Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Which Liberal pledges does the budget keep or break?

Federal budget 2016

Promises, promises: Which Liberal pledges does the federal budget keep or break?

Justin Trudeau waves while accompanied by his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, after giving his victory speech after Canada's federal election on Oct. 19, 2015.

Justin Trudeau waves while accompanied by his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, after giving his victory speech after Canada’s federal election on Oct. 19, 2015.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

It's a budget with something for everyone: tax cuts, infrastructure spending and measures to make life easier for the marginalized.

But even with a $29.4-billion deficit, the Liberal government's first federal budget didn't meet all of the promises the party made during the election campaign – and some were delayed.

Here are some of the pledges fulfilled – and others that didn't make the cut.

Story continues below advertisement


PROMISES KEPT


Pensions: The budget restores the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplements to 65 from 67, and increases the GIS top-up for single, low-income seniors by 10 per cent. That means the lowest-income seniors will receive up to $947 more a year. However, on enhancing the Canada Pension Plan, the Liberals say only that they will make a collective decision with the provinces and territories by the end of this year.

Canada Child Benefit: The government is following through on its new child benefit payment, which it says will help nine out of 10 families save an estimated $2,300 a year. The benefit provides up to $6,400 annually for each child under the age of 6, and $5,400 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17. But some accountants say it's not as much as was originally promised by the Liberal government, since the previous benefit regime is being phased out at a much faster rate. The new child benefit is still worth several thousands a year more than the combined equivalents under the previous Conservative government.

Income splitting: The Liberals said in their platform they would cancel income splitting and other benefits for wealthy families, although pension splitting will not be affected. In the budget, the government commits to eliminating income splitting for couples with children under 18, resulting in a savings of almost $4.4-billion over the next three years.

Veterans offices and benefits: The Liberals have pledged to reopen the nine veterans' affairs offices closed under the Conservative government, adding one more in Surrey, B.C., and to provide more support for disabled and injured veterans, promising $3.7-billion this year alone.

First Nations funding: The government will lift the 2-per-cent cap on First Nations program funding, a major point of contention in aboriginal communities since it was imposed in the 1990s. Education funding alone increases by $670-million over the next two years.

Improving the socio-economic conditions of indigenous peoples

Other initiatives

Education, children and training

Rebuilding the relationship

Green infrastructure

Social infrastructure

$2.5 billion

2

1.5

1

.5

0

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Other initiatives

Social infrastructure

Green infrastructure

Education, children and training

Rebuilding the relationship

$2.5 billion

2

1.5

1

.5

0

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Other initiatives

Education, children and training

Rebuilding the relationship

Green infrastructure

Social infrastructure

$2.5 billion

2

1.5

1

.5

0

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Other initiatives

Social infrastructure

Green infrastructure

Education, children and training

Rebuilding the relationship

$2.5 billion

2

1.5

1

.5

0

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2020-21

2019-20

THE GLOBE AND MAIL » SOURCE: BUDGET 2016

Climate change: As promised, the government will create a $2-billion low-carbon economy fund, to support provincial and territorial actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The government will also invest $2.1-billion for repairs and retrofits to government properties and buildings, and $50-million over two years to invest in technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector.


PROMISES BROKEN


Balancing the budget by 2019: The Liberals promised to balance the books by 2019, but their budget not only erases this promise, it makes no mention of when this will happen. Instead, the projected deficit is now $17.7-billion by election year.

Story continues below advertisement

5

in billions of dollars

Projected

0

-5

-10

-15

-20

-25

-30

‘11-

’12

‘12-

’13

‘13-

’14

‘14-

’15

‘15-

’16

‘16-

’17

‘17-

’18

‘18-

’19

‘19-

’20

‘20-

’21

5

in billions of dollars

Projected

0

-5

-10

-15

-20

-25

-30

2011-

2012

2012-

2013

2013-

2014

2014-

2015

2015-

2016

2016-

2017

2017-

2018

2018-

2019

2019-

2020

2020-

2021

5

in billions of dollars

Projected

0

-5

-10

-15

-20

-25

-30

‘11-

’12

‘12-

’13

‘13-

’14

‘14-

’15

‘15-

’16

‘16-

’17

‘17-

’18

‘18-

’19

‘19-

’20

‘20-

’21

5

in billions of dollars

Projected

0

-5

-10

-15

-20

-25

-30

2011-’12

2012-’13

2013-’14

2014-’15

2015-’16

2016-’17

2017-’18

2018-’19

2019-’20

2020-’21

THE GLOBE AND MAIL » SOURCE: BUDGET 2016

Small business tax cuts: Instead of reducing the small business tax rate to 9 per cent over the next three years, the Liberal have frozen it at 10.5 per cent for businesses earning less than $500,000. It's still less than the previous rate of 11 per cent – but the government isn't going to follow through on the Conservatives' legislated reduction to 9 per cent.

Stock options: The budget makes no mention of the campaign promise to set a cap on how much can be claimed through corporate stock option reductions. In their platform, the Liberals estimated 8,000 wealthy Canadians deduct an average of $400,000 from their taxable incomes via stock options. But Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Tuesday those options help attract and retain top talent, so it's no longer part of the plan.


PROMISES DELAYED


Veterans' lifetime pensions: The Liberals promised to re-establish lifetime pensions as an option for injured veterans, instead of lump-sum payments. Although Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr said in January his department was working on it, the option was not presented in this year's budget.

Canadian Infrastructure Bank: The government promised to create an infrastructure bank to provide low-cost financing for new projects, saying the government could use its strong credit rating and lending authority to make it easier for municipalities to build projects. That initiative was nowhere to be found Tuesday as the government announced the first phase of its $11.9-billion infrastructure spending program, although Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi has said he will be working to develop it.


FEDERAL BUDGET 2016: MORE ANALYSIS

Trudeau’s first federal budget by the numbers

1:17

Rob Carrick: Ten ways the budget will affect your finances How much do you earn? What kind of family do you have? Rob Carrick explains what the budget means for your bottom line.
Erin Anderssen: Budget gives low-income families a break – with fewer strings It’s a long way from a daycare solution, with spaces short and fees rising, especially in Canada’s biggest cities. But for many families, this will nevertheless be significant.
John Ibbitson: Government goes for broke with a bold activist budget We haven’t seen anything like this since the days of Pierre Trudeau. It is a budget to go to war over, for both progressives and conservatives. (For subscribers)
Report an error Licensing Options
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.