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 6:00 p.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.

 

Just Posted

Fat Tire Girls

Tough north-island duo braves river crossings and storm winds on cycling trek from Tlell to Tow Hill

Time is right for War of the Blink

New Haida manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas tells a war story that ends in the blink of an eye

Masset Magic: A Christmas Classic to remember

By Jana McLeod Here I am, a full hour before the column… Continue reading

Protest stops logging near Tlaa Gaa Aawtlaas

After a blockade organized by Old Massett Village Council, local loggers agreed… Continue reading

Queen Charlotte police seeking man wanted for assault

Queen Charlotte RCMP are asking for help finding a man wanted for… Continue reading

B.C. boy denied $19,000-per-month drug to ease ‘crippling pain’ for 3rd time

Sooke mom Jillian Lanthier says son Landen Alexa has been forgotten about by Premier John Horgan

Senior randomly stabbed in B.C. mall food court

Woman arrested after victim, 71, suffers serious injuries

B.C. Liberal hopefuls begin final leadership push

Five MLAs, one outsider pitch policies to party members

UPDATED: ‘Young, innocent’ teen hit during Vancouver shootout dies

15-year-old Coquitlam boy was in a car driving by the scene

Ontario man charged with selling Canadian’s usernames and passwords

Ontario man ran site that peddled billions of pieces of personal data: RCMP

Video: B.C. documentary features Okanagan ice climbing

First documentary for Penticton filmmaker captures elusive Okanagan ice climbing

David Emerson quits lumber talks as legal action begins

Former federal minister served as B.C. softwood trade point man

Singer of the Cranberries dead at 46

Her publicist says Dolores O’Riordan died suddenly Monday in London. The cause of death wasn’t immediately available.

Toronto police say young girl made up story about hijab cutting

The investigation has been closed after 11-year-old girl claimed her hijab was cut by a scissors-wielding man

Most Read