The budget we've all been waiting for
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau released the Trudeau Liberal government’s first budget on Wednesday. Here’s some of what’s in it for B.C.
1. $460 million for transit
$3.4 billion over three years to upgrade and improve public transit systems across Canada; B.C will receive $460 million. The budget specifies light rail in Greater Vancouver, but no mention of the proposed Broadway subway line
2. Research into foreign buyers
$500,000 for Statistics Canada to study foreign homebuyer activity, first promised by Stephen Harper in the 2015 election campaign, and $2.3 billion over two years for affordable housing, starting in 2016–17. A significant portion will go to provinces and territories, which can identify communities where the need for affordable housing is greatest, including $739 million for First Nations, Inuit and northern housing.
3. Funds to help cities deal with climate change
$75 million nationwide in new funding for local governments to address climate change, to be delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The funds will support municipality-led projects to identify and implement greenhouse gas reduction opportunities and support the assessment of local climate risks, and the integration of these impacts into asset management plans. In B.C., the government plans to spend $212 million to upgrade the Lions Gate Wastewater Treatment Plant to make it resilient to climate events.
4. Funding for drug research and development
Up to $32 million over two years, starting in 2017–18, for the Centre for Drug Research and Development, located on the UBC campus. The mandate of the not-for-profit centre is to identify and translate promising health research discoveries from universities across Canada into new medicines and therapies.
5. Parks Canada funding in B.C.
Up to $191 million over two years, starting in 2016–17 on a cash basis, to the Parks Canada Agency to improve tourism and highway assets, including $85.9 million to twin part of the Trans-Canada Highway through B.C.’s Yoho National Park and $17.7 million to build a new biking and walking trail in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Read elsewhere The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled against dumping contaminated soil above Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island, not because of water contamination but due to zoning laws. (CBC News)
Vancouver traffic congestion is worse than in Toronto or Montreal, according to the latest Tom Tom survey. (Globe and Mail)