It could be the beginning of the end or the start of a new beginning.

The federal budget will be released later today by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and with next year's election creeping ever closer, there is no shortage of issues to address.

One of them is budgeting the benefit and by that I mean, the Canada Disability Benefit.

Billed as a life-changer for persons with disabilities, the benefit was discussed for years and first introduced prior to the 2021 election, before finally being passed into law in 2023.

The only problem?

It is a benefit without a buck — there is still no funding allocated to it.

With nearly two million disabled Canadians living in poverty, getting the benefit into their hands is not just a matter of financial survival, but also of regaining trust in a government that has promised for years to deliver.

Likewise, the government has fallen behind in supporting the fastest-growing demographic in the country.

Canada's senior population has tripled since the 1980s and is expected to increase by another three million within the next two decades.

If Prime Minister #JustinTrudeau and his Liberals want to stay in power, they need a bold #budget2024 that shows Canadians their government will take big steps to support them after all, writes @SpencerVanCity @Disability_WP #cdnpoli

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pointed the finger, claiming provinces are failing seniors.

That is very arguably true, but is he one to talk?

The last time his government increased Old Age Security, it effectively created a two-class system and excluded Canadians aged 65 to 74 from the much-needed raise.

That is over three million people, many of whom survive on fixed incomes, struggle with rising costs and are increasingly represented in the homeless population.

While there have been steps towards helping provinces offer more home-care options for seniors, such as providing B.C.’s government with funding for this purpose, these must be as a supplement, not a substitute, for direct support that all seniors receive.

That brings me to my next point: the federal government must step up as a leader and partner.

Despite some healthy interaction between the feds and the provinces, their relationship over the past few years has generally been tense and plagued by lost opportunities for collaboration.

This is particularly true in health care, where capacity must increase drastically as the population ages, and housing, which the federal government once funded more robustly.

When Canadians face crises on multiple fronts, they deserve better than buck-passing, blame-gaming and an inability to make deals that meet public needs.

And I could go on.

Our economy has also sputtered, affordability has plummeted to record lows and nearly one in five children now grows up in poverty, setting them up for roadblocks as they age into adulthood.

But the point remains the same: It is high time for the federal government to be bold, not only for Canadians but for their own survival.

Support for the Conservative Party of Canada is surging.

Is this because Canadians have undergone major ideological transformation in the last few years?

Unlikely, and it remains to be seen if Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives would do a better job of governing anyway.

But after years of looking to the federal government for support that failed to materialize, it is inevitable that people would place their hopes elsewhere.

If Trudeau, Freeland and Co. want any hope of staying in power after the next election, they need a bold budget that shows Canadians their government will take big steps to support them after all.

We will soon find out if they deliver.

Spencer van Vloten is a nationally published writer and community advocate. He is a recipient of the BC Medal of Good Citizenship, Vancouver Excellence Award, and was the Rick Hansen Foundation's Difference Maker of the Year. You can find more of his work at or follow him on X at @SpencerVanCity