Budget 2021 can plug the holes in our COVID-19 response and lay the foundation for a better future

OTTAWA – Today’s budget will be presented in the context of a devastating third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government of Canada and all of parliament must be focused on delivering the urgent help the people of Canada need right now.  

“Unfortunately, as things stand, it is difficult to have confidence that this session of Parliament will last long enough for the government to deliver on much of what today’s budget might contain,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “The early cross-party pandemic solidarity has dissipated. Given that, the Green Party is focused on doing its part to work with all parties to deliver on the most urgent actions to help people in Canada before this Parliament dissolves.

“We know that the pandemic has not impacted everyone equally and that the longer it lasts, the further behind many vulnerable groups will fall. Youth, low-income essential workers, women, racialized groups and Indigenous Peoples continue to experience significant disadvantages that could extend far beyond the pandemic.” 

To protect the most people right now, and apart from expected announcements, the 2021 budget should contain:   

  • An immediate national moratorium on evictions. 
  • A new National Residential Tenant Support Benefit (RTSB) to address the crisis of evictions of low-income people due to income lost during the pandemic. 
  • A reinstatement of the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) – increased to $2,000/month – to recognise that students face a dismal summer job market and unusually high unemployment.   
  • An extension of existing COVID-19 emergency benefits to the end of 2021, and as needed thereafter. 
  • Decriminalization of all illicit drugs and the creation of a national safe supply program to stem record-breaking opioid-related deaths across Canada. 

“Despite the clear signals that a general election is imminent, the Green Party will not abandon hope that all political parties will opt to work across party lines to achieve historic gains for Canadians during this session of Parliament,” said Ms. Paul. “There is common ground amongst most parties if we choose to look for it, and the 2021 budget can reflect it by including: 

  • A Guaranteed Livable Income 
  • A commitment to a 60 per cent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 with clear enforceable targets and timelines, starting in 2025.
  • Long-term care reform, including national standards 
  • New universal programs, including childcare, pharmacare and post-secondary education 
  • Enhanced investments in sectors, infrastructure, projects and building retrofits which will set our economy up for the future and accelerate our progress toward a net-zero economy by reducing greenhouse gas emissions 
  • Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples 
  • Major investments in 100 per cent renewable electricity delivered through a coast-to-coast-to-coast grid 
  • A national mental health strategy with expanded and enhanced supports

“The people of Canada have proven that they believe that we are stronger together, and that we have what it takes to face down the pandemic and to build a prosperous, sustainable future that allows everyone to live in dignity,” said Ms. Paul. “With over two years left in this parliamentary term, the public is impatient to see their members of Parliament come together to enact the bold, ambitious solutions that will ensure our future prosperity, and better protect us in the future.”

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For more information or to arrange an interview:Rosie Emery

Press Secretary