With the recent agreement from the NDP to keep the Liberal minority government in power until 2025, the Conservatives say today’s budget will be influenced by Canada’s most left-wing party in the House of Commons.
“What we fear is that today’s NDP-Liberal budget will be neither reasonable nor responsible. The days of moderate Liberal budgets are over,” said Conservative interim leader Candice Bergen in a pre-budget press conference in Ottawa on April 7.
Bergen said the budget “will be one of big NDP spending” and that “it will be an NDP budget, not a Liberal one.”
The Liberals and NDP share similar policy views on a host of issues, but the NDP obtained assurances that the government would create national pharma care and dental care plans when crafting their deal to keep the Liberals in power.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is scheduled to table the budget in the House of Commons later this afternoon. It comes amid the rapidly increasing cost of living for Canadians—whether it be food and gas or the exploding cost of housing—as the rate of inflation rises to its highest level in decades.
On housing affordability, which the Liberals are expected to address in the budget, Bergen said the solution is to increase supply by removing red tape.
“There are also issues around limiting foreign ownership,” she said.
The Conservatives had suggested an amendment to the Underused Housing Tax Act contained in the government’s Bill C-8 to ban foreign buyers for two years in a meeting of the finance committee on Feb. 28, but it was voted down by Liberal and Bloc MPs.
That committee has heard from many experts and stakeholders on the housing crisis in recent weeks.
The causes have been identified as a historic and systemic lack of supply, high immigration, and a loose monetary policy which increased the money supply, kept interest rates low, and hence reduced the cost of borrowing. Investors have also had an impact, with the government’s pandemic stimulus being used to buy real estate.
Bergen was asked about the expected tax hike on corporations who’ve done well during the pandemic, like Canada’s “big six” banks.
“We’ve said that we want to see a budget that has a plan for long-term growth and Conservatives believe that if you increase taxes, you harm the economy. So no, we don’t believe this is the time to increase taxes on anyone or any sector,” she answered.