesday the AHS, aided by the RCMP, raided the GraceLife Church and built a wall around it.

People outraged by the move are planning to protest outside the barricades on Sunday and perhaps even hold a service.

The church’s pastor, James Coates was jailed for more than a month for repeatedly holding packed Sunday services that exceeded the COVID-19 limit.

Asked at a Saturday press conference what he’d say to the protesters, Kenney replied: “I would tell them to take COVID seriously…to keep people safe.”

“I call on those who believe in the sanctity of life, to act accordingly,” he said.”If people are going to gather, please do social distancing and wear a mask.”

Kenney claimed Alberta had the most freedom of religion in the entire country, noting the province hasn’t closed places of worship like they’ve done in other jurisdictions.

“Thank you to those faith communities (who have followed the law) for respecting the sanctity of life.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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