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Federal Budget Falls A Little Flat

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has tabled his second federal budget.
The 304 billion dollar budget offers little in the way of new spending with most of what’s in it having already been announced.
The deficit will climb to 28 and a half billion dollars, 3 billion more than projected last fall.
Any spending there is reinforces the Liberals’ plan to emphasize policies that help the middle class and those who want to join it.
There’s some money for home care and mental health initiatives.
The budget will let parents take their Employment Insurance parental leave benefits over 18 months rather than 12. Women could start their maternity leaves 12 weeks before their due dates rather than eight weeks.
There’s a new EI caregiving benefit, which would allow an employee to take up to 15 weeks to care for an adult family member who needs significant support to recover from a critical illness or injury.
The Liberals are pouring 7 billion dollars over ten years into new child care spaces and just over 11 billion dollars over 11 years on a National Housing Strategy.
Sin taxes are going up a little, with a 53 cent increase on the cost of a carton of 200 cigarettes, a 5 cent increase on a 24 pack of beer, a 7 cent increase on a bottle of spirits and a 1 cent increase on each litre of wine.
Uber, the ride sharing service, will have to collect GST.
Gone are Canada Savings Bonds and the transit credit.
The Liberals are committing 594 million dollars for skills, innovation and jobs.
Much of the spending in the budget provides the details for categories of already announced spending, including some of the government’s planned 20 billion dollars in social infrastructure funds.
There is 4 billion dollars over 10 years for Indigenous communities for housing, water treatment, health facilities and other community infrastructure.
There are smaller amounts of money available for immigration and refugee legal aid services, a national strategy to fight gender-based violence, funding for new federally appointed judge positions to speed up access to justice and money for an employment strategy for newcomers.
The finance minister says almost 524 million dollars will be spent to prevent tax evasion and improve compliance and it’s expected that will bring in an additional 2 point 5 billion dollars over 5 years.
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