British Columbia

Blunt demands: B.C. seeks money for pot regulation, transit, housing in federal budget

The federal government will reveal its budget Tuesday afternoon and officials in B.C. hope funds will flow for transit, housing and marijuana regulation.

Partnerships 'the best bang for our buck' on issues like housing and transit, finance minister says

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau will present the federal government's 2018 budget on Tuesday. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The federal government will reveal its budget Tuesday afternoon and officials in B.C. hope funds will flow for transit, housing and marijuana regulation.

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James says while the rumoured measures on gender equality and a national pharmacare plan are both welcome, she is hoping for more.

"I'd like to see more specifics around transit. I'd like to see more specifics around partnerships for housing," she said.

Those partnerships, James explained, could mean contributions of both land and cash from the feds, or what James said was the possibility of direct federal support for renters.

"It's the best bang for our buck. We have the same individuals that we're wanting to serve."

Support for renters in terms of a rebate was promised by the provincial NDP in the 2017 election campaign but has still not come to fruition.

"We can build a program that would match up with federal dollars," she said. "We have opportunities if the federal government puts more details out in their budget."

The federal budget also comes as the provinces scramble to prepare for the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says he hopes to see support in the budget for things such as education and enforcement.

"I'm looking forward in the budget to see what the federal government is doing," he said. "There needs to be a recognition of the costs, which are significant, to the provinces."

Among those costs, he said, are the costs of implementing the new system and finding a way to deal with drug-impaired drivers.

"Certainly, British Columbia expects to get its fair share."

Funding to deal with gangs, organized crime and guns is also hoped for, he said.

The federal budget will be delivered in Ottawa at 1 p.m. PT.

With files from Megan Thomas

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