The Senate has adopted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government’s budget bill, the final step in extending COVID-19 supports through the summer and ahead of a likely election in the fall.
Bill C-30 passed the Senate 63-to-19 late Tuesday evening. Trudeau’s Liberals, who have a minority, last week pushed the bill through the House of Commons with the help of the opposition New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois.
The bill — the country’s first budget in more than two years — contained extensions to key aid programs, such as the wage subsidy to help employers pay workers and supports to help businesses pay their rent.
Two other bills — criminalizing LGBT conversion therapy and regulating programming on streaming services like Netflix — were referred back to committee, likely leaving them to be dealt with after the summer break.
The Senate added two sitting days this week to deal with a raft of bills approved by House lawmakers last week ahead of their summer break.
Critics have said the Liberals are trying to rush legislation ahead of a likely election in the fall.
Trudeau has publicly played down election talk, but sources told Reuters he was aiming for a September snap election to capitalize on Canada’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic. The hope would be to secure a majority.
Trudeau’s Liberals led the main opposition Conservatives 34 per cent to 30 per cent in a national poll released last week by Leger.