Pierre Poilievre is jumping into the politics of pasta disinformation.

The Conservative leader's Twitter account on Thursday posted a meme showing two plates of spaghetti. One is nearly overflowing, coated with tomato sauce, cheese and basil, with the caption "Before Trudeau." The other plate is sparse — fewer noodles, no sauce — with the caption "Now."

In a short text above the image, Poilievre takes aim at inflation, suggesting "Trudeau's Canada" is "costing more" and "getting less." The meme is a clear jab at the federal government that aims to draw a link between Liberal policies, soaring inflation and food security.

Problem is, the meme is inaccurate. While food prices have soared by about 10 per cent this year, their eye-watering rise has largely been driven by forces outside any Canadian government's control.

"Canada is certainly not unique," said University of British Columbia agricultural economist James Vercammen. "It's a global phenomenon, and what's driving inflation here is driving inflation in other places. [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau doesn't have anything in particular to do [with] it."

The higher cost of food has been partly driven by the war in Ukraine, which has impacted the price of fossil fuels and staple foods like oilseeds and wheat. Higher energy costs have reverberated throughout the supply chain, making it more expensive for companies to do everything from shipping their products to producing glass food containers.

Food is particularly sensitive to inflation, and governments have relatively few tools to deal with high costs, he explained. Offering programs that try to offset the higher cost of food with direct subsidies or other types of savings, like funding to reduce child-care costs for families, is one of the methods governments can help people afford food.

The pandemic-era income subsidies many countries — including Canada — implemented to help people whose livelihoods were impacted by public health restrictions have also contributed to overall inflation, he said. The measures put "cash in people's pockets," driving up demand that stressed an already fragile supply chain.

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre is now jumping into the politics of pasta disinformation. #Inflation #Politics

That pressure, in turn, drove up inflation, though he said rising interest rates have since started pushing it down. Canada's inflation rate has declined in recent months since reaching a high of 8.1 per cent in June, according to Statistics Canada.

Poilievre's tweet correlated these rising costs and the Trudeau government's tenure. The approach "skew(s) the facts in a way that causes doubts in people's minds," Vercammen said. Even if the Conservative leader knows what he's saying is untrue, the emotional impact that comes from memes like the pasta post lets him "get some (political) mileage out of it."

It appears few have fallen for Poilievre's spin. Replies to the tweet crucify the correlation with everything from a focus on grocery chain profits to data on the causes of inflation. Even Poilievre's meal was attacked, with one self-described Italian user claiming to be "offended" by the choice.

The Conservative leader did not return a request for comment by deadline. At the time of publication, the tweet had been retweeted over 1,500 times and received more than 8,400 likes. Saucy or not, pasta disinformation was trending in Canadian politics.

"That's the kind of game he plays," said Vercammen.

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For more accurate information (admittedly, America-centric, but I think the basic economics are similar) look at analyses by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research:
https://cepr.net/blog/dean-bakers-beat-the-press/ , which one journalist committed to a Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/arindube/status/1595606927303925760

Baker told Salon.com:
I would say that the WaPo and NYT, along with most of the rest of the media, decided that the story of the economy was that inflation was hurting people, especially lower income people. They pushed this line endlessly, ignoring large amounts of evidence to the contrary. For example, wage growth was most rapid at the lower end of the wage distribution and outpaced inflation for the bottom 40 percent or so of the workforce.

Salon continues:
"Other facts were almost never mentioned, such as the "20 million people who refinanced their homes in the years 2020-22, saving themselves thousands in interest costs each year," along with "an increase of roughly 10 million people working from home" who both had more personal time with no commute and "saved thousand of dollars a year in commuting costs and other expenses associated with going to an office."

"In short," Baker concluded, "the media decided that we had a terrible economy, and they were not going to let the data get in the way."

...it's unfortunate, I think, that CNO concentrates so tightly on environmental stories, and about effects of racism, when class-based stories like this are not being well covered. I ran across the "lower-class wages actually rose faster than inflation" story in The Guardian about four months ago, lost it, and couldn't find another story like it...nobody's covering wage increases, and how concentrated they are down at the lowest wage levels.

I agree with the last paragraph especially. CNO needs to focus more on economy and politics. The Environment is important but if you think PMJT is not doing enough on the environment file, imagine if PP gets hold of the levers of power. Also imagine the suffering that the Conservatives will bring if they gain full control.

Ummmm ... people with full-time jobs aren't anywhere near the lowest income individuals.
Consider pensioners, people with disabilities on provincial income programs, people on welfare, people without jobs ... not to mention students trying to get by on student loans without middle-class-income parents to help out,
All of which begs the issue of inflated (unjustified) profits of, say, grocery chains.
The cost of Ontario-grown leeks just didn't jump 400% over one year ... and besides, there's no reason at all that profit needs to be a percentage of what's taken at the till. Volume in business means a $$ amount of sales, whereas to shoppers, it's measured in pounds and pieces.
There's just no way that causing job losses is going to fix the inflation we've got: and that's what Bank of Canada is looking for: lower wages, to reduce "labor competitiveness."
Meanwhile, the banks are laughing all the way to their executive bonuses, and shareholders' joy.
None of which isn't bad for people living at the bottom of the food chain.
Governments could have imposed caps to modify the effects of commodities markets, especially for domestic industries. It never did cost Canadian gasoline from Canadian oil more to produce: they were just invoking some fancy schmancy excuse based on some idea they lose "opportunities" in foreign markets, that have to be paid for by the people who've sustained them over many, many decades.

P.P. gonna push pasta propaganda.
Power-hungry performative professional politician's are prone to petulance.

Ya know, Justin Trudeau fairly often says somewhat disingenuous things. And often he says things that just don't mean much of anything. But he's rarely nasty, and he's more likely to leave out inconvenient truths than to flat out lie (sometimes on climate change he'll do that).

When has Pierre Poilievre ever opened his mouth to say anything that wasn't nasty, aggressive, mean-spirited, and a complete lie? It goes beyond "that kind of thing can be politically useful given his situation"--lots of kinds of statements can be politically useful. But whenever the politics of the moment are such that the only politically workable thing to do would be to say something positive and constructive . . . Poilievre just shuts up and sits it out. He just can't seem to do it. It says something about a person when their political approach is always drawn to the vicious.

Poor guy . . . Christmas is coming. I can't imagine how hard it must be for him to do the obligatory Christmas wishes thing . . . ("Hope all of my supporters (and nobody else) are, what's that word, happy! This Christmas season". "Pierre, you have to say more than that!" "I don't get this stuff! Why do I even--fine! . . . um, everyone should, uh, come together in, um, kindness, yeah that's it, and, uh, fellowship I guess, and . . . do I REALLY have to do this? . . . um, CHERISH the Christmas season together . . . OK, I'm out. Get the damn speechwriter, I can't do this!")

For an excellent alternative view to the Bank of Canada's orthodoxy on fighting inflation, see Jim Stanford's paper here: .