We will know this afternoon precisely what is planned. Harper must have been listening to Layton. However Layton apparently doesn't trust Harper to do anything he promises. Given Harper's broken promises in the past that is not a position that is totally without merit! It is certainly weird that Harper is now touting expenditures that if the Liberals were in power would be regarded as unaffordable and likely to cause terrible deficits. However deficits now are apparently quite unterrifying and to be welcomed in the short term! It is Iggy that worries about deficits caused by tax cuts for the middle class!
Budget could offer more than $2B for social housing: report
Last Updated: Sunday, January 25, 2009 8:17 PM ET
The Harper government is expected to use Tuesday's federal budget to pump more than $2 billion into social housing across the country, a move that would help seniors, the disabled and aboriginal people, according to a report.
The Toronto Star on Sunday quoted Human Resources Minister Diane Finley as saying she's confident her sales pitch to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty for the measures will result in them being included in the budget.
The report said the housing package is expected to include:
$1 billion for social housing renovations.
$600 million for on-reserve accommodation for aboriginal people.
$400 million for seniors' housing.
$75 million for housing for people with disabilities.
Finley told the Star that the spinoffs, in terms of jobs for tradespeople, would be "significant," adding the government is "meeting a real need to mend a tear" in Canada's social safety net.
She said there's "a very significant need" to upgrade the quality of social housing across Canada.
On Monday, Transport Minister John Baird will hold a news conference where he's expected to discuss an infrastructure spending strategy, which one government insider told the Canadian Press will be budget-related and qualify as "good news."
Hard-hit sectors need help
Last Thursday, a senior government official briefing reporters revealed the government would run a $34-billion deficit in the coming fiscal year, and a $30-billion deficit in the following year.
Cabinet ministers announced a day later that the government would create a billion-dollar fund to help workers in hard-hit sectors such as forestry, agriculture and manufacturing.
At the same time, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters there would be some permanent tax measures that would be "modest" and "affordable in the long term."
There also has been talk of strengthening the employment insurance system.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and NDP Leader Jack Layton have denounced the pre-budget publicity as a Conservative public relations ploy. The New Democrats are expected to vote against the budget, while the Liberals say they'll wait to see the document before deciding what to do.
5-year plan expected to pull out of deficit
The budget will be presented a day after the House of Commons reopens Monday with a speech from the throne. The latest session of Parliament comes after a six-week cooling off period that followed opposition threats to topple the government over its November economic update.
Political pundits say the minority Conservative government is softening the blow ahead of a deficit-creating budget, aimed at bolstering a slumping economy, by leaking stimulus details beforehand.
The budget deficit would follow a dozen years of surpluses, but the Conservatives say the red ink is temporary.
Tuesday's document is expected to outline how the government plans to pull itself out of a deficit within five years.With files from the Canadian Press