“The economic impact of COVID-19 on Canadians has already been worse than the financial crisis of 2008. These consequences will not be short-lived,” Governor General Julie Payette said, reading the speech in the Senate.
“Now is not the time for austerity. “
Wage subsidy to be extended
The government promises to expand support for struggling businesses and extend the wage subsidy program until next summer. The program, which aims to keep employees on the payroll to ensure a smooth economic transition after the pandemic, covers 75 percent of employee salaries, up to $ 847 per week.
The extension of the wage subsidy is part of the government’s wish to create one million jobs, which would bring employment back to pre-pandemic levels. He also promises to “develop” his strategy to help young people acquire skills and find jobs.
The speech said tackling the climate change crisis will be a “cornerstone” of the government’s plan and pledges to create jobs by renovating homes and buildings while lowering energy costs for families and businesses.
“Building a stronger and more resilient country is no small task. It will take hard work. It will take a commitment to find common ground, ”Payette read in the speech.
As Canada entered the pandemic in a strong financial position, unemployment is now in double digits and underemployment is high, Payette said, adding that women, racialized Canadians and young people have suffered the most. job losses.
The government also signaled a plan to make a “significant, lasting and lasting investment” in a national early learning and child care system.
“Many women have courageously served on the front lines of this crisis, in our communities or by shouldering the burden of unpaid care work at home,” Payette said as he read the speech.
“We must not let the legacy of the pandemic be a flashback on the participation of women in the workforce, nor a flashback on the social and political gains that women and their allies fought for. so hard to get. “
National standards for long-term care
The government is also committed to tackling the inadequate care and dire conditions in some long-term care facilities – conditions that have been exposed by the pandemic. He says he will work with provinces and territories to set national standards of care and to provide additional support for people who wish to stay in their homes longer.
“Seniors deserve to be safe, respected and to live with dignity,” said Payette. “While long-term care falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories, the federal government will take all possible measures to support seniors while working alongside the provinces and territories.
The government also promises to work on amending the Criminal Code to punish those who neglect and endanger the seniors in their care.
The government is also considering a new disability benefit, modeled on the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for seniors, as well as a new employment strategy for people with disabilities.
The government promises to tackle systemic racism against racialized communities and Indigenous peoples by cracking down on hate online, improving data collection, and implementing an action plan for diversity hires in the public service.
These are also promising changes to help eliminate discrimination in police services and the justice system.
Earlier today, the federal Conservatives said they were looking for signs that the Liberal government will take action to limit spending and unite Canadians in today’s Speech from the Throne.
Deputy Conservative Leader Candice Bergen and Conservative House Leader Gerard Deltell held a press conference ahead of today’s speech, which is now being delivered by Governor General Julie Payette, to outline their expectations for the priorities of the government.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh will answer on behalf of his party, as will Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois. Blanchet tested positive for COVID-19, along with his wife. O’Toole’s wife, Rebecca O’Toole, also tested positive.
- CBC News has special coverage of Parliament Hill in Ottawa which began at 1:30 p.m. ET.
- CBC News will also broadcast the Prime Minister’s speech live to the nation at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by analysis and response.
- Watch, listen and follow LIVE on cbcnews.ca, the CBC News app, CBC TV, CBC News Network, CBC Gem and CBC Radio, as well as on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Bergen said emergency spending was needed to help Canadians weather the pandemic crisis that has closed businesses and thrown millions of people out of work – but the government now needs to better manage the country’s finances and take control of ‘a growing deficit.
“We think support is needed, but there must be budget cuts,” she said. “We would like to see budget management and an indication that the government understands this and will begin to manage the country’s finances responsibly. ”
Deltell said emergency measures were needed, but the Liberal government engaged in “superfluous” spending, announcing new funds “every day, every week.”
Bergen said liberal policies had failed to help many sectors, including manufacturing, fishing and forestry. She said they also pitted Canadians against one another and that she was looking for a Liberal promise to unite Canadians with a message of hope.
Ethical controversy boils
The Speech from the Throne comes as the Liberal government tries to overcome an ethical controversy over the government’s decision to contract WE Charity to run a student volunteer grant program. Trudeau did not recuse himself from talks about the contract, even though members of his family had close ties to the organization.
Parliament reopens today after Trudeau prorogued Parliament last month. At the time, the prime minister said the move was necessary to reset a government program derailed by the global pandemic.
The session begins with a scaled-down Speech from the Throne ceremony involving a smaller number of participants in the Senate Chamber, due to physical distancing rules.
Deltell said that while Canadians do not want an election right now, the Conservatives will not support the government if it fails to address the core priorities of the Speech from the Throne. A vote of confidence on the speech could trigger an election.
“If it’s bad for Canadians… we won’t support it,” Deltell said.
The Conservatives are also pushing for more money for health transfers to the provinces, as well as for rapid testing to detect COVID-19, as some jurisdictions struggle with long waits for testing.
Deltell asked why Trudeau was giving a speech to the nation on the same day as the Speech from the Throne, suggesting that it might be intended to gain maximum media attention and distract people from government failures.
The PM must “push” people to act
Samir Gupta, a pulmonologist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said he hopes the Prime Minister “pushes people to act” as COVID-19 infections rise across the country. He said Trudeau should not put the crisis to sleep and should ask Canadians to make sacrifices to save lives.
“It can go awry very easily,” he told CBC News Network.
On Tuesday, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said Canada was at a crossroads in its battle against the pandemic and that the behavior of Canadians would decide whether there was a massive spike in upcoming COVID-19 cases.
Presenting a new modeling of infection projections, she warned that if Canadians do not step up preventive measures, the virus could spread uncontrollably and trigger a wave of infections larger than the first.
New cases are projected to climb to more than 5,000 a day by October, about triple the number recorded by the country in the spring.
“With minimal controls, the virus can reach a very sharp and intense peak because most Canadians are not immune to the virus,” Tam said.