Avocado toast, lattes, Disney+: These are just some of the things Canadians have been told to cut back on if they want fiscal stability in their households.
Recently, Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland caused an uproar when she said her family was fighting inflation by cutting their Disney+ subscription.
“It’s only $13.99 a month that we’re saving, but every little bit helps,” Freeland said.
Insert giant cartoon foot into mouth.
First, it’s troubling to know that Freeland is paying monthly for Disney+ instead of the cheaper annual rate, since she’s in charge of the country’s budget. Second, cutting Disney+ amounts to an annual savings of $167.88, which wouldn’t even cover a family’s natural gas bill in one month.
Inflation weighs on us all and perhaps you’ve already cut back on monthly expenses or made other financial sacrifices to keep the bills paid and your mouth full. Freeland has since backtracked on his flippant remark, admitting his privilege and the hefty salary that comes with it, but it shows how out of touch some elected officials are with the struggles of ordinary Canadians when they think canceling a TV channel subscription is all that matters stands in the way. the way to go to bed on an empty stomach.
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Streaming TV subscriptions are always the first thing on the chopping block when I’ve had to make budget decisions, but at the end of the day, the scarce money doesn’t outweigh the pain of missing an episode of the wonderful Andor series (Andor is great, see Andor.) Like so many other Canadians, we’ve had to cut back on dining out, family outings and other fun activities, which also means less money going to local businesses and workers. It’s an ugly financial cycle and those who are hurt are those who are at the bottom.
Canadians need reasonableness, not advice, from the federal government
Disney doesn’t need my subscription and I don’t need to defend a multi-billion dollar American entertainment giant. However, I am tired of the condescending tone of telling younger Canadians to stop ordering Starbucks iced coffee if they want to own a house. Home ownership is such a foreign concept to many ordinary Canadians that they have given up on that dream and instead drown their sorrows in the odd frappuccino.
Perhaps instead of the condescending lectures, our political elite should consider implementing a more thorough requirement for financial literacy in our country’s schools. “If Sally orders avocado toast through Skip the Dishes three times a week, but she’s $50 short of paying her monthly rent, how many takeaway coffees does she have to give up to avoid being kicked out on the street?” It’s still confusing why I was taught how to square dance but not how to pay my income taxes.
Life is not easy; we work to pay the bills necessary to survive and to afford the little pleasures in life that make living worth living. And what happens when you cancel all your TV subscriptions and still face eviction? Switch to budget brand soup and save $0.50 a week? Better yet, skip one meal a day, which will certainly keep you from having to live in your vehicle. Just don’t expect a reduction in taxes from either government anytime soon to help keep dollars in your pocket.
The “Pull up your bootstraps” mantra only works when there’s optimism on the horizon, but for many Canadians caught alive hand-to-mouth, small moments of happiness are all they have left.