Getting the economy back on track after 18 months of COVID disruption was a key focus of a federal debate Wednesday afternoon hosted by the Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls and Fort Erie Chambers of Commerce.
Inflation and fluctuating supply costs were an area of particular concern in the online debate.
Liberal candidate Andrea Kaiser said her party is working to make the Canadian supply chain more resilient and blamed the worldwide impact of COVID-19 for decreased cost certainty.
She said strengthening the country's capacity to produce materials and products is a main focus of the Liberal recovery plan.
She pointed to her party’s fight against Trump-era sanctions on Canadian steel and aluminum as an example, saying when Donald Trump tried to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement, Liberals were able to negotiate a better deal.
Conservative party candidate Tony Baldinelli said his party would stand up to American tariffs on Canadian products such as steel.
He decried the increased rate of inflation as a result of government spending and said the country spends $400 million a day more than it takes in.
Without more stringent economic policy, inflation and cost certainty will continue to increase, he said. The Conservatives will invest in infrastructure and make more land available for business, Baldinelli said.
New Democratic Party candidate Brian Barker said investment in green technologies will help circumvent these problems.
Focusing on a greener economy will create a new sector of jobs and will buffer job loss and uncertainty in traditional industries such as steel, he said.
Barker said the inflation of housing prices needs to be addressed and that his party would be dedicated to making homes more affordable.
Debt has been the main issue with the supply chain, said People’s Party of Canada candidate Peter Taras.
Controlling spending is needed to mitigate the economic issues facing builders, he said, calling for the defunding of public media like the CBC because they are propaganda machines for the government. He also claimed the government sends billions of dollars overseas to promote abortion.