The first budget from the Trudeau government touches on key measures the Liberals campaigned on during the federal election, with much of the spending spread out over longer periods than promised, and deficits with no firm end date in sight.
The fiscal plan includes increased spending on everything from infrastructure and Indigenous communities to employment insurance and green technology.
The Liberals project a budget deficit in 2016-17 of 29.4-billion dollars _ almost triple what they promised during the campaign _ dropping back only slightly to 29-billion the following year.
Back-dated spending and an inherited shortfall will also give the government a projected deficit of 5.4-billion dollars in the current fiscal year.
The Liberals say the most optimistic forecasts see a potential to balance the books again by 2020, but an average of economist predictions leaves the government with a 14.1-billion dollar shortfall five years from now.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the budget begins to “restore hope for the middle class” and revitalize the sluggish economy.
$10 billion more over two years for a new Canada child benefit, absorbing and replacing both the Canada child tax benefit and the universal child care benefit. Targeted to low and middle-income families, the government says the new benefit provides an average increase of nearly $2,300 in 2016-17.
_ $2.5 billion over two years on a suite of changes to employment insurance, including reducing the required work experience for new entrants and re-entrants; halving the two-week waiting period; extending a pilot project to allow claimants to work while collecting benefits; simplifying job-search requirements; and extending the benefit eligibility window in specific regions with a higher unemployment rate.
_ An end to income splitting for couples with children, the children’s fitness tax credit and the children’s arts tax credit.
_ A promised cut to the 10.5 per cent small business tax rate has been deferred indefinitely.