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Budget 2024 will propose making wealthiest ‘pay more,’ sources say

The Liberals plan to include measures in the 2024 budget to make sure the wealthiest Canadians “pay more,” according to three government sources.

But it remains unclear exactly how the government plans to do that or what measures are being considered.

Over the last few weeks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet ministers have crisscrossed the country making announcements ahead of the April 16 budget, with those announcements representing over $37 billion in new spending.

The bulk of these announcements have been in the form of programs aimed at increasing housing and rental construction, through a combination of infrastructure grants and loans. The pre-budget announcement did not announce any direct revenue measures like taxation changes.

However, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has pledged that the fiscal plan will not increase the government’s $40.1-billion deficit.

Last year, the government aimed to trim spending by $15 billion across all of government, with a mandate to rein in an additional $4.1 billion annually between until 2028.

When asked about the possibility of increasing taxes on the top income earners, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh pushed for increased taxes on high corporate profits — something the NDP have been in favour of for a long time.

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“We absolutely believe that the wealthy should pay their fair share, but what we’ve been focused on when we look at the cost of living crisis were in its large corporations that are exploiting Canadians. That’s been our focus,” Singh told reporters prior to question period.

“Right now, our focus is specifically on big corporations that are ripping off Canadians. Big corporate grocery stores, oil and gas companies, the big telcos are all ripping Canadians off, and Conservatives and Liberals have let them do that for far too long.”

In question period Monday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre referenced a November 2023 Scotiabank report, which Poilievre said suggested increased deficit sizes contributed to interest rate increases over the last two years.

“According to Scotiabank, the prime minister’s deficits are adding two-fold percentage points extra in interest costs for the average family. That works out to about $6,000 for a modest mortgage of $300,000. Six grand in extra mortgage payments from these deficits alone. Will they finally wake up to the fact this NDP-Liberal prime minister is not worth the cost?” Poilievre asked in the House of Commons.

In response, Housing Minister Sean Fraser said the upcoming budget is focused on promises made over the last few weeks to build more homes and feed kids in school.

“Mr. Speaker, we will continue to put measures on the table to make life more affordable for middle class Canadians and do right by a generation of young people that have been priced out of the housing market. It’s a shame [Poilievre’s] policies would have the exact opposite effect,” Fraser replied.

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