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“Dental care wins the day” as Liberals commit $13B for coverage

By Steve MacArthur Mar 28, 2023 | 8:49 PM

A $13-billion expanded dental plan is a centrepiece of the federal budget.

Liberal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland revealed details of the plan in Ottawa on Tuesday.

The government is committing to have the plan in place by the end of this year, which will give dental coverage to about nine million people in our country.

It was a key condition to garner support from the NDP to pass the budget, even though it is double the original cost to implement.

“No Canadian ever again will need to choose between taking care of their teeth and paying their bills at the end of the month,” said Freeland to thunderous applause from the governing side.

Coverage will be available for families taking in less than $90,000.

“There was clearly a fork in the road last year where the Liberal-NDP government decided it could have dental care or pharmacare, but not both” says David Macdonald, Senior Economist, “Dental care won the day and represents a substantial, if underappreciated, part of this budget. A third of all new health care money announced in the budget was to beef up the dental care plan and the other two-thirds for the new provincial health care agreements. Dental care coverage is rapidly becoming a major new part of national medicare.”

The Liberals baked into the budget what is being called a grocery-rebate, as higher costs for food have made it tougher to put food on the table. It will give about $450 to a family of four and more than $200 for single people and seniors.

The deficit will come in at about $40-billion which is $10-billon higher than recent projections.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre blasted the Liberals spending and called it a “full frontal attack” on taxpayers and the paycheques of everyday people.

“It’s a $43-billion bonanza of new inflation, debt and taxes.” said Poilievre.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is thrilled with the inclusion of the expanded dental plan and the rebate.

“Let me be clear, the expanded dental care or the grocery rebate would not be in this budget if not for the NDP,” proclaimed Singh.

He also poured water on any election speculation and told reporters his party would support the budget to ensure it passes.

Meantime, Green Leader Elizabeth May was not overly pleased with the financial blueprint for the upcoming year.

”They is no money for housing. Let me repeat, no money for housing…except for much needed help for Indigenous Peoples,” May offered. “We would have liked to have seen some sort of amnesty from the CRA on collection CERB payments from people who clearly can not afford to pay it back.”

The budget also includes $56-billion in new corporate tax breaks for investments in the clean economy.

“When it comes to climate action, this budget comes up with the money, but it hands the wheel over to corporate Canada to drive the transition,” says Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) Senior Researcher Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood. “The climate crisis demands urgent and bold public leadership, but today’s budget instead defers to the private sector to solve the problem.”

The Liberals plan to slash some $15.4-billion in spending over the next five years to reign in the deficit.


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