Finance Minister Joe Oliver has tabled a budget (it’s online here) that’s not only balanced, it includes a modest surplus of 1.4 billion dollars.
But, to do it the federal government is dipping into a contingency fund. The first time that’s been done since 2007. It’s largely to compensate for lower oil revenue.
There’s not much new infrastructure spending.
The New Building Canada Fund and the Federal Gas Tax Fund will continue.
There is a $750 million public transit fund, which will rise to $1 billion a year after the first two years.
But it comes with a catch:
Some of the other highlights:
Tax Free Savings Account limits are being raised to $10,000.
Minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds for people over 71 are being lowered.
The government is also spending more on defense and security.
$360 million for the mission against ISIS, along with annual budget increases of 3 per cent for the Department of National Defence.
There’s $18 million for anti terrorism efforts in general, and $94.4 million over the next five years for cyber security measures.
The government also says it will spend $30.8 million over five years to enhance the safety of marine transportation in the Arctic and strengthen marine incident prevention, preparedness and response in other coastal waters.