“Circumstances dictate that this is not a normal year, so it should not be a normal Speech from the Throne,” said Melissa Lantsman, vice president of public affairs at Enterprise and Conservative strategist.
The leaders of the two largest opposition parties in the House of Commons are both isolated after testing positive for the coronavirus, while parliamentarians and political staff will navigate physical distance, limits on the number of members allowed in the chamber and new ways to outrun voting.
For this reason, neither Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole nor Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet should deliver the normal opposition response speeches to the Speech from the Throne until they are out of the House. isolation and able to return physically to the House of Commons.
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This makes the timing of such a vote on the Speech from the Throne – a confidence motion – unclear and sources say there is no agreement between federal parties on when this vote could take place. .
There are also unresolved questions about exactly how the next sitting of the House of Commons will unfold and to what extent Canadians are prepared to tolerate increasing levels of deficit.
The emergency coronavirus response has pushed that amount to $ 343 billion, prompting Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux to warn that it will be ‘unsustainable’ if not canceled within one or two years.
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Lantsman said massive federal debt is a growing concern for Canadians who have seen the need for emergency spending but are increasingly looking for a plan to bring it back under control as the pandemic continues with no end in sight, and the public health forecast could last. several years.
“I think what Canadians are watching is that we are a little uncertain about the virus, we are a little uncertain about the future and we are a little uncertain about the government of the day and its ability to make us experience this. a way we think we can be confident in the next 18 months – or frankly, even the next six, ”she says.
“We have to find a way to wean off the incredible amount of spending. It was necessary at the time, but it must end.
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Trudeau prorogued Parliament last month and has spoken in recent weeks about the need for a new plan and an “ambitious” vision for the country’s future.
But it raises questions about how much he might be willing to spend on vision and programming not directly related to the pandemic, Lantsman added.
She said the tone will need to strike the right balance between presenting a plan to help Canadians and being seen as using a crisis to promote partisan goals.
“I’m not sure this is the best place for pet projects,” she says.
“If it’s big and grand and rethinking the future of the country, I think it’s too too fast.
NDP strategist and director of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, Kiavash Najafi, disagreed.
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He said he expects the NDP to highlight the need to use the crisis as an opportunity to tackle inequalities and major system barriers to the workforce.
Guaranteed income and better child care are two possible examples, he suggested.
“It’s a moment of transformation,” he said. “Let’s not minimize how important this is and how it will impact the livelihoods of many Canadians,” Najafi said.
“The need for immediate and bold action is there. At the same time, it is an opportunity. A return to normal is not enough. “
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As is often the case too, communications will be one of the government’s great challenges, added a Liberal strategist.
“They have never been very successful from a communications point of view, sending the key messages, » said Greg MacEachern, senior vice president of Proof Strategies and Liberal strategist.
He said the Liberals should look for ways to include things in the Speech from the Throne that appeal not only to the New Democratic Party or the Greens – two often allies – but also to the Conservatives.
“If there were things the government can point out and say, the Conservatives specifically asked for it and it is reflected in the speech, I think it would be a document that would be considered a success,” he said. he says.
MacEachern also noted the strong working relationship the federal government has established with the Progressive Conservative government of Ontario under the leadership of Premier Doug Ford.
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With the difficult realities facing Canadians, the last thing voters want to see is partisanship, he said.
“A year ago this time, they were declared political enemies. Today, the Premier and Premier of Ontario are hosting events together, ”said MacEachern.
“There’s a reason this is happening… Canadians really don’t have a lot of time for partisan wars right now. They want to see everyone rowing in the same direction.
Special coverage of the Speech from the Throne by Global News is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Trudeau will address the nation in a televised speech on all major networks at 6:30 p.m.
With files from David Akin and Bryan Mullan of Global News.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.