(Ottawa) Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland promises targeted new measures in her upcoming budget to be tabled on March 28 to give a financial boost to those less fortunate who are struggling to make ends meet due to the rising cost of living.
These measures will be shaped so as not to add fuel to the inflationary fire, Ms. Freeland insisted in a speech Monday in Oshawa during which she laid out the main priorities of her third budget.
Everything indicates that measures such as the doubling of the GST credit, which ends in March, will be renewed. The doubling of the GST credit was announced last fall for a period of six months. The New Democratic Party (NDP), whose minority Liberal government needs support to pass its budget, recently demanded that this measure be renewed.
This measure alone cost the federal treasury $2.5 billion and supported more than 11 million Canadians. Last fall, the Trudeau government also offered a one-time $500 supplement to the Canada Housing Assistance Benefit to help 1.8 million low-income Canadian renters.
“To help those Canadians most affected by rising prices – our most vulnerable friends and neighbors – our government will put in place additional, targeted measures to mitigate the effects of inflation,” Ms. Freeland said.
“Our goal is to provide very specific and financially responsible support. We cannot cover all the costs that every Canadian has to bear because of inflation or rising interest rates. Doing so would only make inflation worse and raise interest rates even longer. Canadians are smart, and I know they understand that. What Canadians want is for inflation to come down and interest rates to come down,” she added.
Since taking office in 2015, the Trudeau government has never delivered a balanced budget, running a record deficit of $328 billion at the height of the pandemic in 2020-21.
“We are going to exercise budgetary rigor. Rising interest rates have had the desired effect, here in Canada and around the world. The global economy has slowed down, as has the Canadian economy. As a result, government revenues are lower. […] Our ability to spend is not infinite, ”she warned, recalling the considerable financial effort of the federal government during the pandemic.
“We will adopt a fiscally responsible plan, support Canadians, strengthen public health care and build Canada’s clean economy. A clean economy that benefits workers, businesses, Indigenous communities and the environment, and makes life more affordable for Canadians.”
In her speech, Minister Freeland indicated that her next budget will include an increase in health transfers to the provinces, as provided for in the offer made to the provinces in February by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. As part of this offer, Ottawa proposed an average health transfer increase of $4.6 billion over the next decade.
The other pillar of the next budget will be a plan to rival that adopted last year by the Biden administration, which proposes colossal investments of US$370 billion over the next decade to support projects aimed at combating climate change and to accelerate the energy transition.
“Today and in the years to come, Canada can either seize the unprecedented opportunity before it or fall behind the democracies around the world that have chosen to build the clean economy of the 21st century. “said the minister.
“And being left behind means less investment in our communities and fewer jobs for an entire generation of Canadians. That’s why the plan we’ll be presenting next Tuesday provides for a significant investment in Canadians – to create good jobs, make our communities more vibrant and together usher in a new era of economic prosperity. We will build a more sustainable, secure and affordable Canadian economy,” she said.