OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s Senate on Tuesday adopted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government’s budget bill, the final step in extending COVID-19 supports through the summer and ahead of a likely election in the fall.
Bill C-30 passed the Senate 63-to-19 late in the evening. Trudeau’s Liberals, who have a minority, last week pushed the bill through the House of Commons with the help of the opposition New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois.
The bill – Canada’s first budget in more than two years – contained extensions to key aid programs, such as the wage subsidy to help employers pay workers and supports to help businesses pay their rent.
Two other bills – criminalizing LGBT conversion therapy and regulating programming on streaming services like Netflix (NASDAQ:) – were referred back to committee, likely leaving them to be dealt with after the summer break.
The Senate, or upper chamber, added two sitting days this week to deal with a raft of bills approved by House lawmakers last week ahead of their summer break.
Critics have said the Liberals are trying to rush legislation ahead of a likely election in the fall.
Trudeau has publicly played down election talk, but sources told Reuters he was aiming for a September snap election to capitalize on Canada’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic. The hope would be to secure a majority.
Trudeau’s Liberals led the main opposition Conservatives 34% to 30% in a national poll released last week by Leger.
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