Mar 28, 2023
By Christine Ross
The Trudeau government’s budget calls for nearly $60-billion dollars of new spending over five-years as part of a spending plan with three main areas of focus: cost of living, healthcare and the clean economy transition.
To help pay for it , Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland promises to find $15-billion in savings within the public service by scaling back government travel, its use of outside consultants and a review of department spending.
The government is also introducing a range of tax measures including ones aimed at wealthier Canadians and corporations that together would increase revenues by close to $12-billion.
The key highlights:
“By the end of this year, we will begin rolling out a dental care plan that will eventually cover up to 9 million uninsured Canadians,” said Finance Minister Freeland.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is happy with what he heard.
“Yes, we’ll be supporting the budget, we’re going to support expansion of the dental care, we’re going to be supporting giving people back some money in their pockets, helping them save money.”
CARP’s Chief Policy Officer and Chief Operating Officer Bill Van Gorder says this coverage is limiting because it’s only for only for uninsured Canadians.
“What’s more interesting to CARP is expanding the access to dental care because one of the biggest problems we have in the country is people who are in long term care and other seniors facilities don’t have access to dental care,” said Van Gorder. “So hopefully expanding the access will do that for both the older Canadians who live in rural areas and for those who live in facilities where they can’t easily get dental care.”
The confidence-and-supply agreement between the Liberals and NDP stipulates that dental care must be expanded to those who are under the age of 18, seniors or people with disabilities in low-income households by the end of this year.
Also in the budget, $2.5-billion for the so-called grocery rebate, the cost of another one-time doubling of GST rebate to help those struggling with high prices and inflation.
Meanwhile $56-million is being earmarked to address foreign interference.
The government will establish a National Counter-Foreign Interference Office amid ongoing scrutiny of allegations Beijing meddled in recent elections.
The money will also increase the RCMP’s capacity to investigate threats and proactively work with diaspora communities at risk of being targeted by foreign interference.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre thinks he’s calculated what this will cost you.
“The gross cost of all the new spending announcements in this budget, works out to $4,300 for every single family in Canada, that’s almost enough to house the Prime Minister in the hotel room for one night!”
The deficit is forecast to reach $40-billion for the coming fiscal year and projected to fall to $14-billion by 2027-28.
However, the deficit is at risk of growing if the promised savings are not found and the economy slows more than expected.
The budget downgrades previous economic forecasts to account for a shallow recession this year but economists warn a bigger downtown could weigh considerably on federal finances.
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