With the March 28, 2023 delivery of the federal Liberal budget, I am reminded of the time when dinosaurs still roamed the planet, the time when Trudeau had a minority government. – no not Trudeau Junior but his father Trudeau Senior.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau was re-elected to his second term on October 30, 1972, but with only a minority government. Gone were the days of Trudeaumania which had enabled him to win a convincing majority in 1968.
In later years, Trudeau Senior unsurprisingly indicated that that his most enjoyable term had been when he was in a minority position. He explained that working with the federal NDP gave him the ability within cabinet meetings to push his caucus in a more progressive direction.
Those familiar with the Liberal Party of Canada tell us that, very loosely speaking, it has two wings – a corporate wing and a progressive wing. These two wings are in a constant low-level tug of war.
So back to the March 2023 budget. The leader of the federal NDP, Jagmeet Singh, deserves a great deal of the credit for many of the progressive initiatives it contained:
- Dental Care for Canadians: The budget proposes to provide $13 billion over five years, beginning in 2023-24, and $4.4 billion ongoing to implement the new Canadian Dental Care Plan. To quote the budget, “The plan will provide dental coverage for uninsured Canadians with annual family income of less than $90,000, with no co-pays for those with family incomes under $70,000…… The fund will complement the Canadian Dental Care Plan by investing in targeted measures to address oral health gaps among vulnerable populations and reduce barriers to accessing care, including in rural and remote communities.”
- Grocery Rebate: This is a one-time inflation relief payment that will be rolled out through the GST/HST rebate system. No specific date has yet been announced for the payment. This rebate is targeted to low-to-medium income Canadians, and will provide payments up to $467 for couples with two children, up to $234 for single individuals, and an average of $225 for seniors. To qualify, it will only be necessary to file your taxes.
- Making Life More Affordable: Other progressive targeted measures include an enhanced Canada Workers Benefit, a tax-free payment of $500 to help low-income Canadians struggling with rent, a ten percent increase in Old Age Security payments for seniors who are 75 and older, and a commitment of $21.5 million towards the development of a Canadian Disability Benefit.
Canadians are almost always better served by minority governments and this minority government is no exception.
Hats off to Jagmeet!
Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]
Latest daily total (Apr 14, 2023): 422.97ppm
One year ago (Apr 14, 2022): 420.43ppm
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