Politics

Budget bill passes Senate, extending pandemic aid programs

The Senate has adopted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government's budget bill, the final step in extending COVID-19 supports through the summer and ahead of a likely election in the fall.

Bill C-30 passed the Senate 63-to-19 late Tuesday evening

The bill contained extensions to key aid programs such as the wage subsidy to help employers pay workers and supports to help businesses pay their rent. Above, Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland holds a copy of the budget in April. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The Senate has adopted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government's budget bill, the final step in extending COVID-19 supports through the summer and ahead of a likely election in the fall.

Bill C-30 passed the Senate 63-to-19 late Tuesday evening. Trudeau's Liberals, who have a minority, last week pushed the bill through the House of Commons with the help of the opposition New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois.

The bill — the country's first budget in more than two years — contained extensions to key aid programs, such as the wage subsidy to help employers pay workers and supports to help businesses pay their rent.

Two other bills — criminalizing LGBT conversion therapy and regulating programming on streaming services like Netflix — were referred back to committee, likely leaving them to be dealt with after the summer break.

The Senate added two sitting days this week to deal with a raft of bills approved by House lawmakers last week ahead of their summer break.

Critics have said the Liberals are trying to rush legislation ahead of a likely election in the fall.

Trudeau has publicly played down election talk, but sources told Reuters he was aiming for a September snap election to capitalize on Canada's emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic. The hope would be to secure a majority.

Trudeau's Liberals led the main opposition Conservatives 34 per cent to 30 per cent in a national poll released last week by Leger.

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