Mar 24, 2021
Trudeau says he has a mandate for aid that could top US$80B
Still expect up to $100B in stimulus, even if Canada is 'doing a bit better': Economist
Justin Trudeau said he doesn’t need fresh approval from Canadian voters for the ambitious, debt-financed recovery plan his government will present next month.
The prime minister, whose polling edge on fiscal stewardship could tempt him to trigger an election, argued Wednesday he already has a popular mandate to govern as he sees fit.
“We got elected in 2019 with a mandate to keep working on reconciliation, keep working on the vulnerable, keep working on the economy and this pandemic happened,” he told former Canadian Broadcasting Corp. anchor Peter Mansbridge’s podcast, which airs on Sirius XM radio. “And yes, we’ve had to do all sorts of things that weren’t talked about in that election campaign, but they’re also things that are true to the leadership and the values and the frame that I’ve put forward.”
His comments come a day after Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told the legislature she would deliver a budget April 19, the country’s first full financial plan in more than two years.
Emergency COVID-19 spending has the government facing a shortfall of $382 billion, or 17.5 per cent of gross domestic product, and Freeland is weighing an additional jolt of stimulus worth as much as $100 billion over three years. Canada’s pre-pandemic deficit sat at 1.7 per cent of GDP in 2019.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, Trudeau’s main rival, is vowing to bring the budget back to balance within a decade. He also wants the government to present a clear plan for fully reopening Canada’s economy.
“Yes, there are going to be really important political debates about what the recovery looks like,” Trudeau added