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Feds are striking the right economic balance, says Anand

Economic statement offers limited new financial supports, warns of potential recession.

The federal government is taking a prudent approach to supporting vulnerable Canadians while protecting the economy and investing in jobs, says Oakville MP Anita Anand.

An economic update delivered by finance minister Chrystia Freeland on Thursday afternoon promised new spending on students, and low-income workers and incentives for green energy investment, while also warning of a potential recession on the horizon.

The government's plan strikes "the balance that is needed," said Anand.

"Our government is continuing to make life more affordable for the people of Oakville and we're continuing to build an economy that works for all Canadians," she said.

But she added that the measured approach to new spending is responsible.

"We are seeing interest rates rise. We are seeing more difficult economic times for Canadians because of inflation, and we want to be prudent," she said. "We need to maintain that balance between supporting Canadians and ensuring that our economy continues to grow at the rate it is."

Significant new government spending would have run counter to the Bank of Canada's attempt to slow inflation through repeated interest rate increases.

Anand said that while the government accepts that there may be a recession in the country's future, the country's economic indicators remain strong at this point.

In comparison to pre-pandemic numbers, Canada's GDP is up two per cent, and 400,000 more Canadians are employed, she said. Canada's inflation rate is much lower than other countries, and its debt-to-GDP ratio is the lowest in the G7.

Plans outlined in the fall economic statement:
  • Permanently eliminate interest on student and apprentice loans while doubling the Canada Student Grant to provide up to $6,000 per year until July 2023;
  • Create a new quarterly Canada Workers Benefit to provide up to $2,400 to low-income workers;
  • Develop tax credits to support investments in clean hydrogen production and clean technology;
  • Introduce a $7,500 refundable home renovation tax credit on the construction of secondary suites built for senior or adult disabled family members;
  • Implement a new tax on share buybacks by public corporations in Canada; 
  • Create a Sustainable Jobs Training Centre to develop curriculum, credentials and on-site learning for jobs in high demand, including the sustainable battery industry and low-carbon building and retrofits;
  • Negotiate, or if necessary, legislate lower credit card fees for small businesses.