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The Inflation Iceberg: What Lies Below the Water?

April 21st, 2023 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, what is this strange beast called inflation and how can we wrap our minds around it?

As I write this post, 155,000 members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada are on strike. A deal does not seem to be likely in the short term. Trudeau is too busy patting himself on the back for the deal with Umicore to build a new battery materials facility in the province.

The primary issue at stake is a pay increase that keeps up with inflation. (I will circle back to that nebulous term.) PSAC has drawn a line in the sand. The federal government says: Sorry, no can do. 3% annually is the best we can do. There does not appear to be a middle ground.

How each of us reacts a strike of this nature depends heavily on how directly we are impacted. It is a given that income tax refunds will be delayed. But the federal government refuses to extend the tax filing deadline. They can be late delivering on their obligations but not the rest of us. Can you say double standard?

In my case, having just retired, the strike potentially affects my first Old Age Security (OAS) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payments. Revenue Canada is already running late. I have received confirmation of the amount of my OAS. No word yet on the exact amount of my CPP. It has been in the processing queue for over six months. The strike may delay it further.

The process of applying for my OAS and CPP was exasperating in itself. Security questions up the wazoo and multiple codes I had to wait to receive by e-mail, text or in one case snail mail. Yes, snail mail. Each code had to arrive before I could proceed to the next step. I worked through my full repertoire of four letter words several times as I slogged through the process.

I am personally not in any hardship position where delays in my benefit payments are concerned. I have ample savings and my company pension has already kicked in. My biggest concern is having to get on the phone and wait on hold for hours, once the strike ends, to inquire about the status of my CPP payment.

There are retired people who are living from one benefit cheque to the next with nothing to spare. There are people on various forms of social assistance for whom their monthly benefit cheque does not come close to a livable figure at the best of times. From my perspective, Revenue Canada should pay them first. I can wait.

The background issue in this matter is the runaway beast called inflation which few of us really understand. In simple terms, it is the rate at which prices for goods and services rise and/or the rate of which purchasing power drops. But I am certain that this explanation is really just the tiny part of the economic iceberg that is above water.

I cannot help but wonder if inflation is in fact an artificial construct created at some point along the way which the powers that be can blow up or deflate like a balloon as they see fit and as it benefits them. Yes, I know that sounds paranoid and reeks of conspiracy theory. I would be happy to be disavowed of this suspicion. Feel free to educate me on the matter.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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