Federal budget 2019: Everything you need to know

Federal budget 2019: Everything you need to know
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OTTAWA — Anyone who guessed that the Liberals’ last budget before the next federal election was going to be about the “middle class” guessed right.

The 460-page document released Tuesday, titled “Investing in the Middle Class,” is chock-full of promises intended to motivate voters to re-elect the Liberal government, so it can see its promises through.

Those promises are largely focused on saving Canadians money, the finance department is still predicting budgetary deficits for the foreseeable future. In 2019-20 a $19.8 billion deficit is projected, including a $3 billion risk cushion. By 2023-24, the deficit is projected at $9.8 billion.

Although that means the federal debt will go up, the Liberals have relied on another measure to defend the spending — the debt-to-GDP ratio, which is projected to decrease over that period.

Here are some of the big-ticket items:

* $1.25 billion over three years for a First Time Home Buyer Incentive, along with other measures that will ease Canadians’ entry into the real estate market.

* $1.7 billion over five years for new skills training tax credits, including a credit for eligible workers to pay for training fees, and a credit supporting training for people receiving EI.

* $5 or $6 billion over 10 years for broadband in northern and rural communities, on a promise to extend high-speed Internet to all Canadians

* $1 billion to increase affordability of high-cost drugs for rare diseases, plus the creation of a new Canadian Drug Agency to negotiate prescription drug prices “on behalf of Canadians”

* $4.7 billion in new money for Indigenous communities, including for settling land claims; “governance support”; improving child welfare services; promoting Indigenous languages; and improving health and safety in communities.

* $3.9 billion in compensation for supply-managed farmers who are losing a share of the dairy, egg and poultry market after two trade deals entered into force: the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership with Japan, Australia, New Zealand and seven other countries in the Asia-Pacific.

* $1.8 billion for retirees, including support for low-income seniors, “empowering seniors in their communities” and a promise to make sure that “everyone who is eligible receives Canada Pension Plan benefits,” which is not listed as having a cost.

* $6 billion for research in health and science

* $1.2 billion, including a net $100 million increase in international assistance that’s only scheduled for 2023-24, plus the cost of extending Canada’s training missions in Iraq and Ukraine.

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