CBC March 17, 201

Seniors, skills training and housing affordability are expected to be the focus of the 2019 spending plan

Finance Minister Bill Morneau tables his federal budget Tuesday — a high-stakes election year spending plan that could be as much about shoring up sliding Liberal support as it is about fiscal policy.

The 2019 budget is expected to help seniors, enhance skills training opportunities and make housing more affordable for millennials and other first-time buyers.

Experts predict it will target key constituencies as the Liberals seek a distraction from the SNC-Lavalin scandal and look toward the fall election.

“I think they will send a strong message to Canadians that they are still in the game, that they want to be re-elected and do things that are quite bold,” said Daniel Béland, political science professor and director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

“They also need to divert attention away from the SNC-Lavalin story. I suspect a timid budget at this point would be a political mistake.”

He said the Liberal government has not embraced austerity since it was first elected in 2015 and it’s unlikely to change course in the final budget of its mandate.

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