Debate on the federal budget began Tuesday morning in the House of Commons, with the opposition parties discussing the document and proposing amendments.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole indicated earlier that his party would propose changes to the government’s plan for economic recovery, and said that the budget was an “out-of-control debt plan without any real stimulus.” Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet is instead focusing on health care, and the fact that the budget doesn’t include increased healthcare transfers to provinces.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh also commented on the budget in the House of Commons on Tuesday morning, saying that his party is supportive of a national child-care plan, but that he doesn’t trust the Liberal government to carry out the child-care program that is a major feature of the document.
“They don’t actually follow through,” he said in the House of Commons, citing the government’s prior promise for a national pharmacare plan that has yet to happen. “The problem with those positive things in this budget is the Liberal government’s track record.”
A vote on budget amendments will happen later this week. However, since Mr. Singh already said his party won’t trigger an election while the country is still dealing with the pandemic, the government is unlikely to fall over the budget.
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Monday’s federal budget included more spending for pandemic relief, child care, and also a projected deficit of $354-billion. The Globe and Mail’s Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife and deputy bureau chief Bill Curry break down the spending.
The federal budget also extended the government’s pandemic support programs for business and income until the end of September. This timeline matches up with the completion of Canada’s vaccination plan, which aims to have Canadians vaccinated by the end of the summer.
New spending for Indigenous peoples and communities was also included in Monday’s budget. Over the next five years, $18-billion has been earmarked to improve the quality of life for those living in Indigenous communities.
British Columbia’s Finance Minister, Selina Robinson, will table the province’s budget on Tuesday. B.C.’s last budget was in February 2020, just as COVID-19 cases were beginning to appear in the province. This budget is expected to focus on postpandemic economic recovery.
In a ruling Tuesday morning on Bill 21, the Quebec Superior Court ruled that the Quebec government can restrict which religions symbols are worn by government employees, such as teachers and police officers. However, English schools are exempt, because it would violate minority language education rights.
The NDP has won a seat in the Yukon election by drawing lots, after a judicial recount in a riding resulted in a second tie between the Liberals and NDP. This means that the Liberals and Yukon parties are still tied with eight seats each in the legislature, and the Liberals plan to form a minority government.
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on why the federal budget tells us what the Liberals care about, but also what they don’t: “The Liberals used to say that it was possible to reduce carbon emissions while also encouraging oil and gas production. That is a circle they appear no longer willing to square.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on why this budget will be the backbone of the Liberal election platform: “It was built like a dare to the opposition: we dare you to say you will take it away. It had money for small business, landmark funding for a child-care plan that will be popular with young mothers, and benefits or breaks for students, seniors and a million low-income workers.”
Terence Corcoran (National Post) on why the Liberal budget marks a major shift toward centralized state planning: “The overall premise behind the Liberal government’s economic policy and budget is that the Canadian economy needs restructuring — perestroika in Russian — reorganizing and renewal around new social infrastructures — child care and minimum wage laws and a new carbon-free physical infrastructure.”
Merran Smith and Sarah Petrevan (contributors to CBC News Opinion) on why bold climate targets matter as Canada gears up for U.S. summit, but real action matters more: “When it comes to climate policy, although clean infrastructure investments are necessary, most emission reductions will come from a combination of carbon pricing and regulations, such as fuel, vehicle and power standards.”