OTTAWA – The Liberal minority government has reached a deal with the New Democrats on a bill to support workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby gaining the support needed to survive a confidence vote on the speech of the Throne.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said on Friday the deal now includes expanding workers’ access to sick leave benefits during the pandemic. An item announced Thursday raises the issue of federal benefits for those unemployed by COVID-19 to $ 500 per week out of the $ 400 planned by the Liberals.
“I always said my goal was to find a way to fight for people, to get help and to provide that help to people and I’m really happy that we were able to achieve that,” Singh said. Friday at a press conference. on Parliament Hill.
The Liberal Throne Speech presented on Wednesday needs the support of at least one of the major opposition parties for the minority government to come up with a vote of confidence, otherwise Canada could head for a federal election as parts of the country are already in a second wave of the covid19 pandemic.
Singh had spelled out the conditions for winning his party’s support: a bill keeping weekly benefits at $ 500 and paid sick leave.
The Liberal government introduced a bill on Thursday and the NDP said it envisions a victory on its first claim, ensuring that unemployed Canadians continue to receive the same benefits provided under the Benefit. Canadian Emergency Response Center.
Now Singh has said the Liberals have agreed to expand access to paid sick leave in law as well.
“It will now be accessible to millions, rather than thousands,” Singh said on Friday, although he said he could not go into details.
The deal is on Bill C-2, which is due for two days of debate early next week, but it also likely means the NDP will end up voting with the Liberals on the Speech from the Throne. .
Singh has refrained from guaranteeing anything on this point, saying the NDP wants to make sure the Liberals come forward with agreed-upon changes to the bill first. But if they do, he said, the New Democrats will support the Liberals in the next confidence vote.
The Liberals also applauded the deal.
“We are entering the second wave and millions of Canadians are still struggling to make ends meet,” Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez said on Twitter on Friday.
“We now have an agreement with the NDP on a bill that will provide the help Canadians need. It is by working together that we will get through this pandemic.
The Conservatives have already said they would vote against the Speech from the Throne and the Bloc Québécois says they will lean that way unless the Liberals respond to the provinces’ demands to add billions to the annual federal health transfers. here next week.