Canadian economy must support young people, says Trudeau

After going through a pandemic and an affordability crisis, young adults will be placed at the top of economic priorities, proclaimed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on the eve of the tabling of the federal budget.

Speaking before the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Ottawa on Monday, Trudeau reiterated his goal of presenting a budget on behalf of younger generations “who began their adult lives with cumulative economic crises.”

The government has already unveiled a series of investments that will be included in Tuesday’s budget, including hundreds of millions of dollars in investments aimed at renters, young parents and young people struggling with mental health issues.

Since the start of the pre-budget announcement tour, the Liberals have been hammering home the objective of “restoring generational fairness”.

“To do this, the federal government is resuming its role of investing in housing. We will build housing across the country at a rate not seen since the end of the Second World War,” promised the Prime Minister.

Ottawa has already announced that it will invest $6 billion in essential housing infrastructure, as well as $15 million in a new tenant protection fund.

These investments will not only help young people find housing and become homeowners, but also attract new talent to Canada, Mr. Trudeau argued in front of a room full of business people. “We all know of companies that find a perfect candidate, but that person can’t take the job because local housing prices are too high. This is not good for productivity. »

The opposition’s expectations

The Bloc Québécois has already announced its intention to vote against the government’s budget, denouncing for weeks “interference” in Quebec’s areas of jurisdiction.

“This cannot be acceptable to the Bloc Québécois. Respecting the jurisdictions of Quebec is our immutable position,” said Bloc House leader Alain Therrien on Monday.

The government of Quebec also firmly opposed the intentions of the Trudeau government from the start of its stripping of budgetary measures, denouncing an “invasion of Quebec’s areas of jurisdiction.”

We already know that the Trudeau government will invest $1 billion for meals in schools, promised during the 2021 federal campaign. The Quebec minister responsible for Canadian Relations, Jean-François Roberge, requested unconditional compensation, education being an exclusive field of jurisdiction of Quebec.

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre also announced that his party would not support the budget if the Liberals do not include three conditions: cutting the carbon tax for farmers, building more housing and limiting spending by following the rule ” a dollar for a dollar.”

“Common-sense conservatives will only support the budget if these three conditions are met,” wrote the leader on his social networks Monday.

The budget should, however, be adopted thanks to the New Democrats who pledged, two years ago, to support the Liberal government during confidence votes.

“We want to see a budget that reduces the cost of living for Canadians and forces big businesses to pay their fair share,” said NDP leader Jagmeet Singh at a press briefing on Monday.

Mr Singh, however, did not detail how large companies should be taxed more.

Several measures that will be included in the budget come from the agreement of support and confidence between the Liberals and the NDP, such as the national pharmacare program, the national school lunch program and the Canadian dental care plan.

New sources of income

In his speech to the Chamber of Commerce, Prime Minister Trudeau avoided commenting on a tax increase for the richest.

According to information from Radio-Canada, the federal budget will aim to seek new sources of income from the wealthiest citizens.

Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has already ruled out a tax increase for the middle class in her next budget, but she did not want to specify the fate of the wealthiest.

As part of the plan to “refocus” government spending announced in the last 2023 budget, nearly 70 ministries, agencies and state corporations were instructed to reduce their spending to achieve savings of $15.8 billion. over 5 years and $4.8 billion per year thereafter.

Federal departments will therefore have to save $10.5 billion over the next three years, including $2.3 billion next year.

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