Earlier this week, Statistics Canada released their Consumer Price Index update for May 2023, and Alberta’s UCP government wasted no time in framing the data as a good news for Alberta and justify the Affordability Action Plan they announced back in December.
Take this tweet from Lethbridge–East MLA Nathan Neudorf, who was dejected from his deputy premier chair after the election:
Here, Neudorf claims not only that Alberta is fighting inflation but also that we’re leading that fight. He’s not clear on who else we’re leading, but maybe the other provinces?
As evidence, he contrasts Alberta’s change in the CPI between May 2022 and May 2023 with Canada’s change, which was 0.3 points higher.
Neudorf’s tweet was retweeted by the UCP’s main party account, as well as by Roy Dallmann, a senior policy advisor to minister of jobs, economy, and trade, and Tim Gerwing, the director of communications for the UCP Caucus.
He wasn’t the only one. Brian Jean, the newly appointed minister of energy and minerals, also got in on the fun.
Dallmann and Gerwing also retweeted this one, as did the UCP main Twitter account.
But how true is Neudorf’s claim that the UCP government is leading the fight on inflation?
Well, let’s take a look at the change in CPI between May 2022 and May 2023 for each province.
|Prince Edward Island||0.7%|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||1.7%|
Only 4 provinces saw inflation that was larger than what Alberta saw, which itself was tied with Ontario. As well, 4 provinces saw their increase in CPI drop to lower levels than Alberta.
In that regard, all four Atlantic provinces seemed to be doing a better job of leading “the fight on inflation” than Alberta was. And at the very least, Ontario was doing as well a job as Alberta.
Alberta’s inflation was 4 times as high as PEI’s and almost twice as high as that seen in Newfoundland and Labrador.
But let’s not stop there.
Here’s a look at how much inflation changed between April 2023 and May 2023.
|April 2023||May 2023||Change|
|Prince Edward Island||3.7%||0.7%||3.0|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||3.5%||1.7%||1.8|
This time, Alberta drops from tied for 5th place to alone in 6th place. All Atlantic provinces, plus Manitoba, saw larger drops in their inflation between April and May than Alberta did. Plus, two of those provinces saw drops that were at least twice as large as the one Alberta did.
Once again, the UCP government seems to have a different way of defining “lead” than I do.
And of course inflation is much lower than the 6% we saw by the end of 2022, but every province is lower than they were this past December.
Whether Alberta is doing better than we were a year ago isn’t really the point. The point is whether we’re leading the rest of Canada in this fight against inflation.
And clearly, we’re not.