Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former parliamentary secretary is criticizing the government and the Bank of Canada over monetary policy.
Dean Del Mastro says Harper, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz have encouraged a devaluation of the dollar.
Del Mastro told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics that the dipping dollar means people in his Peterborough riding — including many seniors on fixed incomes — are saddled with higher prices on goods.
Del Mastro was one of the most fiercely partisan Conservatives in the caucus and was a vocal defender of the government in the House of Commons. But last year he was charged under the Elections Act accused of improper election spending and resigned from the Conservative caucus. Del Mastro has said he has done nothing wrong.
On Power & Politics Monday, he praised the economic leadership of Flaherty and Harper but said comments praising the positive effects of the lower loonie have devalued the dollar and had a harmful affect on consumers.
“When you drive down the value of the Canadian dollar, or when it drops, it may help some areas of sectoral weakness like manufacturing, but it can hurt some other people too — and you have to think about this,” he told host Evan Solomon.
Del Mastro told Peterborough radio station CKRU over the weekend that a devalued dollar means higher costs for Canadians. "The effect of the prime minister, the finance minister, and the governor of the Bank of Canada coming out and attacking the Canadian dollar was to reduce its value by about five per cent over the last two weeks," Del Mastro told the radio station in an interview.
"That means the price of goods everyone has to buy...these things will, over time, go up in price."
The dollar closed out last week at 90.31 cents (U.S.).
The central bank said last week that despite depreciating in recent months, the Canadian dollar remains strong and will continue to pose "competitiveness challenges for Canada's non-commodity exports."
It was seen by some experts as a strong statement that suggested the dollar remains overvalued and further depreciation is welcome.
Flaherty has also noted a weak dollar can spur economic growth by boosting exports, a comment that drew criticism from the Liberals, who expressed similar concerns to those of Del Mastro.