A look at some of the smaller items in Wednesday's federal budget


Published on March 22, 2017

OTTAWA — Some miscellaneous measures from the federal budget handed down Wednesday:

— The budget allocates $9.6 million in existing money for marijuana "education programming and surveillance activities" ahead of the federal Liberal plan to legalize cannabis, which is expected later this spring. It also says it's going to tax marijuana and tie those taxes to inflation to ensure they keep rising. The government is already looking at potential ways to test motorists whom police suspect of being impaired by marijuana.

— Naxalone, a drug which can be a lifesaver in cases of opioid overdose, will no longer be subject to GST, the government says. When the drug was only available by prescription, it was exempt from the sales tax, but the prescription requirement has been dropped for use in emergencies. Wednesday's federal budget eliminates the GST requirement.

— Some elected officials, including members of provincial and territorial legislatures, will lose a tax break under the new budget. Non-accountable expense allowances, which had been tax-free, will now be included in income for tax purposes. Expenses accounted for with receipts will still be tax-free.

— The budget is proposing a competition among cities to come up with ideas for making municipalities better places to live. Infrastructure Canada will get $300 million over 11 years to launch what is called the Smart Cities Challenge Fund. It proposes that cities compete to come up ways to use greener buildings, smart roads and energy systems and better digital connections to improve the quality of life.

— The federal government, criticized for dragging its feet on judicial appointments at a time of increasing delays in the court system, is proposing to add 28 new federally appointed judges. The budget allocated $55 million over five years, with $15.5 million a year after that, to pay for new Superior Court judges. It said some of the new positions will help alleviate court congestion in Alberta and Yukon, in particular.

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The Canadian Press