(Ottawa) Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will table the next federal budget on Tuesday, March 28.
The minister confirmed the date for the next budget in a brief statement to the House of Commons on Friday.
Some provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba) have already tabled their respective budgets. Quebec Finance Minister Éric Girard is due to table his next budget on March 21, a week before Ms.me Freeland.
Even before announcing the date of the budget, the Minister has already made it known that she intends to tackle two issues deemed priorities by the Trudeau government: the increase in health transfers to the provinces on the one hand and strategic investments in the energy transition on the other hand in order to respond to the measures announced by the Biden administration in the United States (US$370 billion) as part of its Inflation Reduction Act.
“It’s important for me to be frank, to be open that we have these two major files in which we must invest and we will invest,” said Minister Freeland last month after meeting with her provincial counterparts in Toronto. “But at the same time, the global economy is slowing down and we will be more limited because of that.”
She had maintained that the year 2023 will be decisive for the investments in green energies that Canada can obtain from large companies. The United States set the playing field by passing the Inflation Reduction Act which includes colossal financial incentives to attract capital from investors. Canada will have to do the same if it does not want to settle for crumbs, she warned.
“There is a global race going on right now. The starting gun has been fired to build the clean economy of the 21e century. I cannot stress enough how important the year 2023 is when it comes to attracting this capital. Once you get those big investments, they are very long-term projects. Once they’re here, they’re going to be here long term, and that’s going to give us the jobs, the technology, the supply chain,” she said.
In the case of health transfers, the Trudeau government agreed last month to increase them by $46.2 billion over the next decade, the equivalent of an increase of $4.6 billion per year. . The provinces were asking for a more substantial annual increase, namely $28 billion.
Minister Freeland will table her budget in a difficult economic context. Inflation remains high at 5.9% despite the unprecedented increase in interest rates decreed by the Bank of Canada since March 2022. Many economists expect the Canadian economy to stagnate this year, or even to enters a recession as the Bank of Canada struggles to bring inflation back to the 2% target.
Over the past few weeks, several experts have called on the Trudeau government to exercise the utmost caution and to temper its spending ardor if it does not want to fuel inflationary pressures and force the Bank of Canada to tighten another notch. its monetary policy.
Passing through Hamilton this week, Mr.me Freeland indicated that his next budget will be marked with the seal of prudence because of the uncertainty which threatens the Canadian economy. Since coming to power, the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has never balanced the budget. At the height of the pandemic, Ottawa ran a record deficit of $328 billion in 2020-21.