Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivers budget speech in the House of Commons Tuesday.

Opposition blasts Liberal borrowing, spending

Borrowing to cover tax cuts, extra EI spending and more grants for transit and other infrastructure

  • Mar. 22, 2016 8:00 a.m.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau has handed down his first budget with a massive deficit of $29.4 billion – three times what had been promised during the election campaign – as the new Liberal government embarks on a stimulus program.

The budget forecasts more than $100 billion in deficits for the next five years, contrary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election promise to balance the budget in four years. Morneau billed the budget as a plan to “revitalize the Canadian economy” and deliver a tax break to nine million taxpayers, and a more generous, tax-free child benefit.

Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said the finance ministry reported on budget day that the Liberals inherited a $4 billion surplus.

“There was still a surplus in January, and they’ve blown through that in the first 100 days,” Ambrose said. “What we’re seeing now is reckless spending without a job creation plan, and no actual plan in the budget to return to a balance.”

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair took aim at Morneau’s plan to target additional Employment Insurance coverage to areas of the country hit hard by the slump in oil and commodity prices.

“Right now there are 850,000 people who have lost their jobs who are not even eligible for EI,” Mulcair said. “The budget only takes care of 50,000 of them.”

Metro Vancouver mayors hoping for big infrastructure grants for rapid transit expansion may be disappointed that much of the future stimulus money will be back-end loaded in a second phase of grants after the next federal election.

A $370-million initial investment for Metro Vancouver transit is included and will assist TransLink in improving bus service and SkyTrain across the region.

The budget also indicates Ottawa can contribute up to 50 per cent of future capital funding, instead of the one-third from each senior government that was the practice in the past.

Big ticket items in the budget include the reduction of middle class tax rates – from 22 to 20.5 per cent for the $45,000 to $90,000 income bracket. Only part of that is offset by an increase in the tax rate for income over $200,000 from 29 to 33 per cent.

The budget also includes $8.4 billion for aboriginal communities.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read