CanadaPolitics

Budget 2024 sit down with Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland

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Fresh off tabling Budget 2024 in the House of Commons yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland sat down with OMNI Filipino’s Rhea Santos for an interview to talk about a spending plan she says is “absolutely fiscally responsible.” 

“I think you are seeing the results,” she added, “in the fact that we are seeing inflation stabilize.” 

Just hours before the budget was unveiled, Statistics Canada said its consumer price index for March was just under three per cent, which Freeland welcomed as good news that might push the Bank of Canada to cut down interest rates.  

 “That is so important for day-to-day cost of living for regular Canadians.” 

Responding to criticism, Budget 2024 doesn’t include any immediate relief for people facing an affordability crisis, though the Finance Minister pointed to measures targeting renters and to the billions of dollars Ottawa has allocated to programs aimed at solving the housing crunch. 

“We have to support people who are renting today, and we also have to work really hard to make sure the dream of home ownership is alive for all young Canadians,” Freeland said. “These measures are important. Even more important is our massive investment in getting more homes built.” 

Freeland added that other key actions the government is taking to try and make life more affordable are investments in initiatives such as child care and a national school food program, but also working to create more good-paying jobs.  

On that front, she said it’s important for newcomers in Canada to be able to work in their respective fields, urging provinces and territories to streamline the recognition of foreign credentials for which Ottawa is investing over $70 million – an issue she called “a real personal priority.” 

However, in recent months, the federal government has moved to stabilize immigration levels and reduce the number of temporary residents, amid claims that the housing affordability issue is linked to rapid population growth. 

The minister dismissed criticism of Ottawa’s immigration policy but said “it makes sense” to align immigration with housing capacity.  

“You have to be sure the math works. We have to be sure we have enough homes for the people in Canada and for the people who are arriving. We are doing that.”  

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