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Federal Budget 2021: Highlights from Chrystia Freeland's speech and reaction

Last Updated Apr 19, 2021 at 1:47 pm PDT

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the 2021 federal budget in the House of Commons on Monday. Here are some highlights from her speech, as well as quotes from opposition leaders. 

Crisis and recovery 

“This budget is about finishing the fight against COVID. It’s about healing the economic wounds left by the COVID recession. And it’s about creating more jobs and prosperity for Canadians in the days – and decades – to come.”

Government spending 

“Some will say our sense of urgency is misplaced. Some will say that we are spending too much. To them, I ask this: Did you lose your job during a COVID lockdown? Were you reluctantly let go by your small-business employers, who were like a family to you, but simply could not afford your salary any longer?” 

Long-term care 

“We have failed so many of those living in long-term care facilities. To them, and to their families, let me say this: I am so sorry. We owe you so much better than this.”

Child care 

“The closing of our schools and daycares drove women’s participation in the labour force down to its lowest level in more than two decades. Early learning and child care has long been a feminist issue; COVID has shown us that it is an urgent economic issue, too.” 

Environment 

“We are at a pivotal moment in the green transformation. We can lead, or we can be left behind. Our government knows that the only choice for Canada is to be in the vanguard.”

Economic growth 

“Canada is a young, vast country, with a tremendous capacity for growth. This budget will fuel that. These are investments in our future, and they will yield great dividends. In today’s low interest rate environment, not only can we afford these investments, it would be short-sighted of us not to make them.” 

Before the budget was released, opposition leaders shared their expectations. 

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he wants a blueprint for getting Canada back to fiscal balance. 

“Conservatives have a plan to do that over the next decade so that we don’t burden our children and our grandchildren with out-of-control debt.” 

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh reiterated his position that a pandemic is no time for an election campaign. 

“We are worried about people. We are going to continue to fight for people … But I’m going to be responsible and make sure that I’m making a decision that does not in any way jeopardize the health of Canadians. So, we are not interested in triggering an election.” 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press