Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has unveiled an “ambitious plan for an unprecedented reality” amid soaring Covid-19 cases.
Its broad new legislative agenda includes new investments and initiatives to help the country recover from the pandemic.
He came with a pledge to support Canadians “during this crisis as long as it lasts, whatever the cost.”
Opposition parties criticized the liberals’ plan.
Conservatives said they lacked commitment to restraint and failed to meet the needs of “average Canadians”.
The four-pronged approach to the pandemic and recovery was introduced Wednesday by Governor-General Julie Payette, the Queen’s representative to Canada, in a speech from the throne.
Trudeau warned Canadians in a televised address after the speech that the second wave of the pandemic was “already underway.”
“We are on the verge of a fall that could be much worse than spring,” he said.
What are some promises?
The liberal federal government said it will work with the Canadian provinces to improve testing capacity.
There have also been pledges to help the economic recovery, including a plan to create more than 1 million jobs, a commitment to extend wage subsidies until next summer, and support for industries hardest hit by Covid-19, such as travel, tourism and hospitality. Sectors.
There has been a promise of a major, long-term investment in childcare, which some economists see as key to helping women return fully to the workforce.
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Long-term care homes were particularly hard hit early in the pandemic in Canada, highlighting issues of inadequate care within the system. The letter included commitments to implementing national standards of care and stricter penalties for neglect.
She described climate initiatives as a “cornerstone” of recovery efforts, including the creation of green jobs.
Canada’s chief public health official said this week that the country has been at a “crossroads” due to the acceleration of the national count of Covid-19 cases.
Last week, about 1,100 cases were reported per day on average, compared to 380 cases reported per day in mid-August.
There were more than 146,000 cases in Canada and more than 9,200 deaths.
What was the reaction?
While the speech did not include specific spending commitments – these will come later – it said, “This is not a time for austerity.”
The rhetoric was quickly criticized by the opposition conservatives for failing to include more support for small businesses and measures to control government spending, and address issues of national unity.
Earlier this year, Canada projected its largest budget deficit since World War II – $ 343 billion Canadian, with more than $ 212 billion in direct support for Covid-19.
“We support the Canadians, but there has to be some financial stability,” Conservative MP Candice Bergen said.
The Bloc Quebecois said the plan does not respect territorial jurisdiction over healthcare and has not addressed the counties’ request to increase healthcare transfers.
Trudeau’s liberals formed a minority government last fall, when they won more seats than any other party in a general election, but failed to secure an overall majority in Parliament.
The speech will prompt a vote of confidence in the House of Commons – a key test of whether the current government enjoys the “confidence” of the majority.
The liberals will need the support of at least one other federal political party to avoid the possibility of an early election. That vote could happen as early as next week.
New Democratic Party leader Jagmit Singh said on Wednesday that his party has yet to decide whether or not to support the government.
He said the National Democratic Party will push for more support for Canadian workers who have lost work due to the pandemic and for paid sick leave.
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