BC Premier Urges Bank of Canada to Halt Rate Hikes

BC Premier Urges Bank of Canada to Halt Rate Hikes
British Columbia Premier David Eby speaks to media following a tour of the Tselletkwe Lodge in Kamloops, B.C., on Aug. 22, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Chad Hipolito)
The Canadian Press

British Columbia Premier David Eby is calling on the Bank of Canada to halt further interest rate hikes.

In a letter Thursday to Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem, Eby urged him to consider the “human impact” of rate hikes.

The Bank of Canada is set to make an interest rate decision next Wednesday.

“While the role of the Bank of Canada is to make decisions about monetary policy, my role as premier is to stand up for people in B.C. and ensure their voices are heard as decisions are made that impact them,” said Eby’s letter.

“People in B.C. are already hurting,” he said. “In your role as governor, I urge you to consider the full human impact of rate increases and not further increase rates at this time.”

The letter said the Bank of Canada had raised rates 10 times since March last year, with the current interest rate at five percent, the highest in 22 years.

Eby also wrote Thursday to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling for a targeted approach to fighting inflation, focusing on housing and infrastructure improvements.

The letter to Trudeau said a focus on such key sectors will have long-term anti-inflationary benefits while growing the economy and improving productivity.

“There are other ways for us to achieve cost stability, but they do require diligence and co-ordination,” said the premier’s letter to Trudeau. “The time is overdue for such an effort,” said Eby. “Ahead of September’s rate decisions, I suggest a robust and targeted approach focused on the largest contributors to inflation.”

Eby’s letter to Macklem said “unnecessary” further interest rate increases pose a danger not just to homeowners looking to renew mortgages but to renters, students, seniors, families and small business people looking to pay bills, just as they start to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.