Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already said his government’s first budget will be full of “unsexy” investments, but it’s hard to dampen expectations after leaking that planned spending will blow through the $20-billion deficit mark—and maybe even $25 billion. So what should you watch for when Finance Minister Bill Morneau rises in the House next week?
Evan Solomon has these four items on his budget watch list:
1. Deficit: Size matters, and budget documents will give a sense of deficits to come—and the extent of Liberal spending promises.
2. West vs. East: Watch where the money goes. Will there be more help for Alberta and possibly an announcement of support for Bombardier, the Quebec-based aerospace manufacturer facing tough times?
3. Aboriginal spending: Indigenous affairs are priority issues for the new government, but will investments match the rhetoric? Is the benchmark for spending the Paul Martin-driven Kelowna Accord from 2005?
4. How the money gets spent: As Susan Delacourt has said, the federal cabinet’s mandate letters told the public what the money will be spent on—but the budget will tell us how it will be spent.
Morneau’s budget marks the true start of the Trudeau governing years.