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​Ten Things You Missed in the Federal Budget, Which You Didn’t Read Anyways

I read it for you. It was painful and full of numbers.
Justin Ling
Montreal, CA
Smile, you're deeper in debt! Photo via The Canadian Press

As you may have noticed today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled his first budget. And he did it all by himself!

The new spending document is an abrupt break from a decade of wait-till-your-birthday funding commitments from Prime Minister Stephen 'Money-Doesn't-Grow-on-Trees' Harper. In what may be my least snarky sentence written ever: This budget includes billions of dollars in new funding to improve education, infrastructure, and access to water for Canada's Indigenous people, including money to promote Aboriginal culture and languages. That is very good. There's really nothing at all negative to say about that. Moving on, there are lots of things that will lead to kicking and screaming. The deficit is $30-goddamn-billion-frigging-dollars—prepare to hear Conservatives, somewhat rightly, telling you that Trudeau has just "mortgaged your future" — and that's going to come back to bite us in terms of tens of billions of dollars in debt service payments for the next decade or so. But apart from the top-line items, here are a few funding announcements—all pro-rated to just what will be spent in 2016—you might've missed in the budget brouhaha.

$35.5 billion

The estimated cost of public debt charges by 2020. This is a lot of money. But this is the cost of having $732 billion in federal debt. It is not all Trudeau's fault.

$3.7 billion

The amount the government is planning to "reallocate" from the military's current budget. If you're new to this numbers thing, "reallocate" is code for: "We're just going to push this funding to 2020 so that our deficits don't look so bad."

$375 million

For affordable housing, so that the average rent in Toronto and Vancouver will be reduced to merely your left leg and first-born child.

$225 million

For the CBC, which will pay for approximately 43 more seasons of Murdoch Mysteries, and will contribute to front-line research into keeping Peter Mansbridge alive forever.

$87 million

In expanding access to broadband for rural communities, so that no poor bachelor(ette) in Bonnyville, Alberta must download pornography like some turn-of-the-century caveman-or-woman.

$85 million

For research into electric, natural gas, and hydrogen vehicles. Which will undoubtedly lead to exploding cars. Thanks, Trudeau.

$55 million

For the 'Teacher and Early Childhood Educator School Supply Tax Credit' which will— and I'm quoting directly from the budget here—apply on up to $1,000 of eligible supplies "that teachers buy for their class 'such as paper, glue and paint for art projects, games and puzzles, and supplementary books.'" Because Trudeau really needs another reason to be referred to as 'The Glitter Prime Minister.'

$11 million-ish

For money to fund studies to see if possibly VIA rail might may be able to possibly improve access to fast-and-affordable rail service across Canada. Hopefully maybe.

$5 million

For the National Film Board, to keep making movies that you fall asleep to on Air Canada flights once you get through the 'New Releases' section.

$17 million

The net amount of funding for post-secondary education. Despite promising nearly $700 million in new funding for grants and loans, when you do the math—and stack up the new funding against cuts to existing programs and tax credits—you wind up with $17 million in new money per year. Womp womp.


For watchdogs on our two main spy agencies, CSIS and CSE. OK, that last one was actually number 11, but I needed to get that off my chest. Follow Justin Ling on Twitter.