In her second budget as Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland has proposed a much more prudent economic plan for Canada than had been anticipated, especially when one considers her first budget in April 2021, her party’s election platform last fall, and the Trudeau government’s confidence-and-supply agreement with the New Democrats.
This budget signals the beginning of the end of pandemic supports. The pace of withdrawal is appropriately measured, but the objective is clear: the Government of Canada is winding down the temporary measures it had introduced as a result of COVID-19.
The budget reflects the recent agreement with the NDP, in that it signals progress on that party’s key priorities, but the impact is very focused on a select few policy commitments. In fact, the impact of that agreement is circumscribed by external considerations, which have clearly applied more pressure on the government’s choices than the confidence-and-supply agreement. We are indeed a far cry from Building Back Better.
In the main, the 2022 federal budget is shaped by global forces that have limited the government’s scope of action and focused its attention on a few key priorities: housing, climate change and the war in Europe. This is not the budget that had been anticipated when Prime Minister Trudeau selected his cabinet and drafted their mandate letters. This is the budget the world and all its uncertainties have thrust onto Canada.
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