OTTAWA – How the Liberal government expects to ride the coming second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic will turn out to be clear today as it spreads out a three-pronged methodology in a long-awaited discourse from the throne certain to establish the pace for the coming a long time in Parliament.
In what’s required to be an address lasting as long as an hour, Gov. Gen. Julie Payette will detail the administration’s plans in three areas: dealing with the urgent crisis of the current surge in cases, continuing and changing support for Canadians and businesses still not back on their feet, and what will come once the economy is better able to stand on its own.
With national case counts rising, public federal health officials have clarified that if further public health and personal action isn’t made to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, the lockdowns which paralyzed the country for much of the first half of 2020 may be the only option.
Those lockdowns saw federal spending soar to historic levels in an effort to offset the pandemic’s crushing blow to Canadians’ lives and livelihoods.
Billions of dollars were pushed out the door to help cover salaries, rents, the purchase of life-saving equipment and other targeted supports.
It all came just months after the Liberals had won a minority government and forced them to rip up much of the policy playbook they’d put before Canadians during the election.
That was the justification Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used in August when he requested that Parliament be prorogued to allow for a reset of priorities.
Just ahead of that decision, his government had announced a massive new aid package creating new benefits, including paid sick leave, and expanded employment insurance as part of the phase-out of an emergency benefit put into place in the early days of the pandemic. The measures require legislation that will be put before Parliament in the coming days.
Trudeau will reinforce those plans in a nationally-televised address scheduled for tonight, as he also urges Canadians to be resolute in their efforts to combat the pandemic.
Though in the early days of the crisis he’d addressed Canadians daily from outside his home, a pivot to an evening televised speech was made to underscore the threat Canadians currently face of a coming wave.
The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh has already said he wants to see the promised legislation on EI changes but is concerned too many people will still fall through the gaps, while Blanchet is looking for more money on health care for the provinces.
O’Toole – who has been Conservative Leader for just a month – has signalled he wants to see concrete action to address the concerns of the West, and for expanded support for businesses.
The pandemic will also make itself felt in a marked downscaling of the pageantry that normally accompanies a throne speech.
Photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
News source: The Canadian Press