Conservative finance critic says coronavirus programs amount to ‘freakonomics’

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Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre took aim at the Liberals’ coronavirus stimulus programs on Sunday, saying that while his party supports compensating Canadians amid the pandemic, the measures are not working as intended.

3:40Coronavirus outbreak: Conservative MP says reopening of economies up to provinces, feds must provide supplies to help

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Coronavirus outbreak: Conservative MP says reopening of economies up to provinces, feds must provide supplies to help

Initiatives such as commercial rent relief and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) discourage people from working — or businesses keeping their doors open — in order to meet eligibility requirements that are too strict, he said.

“These massive programs will be like a gigantic experiment in freakonomics because in many cases they are having the opposite of their intended effect,” he told reporters.

CERB, which pays out $2,000 a month to those who’ve lost their jobs, allows recipients to earn up to $1,000 per month under eligibility criteria that was expanded earlier this month.

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The government’s business loan program — which Poilievre also criticized for shutting out some business owners — is another area where the Liberals have recently expanded eligibility criteria.

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