Budget 2024 : Half Measures Are Not Enough, Say Greens

Ottawa, ON - Canadians hoped the federal budget would solve the housing crisis, deliver universal pharmacare, reduce costs, protect their communities, and address the systemic drivers of inequality and climate change. 

Instead, today’s budget is a prime example of box-checking politics, showcasing a series of half-measures that do not respond to the scale of the challenges Canadians are facing. Half-measures fuel cynicism and mistrust towards institutions. This budget was an opportunity to start a systemic shift to rise to the challenges currently facing the country. The Liberals failed that test.

“This budget looked like our dream budget, with so many mentions of our key demands on climate, housing and inequality, until we delved into the details,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. “Major challenges were mentioned, nothing was solved.”

The launching of the long-awaited Canada Disability Benefit was a prime example.

“After years of advocating alongside Canadians with disabilities for the Canada Disability Benefit to be fully funded and immediately implemented, I was relieved to see it finally included in Budget 2024,” said Kitchener Centre MP Mike Morrice. “But with the maximum allocation capped at $200 per person per month, benefits delayed until July 2025, and eligibility limited to the very few receiving the Disability Tax Credit, this isn’t going to lift people with disabilities out of legislated poverty.”

Greens will continue to push not only for the benefit to be adequately funded, but for eligibility to be expanded.

Similarly, the budget does not deliver universal pharmacare and is little more than a toe in the water. The budget also fails to get government back in the business of building social housing at the rate and amplitude required means millions of Canadians will continue to struggle for the years to come. 

The Greens have long advocated for measures that not only increase the housing supply but focus on building truly affordable units, for lower-income Canadians. This includes doubling affordable housing through predictable, large-scale, and ongoing investments. After 30 years of Liberal-Conservative underinvestment, social housing accounts for just 3% of Canada’s housing – the very bottom of the G7.

Meanwhile, the government’s refusal to impose a windfall tax on the gigantic profits of oil and gas companies once more speaks to industry lobbyists being in the driver’s seat, at a time when Canadians are forced to prepare for what may well be the worst fire and drought season in recent history. 

“Moreover, the budget doesn’t fundamentally address adaptation to climate disruption that is directly affecting more and more Canadians,” said Green Party Finance Critic Luc Joli-Coeur. “We need more money for early warning systems, fire fighting, and infrastructure for protection and replacement.”

The current crises are the result of decades of Liberal-Conservative policy choices, made without the knowledge or consent of a majority of Canadians, by elites claiming to care for the working class of this country. 

“Well paid spin doctors now have the Liberals saying this budget is about fairness. Sadly, they forgot the word justice somewhere in there,” said Jonathan Pedneault, Green Deputy Leader. “For all too long, Canadians have been handed a bad deal by bad governments working for large corporations. It was a good time to turn the tables around and make them pay. Unsurprisingly, this budget falls short of that.”

The ongoing deepening of the inequality crisis comes at a high cost for all Canadians and our future. The top 20 percent of Canadians now hold over 67% of Canada’s entire net worth whereas the bottom 40% only owns 2.7%. 

Between 2009 and 2021, the adjusted net income of Canadian corporations more than doubled while their margins of profit grew by 42%. Meanwhile, in adjusted dollar value, the size of their assets grew 100% from an astounding $14 trillion to an indefensible $28 trillion. Yet, in the meantime, the total employment revenues of Canadians only grew by 24% during that same period. 

This is nothing short of a crisis. It warrants fundamental changes.


For more information or to arrange an interview : 

Fabrice Lachance Nové

Press secretary