The Senate has passed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government budget bill, which is the last step in extending COVID-19 support through the summer and fall before possible elections.
On Tuesday evening, the C-30 bill passed the Senate by a vote of 63 to 19. The minority Trudeau Liberal Party passed the bill through the House of Commons last week with the help of the opposition New Democrats and the Quebec Group.
The bill-the country’s first budget in more than two years-contains expansions to key assistance programs, such as wage subsidies to help employers pay workers’ wages and support to help companies pay rent.
Two other bills — criminalizing LGBT conversion therapy and regulating programming on streaming services such as Netflix — were resubmitted to the committee and may be dealt with after the summer vacation.
The Senate has increased its meeting time by two days this week to deal with a series of bills approved by House lawmakers before the summer vacation last week.
Critics say the Liberal Party is trying to speed up legislation ahead of the possible elections in the fall.
Trudeau publicly downplayed the election speech, but sources told Reuters that his goal is to hold a general election early in September to take advantage of Canada’s chance of getting rid of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hope is to get a majority of seats.
In a national poll released by Ledger last week, Trudeau’s Liberal Party leads the main opposition Conservative Party by 34% to 30%.