OTTAWA – The Liberal government is requesting that Parliament quickly track its most recent COVID-19 economic recovery package.
Government House pioneer Pablo Rodriguez proposed Monday to limit debate on the bill which sets up greater adaptability to meet all requirements for employment insurance.
It would likewise set up three new benefits for Canadians who won’t meet all requirements for EI yet are as yet affected by the financial emergency generated by COVID-19.
The Liberals secured NDP support for the legislation last week by increasing the amount of those benefits to $500, from $400.
That includes a Canada Recovery Benefit for self-employed and gig workers who still won’t qualify for EI, as well as sick leave and caregiver benefits for workers who have to stay home because they or someone they care for have to stay home temporarily because of COVID-19.
The $500 a week will equal what was paid out under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which the Liberals introduced last spring as millions of Canadians lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Because CERB expired over the weekend, the new bill will need to pass quickly in order for Canadians to begin applying for the new benefits. Applications for the recovery benefit are to open Oct. 11 and, for the other two benefits, on Oct. 4.
It comes as the House resumed Monday morning for the first full week of operations for the pandemic Parliament, and as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the country’s two biggest provinces.
Debate on the government’s throne speech will also continue this week, with speeches expected by both Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, both of whom have been quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19.
O’Toole’s response to the speech from the throne will be his first statement in the Commons since becoming party leader just over a month ago.
O’Toole used his victory speech as a new Conservative leader last month to focus on how he’d expand the so-called “big blue tent” and make the party relevant beyond its base.
His throne speech reply will recast that approach as a pitch to the country as a whole.
Yet while his first comments in the House of Commons as Tory leader will be important, grand speeches delivered on the floor of the Commons matter less in the digital era, suggested Ginny Roth of Crestview Strategies.
Even as O’Toole was stuck in his basement, the party was pushing out video clips in a bid to introduce him more broadly to the country.
O’Toole’s remarks in the Commons will draw on his experiences waiting to be tested for — and ultimately diagnosed with — COVID-19. But he’ll also use the opportunity to set a tone for how he’ll seek to lead the official Opposition in the coming months and win the country in the eventual next election.
Photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
News source: The Canadian Press