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.

 

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink gets interim injunction against Unist’ot’en

The LNG pipeline company can start work Monday with enforcement approved by court.

B.C’s salmon advisory council skips Terrace

Public engagement tour excludes all non-coastal communities

Great kids doing great things for Houston

Members of the Houston Minor Hockey and the Houston Ringette canvassed the… Continue reading

Owners of mining project south of Houston allowed to drill again

New Nadina’s free miners certificate had been suspended in September

Council seeks to replace By-Mac Park’s boat launch

The boat launch is currently unusable; district has received several complaints

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

VIDEO: Craft growers will add to recreational market, cannabis producer says

Two B.C. men say their expertise in running small legal medical grow-ops a benefit to recreational market

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Risk of catching the flu increasing in B.C. this holiday season: BCCDC

Dr. Danuta Skowronski with the BC Centre for Disease Control says influenza will pick up during the holidays

Most Read