With pandemic concerns growing amidst the strongest wave yet, Monday’s budget offered a mixed bag of measures and highlighted the government’s reticence to ask Canada’s wealthiest to contribute a little more to their country according to Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes.
That was one of the biggest take-aways from the budget that Hughes is describing as more of an election document than a budget.
“There was nothing to tap into the huge amount of money hoarded by Canada’s ultra-wealthy,” said Hughes. “New Democrats wanted a wealth tax and measures to ensure pandemic profiteers are forced to become part of the solution – we see neither.”
Hughes is worried that some budget commitments will make it seem like action is being taken when it amounts to more study and program spending in the future.
“In many ways, they continue to kick the can further down the road,” said Hughes. “It doesn’t matter if it is a throne speech or a budget, we get a lot of studies now and spend in the future.”
Hughes was referring to the plan to have the federal government become a big player in childcare within five years.
“I think this is one area where that government is listening to New Democrats and a lot of validators on,” said Hughes. “We know that an investment like this only builds a stronger and more resilient economy, so we are going to hold them to this promise and want to make sure any dollars aren’t going to for-profit childcare.”
Hughes says her reaction was based on first blush and notes there will be more learned about the budget in the days ahead.
“It’s a 700-page document and there are going to be details that will be revealed as we study it more,” said Hughes. “We waited almost two years for this budget, it’s not unreasonable to take some time unpacking it too.”
The Trudeau government is putting pandemic supports and child care at the top of the list, in its first budget in more than two years.
Federal support programs, including those covering wages and rent subsidies, will be continued into the fall.
And more than 30-billion dollars are being committed to a national child care program, which the federal government hopes to establish by the end of next year.
The federal Conservatives say the Liberals are engaged in “risky” spending, and they may vote against the budget.
But NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says it would be unsafe, and unfair, to subject Canadians to an election right now.
The minority Liberals need the support of one other party to avoid defeat and an election.