MP Mark Gerretsen Reacts to Federal Budget

The latest budget delivered by the Trudeau government raises "sin taxes" on alcohol and tobacco.

It does not include any change to income tax rates amid uncertainty about the future of tax rates south of the border, and shifts its focus on innovation and skills.

Starting July 1, Finance Minister Bill Morneau says Ottawa will eliminate the tax credit for commuters who buy a transit pass, planning instead to boost spending on public transit.

The Liberal government is also making changes to ensure that ride-sharing services like Uber charge G-S-T and H-S-T, just like taxis, and is setting aside more money to chase down tax cheats.

Cities and affordable housing providers will find themselves with $11.2-billion more to spend on new and existing units over the coming decade as part of a multi-pronged push to help people find homes.

MP Mark Gerretsen says he is pleased that the budget includes improvement to Employment Insurance Maternity Benefits; something he's been fighting for - for over a year.

It proposes to allow women to claim EI maternity benefits up to 12 weeks before their due date, expanded from the current standard of 8 weeks.

“I am incredibly happy that the Government has taken action on this issue," says Gerretsen.

"For me, this has always been about removing barriers so that women can fully participate in all sectors of the labour force. No woman should be put in the position that Melodie was in. While more work needs to be done, and I am committed to continue to move this issue forward, there is no doubt that this is a big step towards gender equality in the workforce.”

The deficit will remain nearly three times the $10-billion limit the Liberals promised in their campaign platform, with no time frame for bringing it to balance.

Click here to view more details in the 2017 budget.