Finance minister outlines budget priorities as pre-budget week kicks off

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Expect a spending boost for skills training and green infrastructure projects and targeted relief for people impacted significantly by inflation when the federal budget is presented Mar. 28, but Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says new spending will be narrowly targeted.

“For those Canadians who feel the bite of rising prices the most acutely, for our most vulnerable friends and neighbours, our government will deliver additional targeted inflation relief,” Freeland said in Oshawa on Monday.

“The truth is we can’t fully compensate every single Canadian for all of the effects of inflation or for elevated interest rates. To do so would only make inflation worse and force rates higher for longer.”

Freeland said next week’s budget is designed to avoid making inflation worse while still making significant investments in health care and in building “Canada’s clean economy.”

Freeland budget“By exercising fiscal restraint, and by not pouring fuel on the fire of inflation today, we will ensure we can responsibly invest in Canadians and in a Canadian economy for years to come,” she said.

Speaking to a group of electrician students at a union training centre in Oshawa, Freeland emphasized the federal government will continue to invest in the transition to a clean economy.

Her signal of tighter spending comes after the government has faced criticism for helping fuel inflation with overly generous COVID-19 support and funding.

She says the government will still provide targeted relief for those most affected by rising prices, but that wider efforts to support Canadians would only make inflation worse.

Freeland said more spending on health care, childcare, housing and skills training will also be coming as they are economic polices as well as social ones.

“Investments in our economic capacity are fiscally responsible, and failure to make the necessary investments in our economic capacity and in our economic future, that is irresponsible. And that is reckless.”



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