Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government on Monday lined up billions in new spending to provide emergency support during a virulent third wave of COVID-19 and to help launch an economic recovery ahead of an election expected later this year.
The budget, the Liberal government's first in two years because of the pandemic, is aimed squarely at boosting near-term growth and includes a long-promised national daycare plan.
It also follows through on stimulus promised late last year, outlining a C$101.4 billion ($81 billion) "growth plan" over three years, with nearly half of that spending coming in the first year.
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"We have to finish the fight against COVID – and that costs a lot of money," Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters, adding that hundreds of thousands of Canadians remain out of work because of the pandemic.
Liberal insiders expect Trudeau to seek an election later this year to try to secure a majority in parliament. The Liberals currently need the support of at least one other party to pass legislation, including the budget.