A copy of the federal government’s Economic and Fiscal Snapshot 2020 is thumbed through as reporters take part in a media lock-up for the in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

A new poll suggests Canadians are torn on whether the federal government should tighten the taps on COVID-19 spending to keep the deficit from flooding the nation’s future.

The Liberals last week revealed this year’s projected deficit sits at $343 billion, driven by an estimated $231.9 billion in COVID-19 spending, so far, and a massive drop in government revenue.

With the deficit at levels not seen since the Second World War, Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies asked 1,523 Canadians whether they felt the government ought to immediately and quickly begin to scale back pandemic support programs to Canadians and to business.

READ MORE: High unemployment, $343B deficit projected in Liberals’ fiscal snapshot

Forty-one per cent said yes to that question, 44 per cent said no and 15 per cent said they didn’t know or preferred not to answer.

The survey was conducted between July 10 and 12, just after the Liberals released their projections.

It cannot be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered truly random.

This week, the Liberal government announced that one of the biggest benefit programs — a federal wage subsidy — will be extended until the end of this year.

READ MORE: Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening

It covers 75 per cent of wages, up to a weekly maximum of $847, for eligible companies and non-profits that have lost at least 30 per cent of their revenues.

“Over the last three months you have seen me come out to talk with Canadians about what we’re doing to help you and your family, your employer, your local businesses deal with this pandemic,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday in announcing the extension.

“We’re going to continue to do that vital work.”

As of July 6, the wage subsidy had paid out $18.01 billion to 252,370 companies. Last week’s fiscal and economic update from the Liberals increased the overall budget to $82.3 billion.

The other marquee support program, the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, is set to expire in the fall.

The $500-a-week benefit had, as of July 5, paid out almost $54.8 billion to 8.25 million people.

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit and how it may affect things in Canada in the long term.

In releasing the deficit projections, the Liberals didn’t set out a plan for how or when they might get the books back to balance.

The survey asked respondents which of two routes traditionally use to cut deficits they would support.

In the survey, 60 per cent said the government ought to focus on cutting government spending, while 21 per cent said the focus should be on raising taxes.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon paddleboarders raise more than $40K for People Place

Third annual Stand Up For charity paddleboard event exceeds $25,000 goal

Square footage may be revisited for Vernon cultural centre

Greater Vernon Cultural Centre could see size shrink up to 20 per cent as cost-savings measure

Brain safety top of mind for Lake Country kids

Bylaw officers noticing a number of youth out riding bikes, scooters, skateboards without helmets

UPDATE: House fire spreads to bush off Westside

Small blaze burning near Vernon in Six Mile area

Wildfire sparked at Stuart Creek near Westside Road

An air tanker has been requested, according to BC Wildfire

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

COVID-19 outbreak at South Okanagan farm declared over

There continues to be other community exposure events in the Interior Health region

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: Revelstoke rallies to save snared eagle

Local climber scales tree to save the raptor

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Most Read