Opposition parties lay out priorities ahead of Liberal government budget next week

OTTAWA — The four opposition parties in Ottawa are making demands of the minority Liberal government ahead of next week’s federal budget, but their leverage is limited.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has pledged not to trigger an election regardless of what the budget has in store on April 19, a move that potentially weakens New Democrats’ say in the final product.

Singh is calling for a stronger federal role in on-the-ground COVID-19 vaccine administration as well as concrete steps toward a national child-care plan, which the Liberals have pledged periodically since 1993.

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet says he may consider backing the the first budget in more than two years if it boosts support for seniors and no-strings-attached health transfers to the provinces.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, whose party has the second-most seats in Parliament, is stressing job creation and minimal taxation, while Green Leader Annamie Paul wants to see emergency student benefits resurrected starting next month.

All four opposition leaders are speaking with Trudeau this week to make their case on the budget, which could result in an election if the three main opposition parties vote against it to topple the 16-month-old Liberal government.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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