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Canada's 'Gender-Sensitive' 2018 Budget, Explained

Sweden introduced a gender-sensitive budget three years ago that partly inspired Canada's government to follow suit.

What Happened

Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau consulted with his Swedish counterpart to deliver a gender-sensitive federal budget on Tuesday. Some of the aspects of the budget include a gender-based analysis of every proposed program and tax initiative, Canada's CBC reported. The budget also touches on pay equity and the introduction of a "use-it-or-lose-it" stipulation to parent leave benefits aimed at men to "shoulder more of the newborn-related time away from work."

Another gender-themed measure calls for the government to spend $2.6 billion over five years to encourage scientific innovation and gender equality in the field.

The Budget Isn't Balancing Itself

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the leader of Canada's Liberal government, ledged in his 2015 election campaign that federal budgets would not exceed a $10-billion deficit. In 2014, he Trudea uttered a famous gaffe as the leader of the Liberal party and said the budgets could "balance itself." The new budget presented on Tuesday implies an $18.1-billion deficit and has some Canadians questioning if a focus on gender sensitivity is the right strategy, as Canada ranks as the sixth-best country for women to live in, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Canada's main stock exchange, the TSX, ranks as the second worst-performing exchange among 106 global markets tracked by Bloomberg. Canada's 26.7-percent corporate tax rate looked particularly attractive compared to America's old average corporate tax rate of nearly 40 percent, prior to the tax cut signed by President Donald Trump.

Trudeau Critic: 'More Red Tape'

"But Trudeau's budget? It was as if none of this was happening," conservative political commentator Ezra Levant said during "The Ezra Levant Show" Wednesday.

Levant questioned why an international business would consider investing in a new factory in Canada that would be "reviewed for its gender sensitivity," comparing it to the U.S., where the Trump administration is rolling back federal regulations on business.

"More red tape," Levant said. "More wasted money. More costs. More distractions. More reasons to up and move to the U.S. — even if NAFTA isn't scrapped."

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