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Liberals must now sell a budget they say will help younger Canadians catch up



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood firm on Wednesday, championing the Liberal government's latest budget as a beacon of fairness while criticizing the federal Conservatives for their refusal to endorse it. In a fervent address during his weekly caucus meeting, Trudeau extolled the virtues of the budget, which he asserts is designed to compel corporations and the affluent to shoulder more of the financial burden, thereby facilitating substantial investments in housing, education, and employment opportunities.


With an ambitious agenda, the budget outlines $53 billion in fresh expenditures over the ensuing half-decade, buttressed by an anticipated $25 billion surge in revenue from augmented economic growth and a further $19 billion from adjusted capital gains levies. This expenditure spree is paralleled by a projected $39.8 billion deficit for the current fiscal year.


In response to accusations of profligacy from Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, who decried the budget as an "orgy of spending," Trudeau staunchly defended the measures, decrying the existing economic landscape as unjust, particularly for younger Canadians grappling with soaring housing costs and financial precarity. Poilievre's critique centered on the contention that affluent taxpayers could exploit offshore tax havens to circumvent their fiscal obligations.


Trudeau, however, emphasized that the proposed tax revisions would affect only a minuscule fraction of Canadians, sparing 99.87 percent of taxpayers and exempting primary residential sales. Notably absent from Trudeau's discourse was any reference to the New Democratic Party (NDP) or its leader, Jagmeet Singh, who has yet to pledge support for the budget despite the NDP's supply-and-confidence arrangement with the Liberals.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet also signaled his party's opposition to the budget, underscoring the pivotal role that NDP backing now assumes for the minority Liberal government.


Singh has indicated a willingness to engage with Trudeau on perceived budgetary deficiencies, including the absence of windfall taxes on corporate profits. Moreover, he expressed apprehension regarding the Conservatives' hypothetical scrapping of pivotal social programs, such as national childcare and pharmacare.


Conversely, Conservative housing critic Scott Aitchison cast doubt on the feasibility of the Liberal housing agenda, citing unfulfilled promises from previous years. Aitchison advocated for reduced government intervention in housing markets, contrasting sharply with Trudeau's indictment of Conservative policies as favoring the affluent at the expense of broader societal equity.


As the budget looms large on the political stage, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Trudeau endeavor to frame it as a vital corrective to systemic inequities, particularly for disenfranchised younger demographics. Despite criticisms and divergent perspectives, the budget embodies the Liberal government's gambit to rekindle support among disillusioned cohorts and carve a path toward greater economic inclusivity.


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