Women, science among primary targets of latest federal budget

Women, science and conservation are among the dominant themes of Finance Minister Bill Morneau's latest federal budget, which charts a clear course for the Liberals to the next election in 2019.

Morneau's budget includes a $18.1-billion deficit for 2018-19, including a $3-billion adjustment for risk, down slightly from the previous year but without any plan for a return to balanced books.

Instead, the Liberal government is doubling down on the idea that spending money _ even borrowed money _ is good for the long-term future of Canadians.

The budget aims to increase the participation of women in the workforce, part of a longer-term plan to grow the economy and brace for the consequences of an aging population.

It provides up to five weeks of leave for new fathers, worth $1.2 billion over five years, to help break the pattern of mothers automatically taking on the greater share of child-rearing responsibilities.

It also includes major investments in science, the environment and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, all areas Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government sees as part of its progressive vision for the country and the world.