QUEBEC CITY – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s first budget exceeded his campaign promise to run a $10 billion deficit in order to stimulate the economy.
On Tuesday, the federal government announced it was planning on a deficit three times that amount.
Yet, despite the heavy spending, Quebec politicians insist the province got a raw deal.
The provincial government was hoping for more money in health transfers to address its aging population, but were disappointed.
“In terms of health care, actually there’s nothing. There’s nothing new,” said Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao.
He said what is also discouraging, is what the federal government has committed to infrastructure.
“There’s nothing today that has moved forward from what we knew yesterday,” said Leitao.
Justin Trudeau campaigned on a $60 billion stimulus plan spread out over ten years, but the federal budget showed the government is actually spending far less than that during its first term: $11.9 billion spread out over the next five years and just $3 billion of the promised $60 billion will go to transit.
This could impact major projects in Quebec, specifically the proposed extension of the Montreal metro’s blue line.
“There are 40 Liberal members of parliament in that government, so it’s quite surprising that these 40 Liberal members didn’t make the voice of Quebec heard,” said Stéphane Bergeron, PQ Quebec-Canada Relations Critic.
There was no mention of Bombardier in the federal budget either.
“The federal government already told us that the budget was not the appropriate place for them to indicate what they’re decision would be on Bombardier,” said Leitao.
But the PQ blames the Couillard government for not insisting strongly enough on federal investment.
“When you ask for nothing, why would you be surprised if you get nothing,” said Marceau.
The high point of Tuesday’s budget for the province is that more money will go into the hands of Quebec families.
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau said an average of $2,300 dollars will be given back to middle class families.