Federal government to release budget on April 7

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Budget expected to account for new uncertainties following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The federal government will table its next annual budget on Thursday, April 7 at 4 p.m. ET.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland confirmed the budget’s release date on Tuesday during question period.

“Our government was re-elected on a commitment to grow our economy, make life more affordable and to continue building a Canada where nobody gets left behind,” Freeland told the House of Commons.

“That is exactly what we are doing. And that is what we are going to continue to do in the budget that I will present to this House.”

Government sources have told CBC News that the budget will be a “back to basics” document after two years of extraordinary government spending in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new budget is expected to address new economic and geopolitical uncertainties following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Defence Minister Anita Anand indicated earlier this month that she would present spending options to cabinet that would boost Canada’s defence budget.

NATO has called for all members to spend at least two per cent of GDP on defence. Canada currently spends about 1.4 per cent of its GDP on defence, which is among the lowest figures in NATO.

The budget will also be the first significant government document unveiled since the announcement of a Liberal-NDP “supply-and-confidence” agreement that is poised to keep the minority government in place until at least 2025.

The agreement includes commitments to several new federal initiatives, including a national dental care program for low-income Canadians and steps toward the creation of a national pharmacare program.

Ottawa also has now reached $10-per-day child care funding agreements with all provinces and territories — another large-scale project that is expected to come with a significant price tag.

Ongoing work to achieve Canada’s emission reduction targets should also be a major element in the next budget. The government released on Tuesday an updated plan to slash emissions by 2030, including $9.1 billion in new spending.

Ed Fast, the Conservative finance critic, predicted the government will use the budget to continue what he called its “free-spending ways.”

“This budget has to have a plan to address, firstly, inflation. It has to address the issue of the long term sustainability of our massive debt that we’ve accumulated over time and it needs to address the issue of returning our budget back to balance,” he told reporters.

The government announced in last year’s budget that the national deficit had ballooned to $354.2 billion due in large part to expenses related to health care and social services during the pandemic.

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