The Liberal government put forth its spending plan on Tuesday, full of spending intended on creating growth in the Canadian economy.
The government is projecting a deficit of $29.4 billion for 2016-2017. The government broke its promise to keep the budget deficit under $10 billion. The budget is not projected to return to balance until after 2020-2021, which they promised to balance by the end of their first mandate.
The government claims the budget will create 100,000 jobs in the Canadian economy.
Highlights of the federal budget include:
- $10 billion more over two years for a new Canada child benefit, replacing both the Canada child tax benefit and the universal child care benefit
- $3.4 billion over five years to increase the guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit for single seniors, and restore the old age security eligibility age to 65 from 67
- $8.4 Billion For Aboriginal Programming
- Lifting the 2% cap on growth on First Nations education funding
- Reducing the waiting period from 2 weeks to 1 week for employment insurance
- $5.6 billion more in benefits to veterans and their families over five years
Part of the budget included the governments green infrastructure plan; it includes:
- $2.2 billion over five years in water and wastewater treatment and waste management
- $2 billion over two years for a low-carbon economy fund
- Over $1 billion over four years to support future clean technology investments
- $345.3 million over five years to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada and the National Research Council to take action to address air pollution.
The government broke its promise to reduce the small business tax rate. Its infrastructure spending plan is not as significant as they promised in the election campaign either. The Liberal party campaigned on spending $5 billion in infrastructure in the first year and $5 billion in the second year of their mandate. Budget 2016 committed $2.7 billion on green infrastructure such as water treatment plants and social infrastructure like seniors homes and public transit.
The opposition parties have criticized the budget for breaking election campaign promises. The Conservative Party criticized the government for breaking its deficit pledge, and are concerned about the over $100 billion that the government plans to add to the national debt with no plans to return to balance.
The Conservatives believe the government is under-estimating its fiscal situation in order to over-deliver before the next election (under-estimating revenues and putting aside more than $6 billion in a contingency fund).
The New Democratic Party criticized the government for not doing enough to create jobs. The point to sectors of the economy like forestry that receive no assistance in the budget. They also point out that the government is backing away from their promise to restore door-to-door mail delivery.