Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlined his government’s plans to ramp up its coronavirus response as the country heads into fall with case numbers in many regions rising at alarming rates.
In a live televised address to the nation on Wednesday afternoon, Trudeau explained several items that appeared in his government’s throne speech to Parliament earlier that day.
He spoke of much-needed social supports to get people through the pandemic, and addressed concerns about overspending by saying interest rates are low right now, and that failing to invest in recovery plans could result in larger deficits down the line.
“Doing less would end up costing far more,” he said. “We don’t want you … to take on debt that your government can better shoulder.”
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Today’s throne speech included a pledge to create one million jobs, more money for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, and making the country more resilient by greening the economy and investing in a national childcare strategy.
The House of Commons will vote on whether they have confidence in the throne speech sometime in the coming days. Support from opposition parties is essential for Trudeau’s minority government to remain in power.
Conservative Party of Canada leader Erin O’Toole didn’t address the speech directly, but in a pre-recorded address to Canadians from his Ottawa home he mentioned he wants to see more specific supports targeted for small businesses.
Daily Hive has reached out to the party to ask if it plans on supporting the throne speech.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh also responded, saying he wants more action from the Liberals on a national pharmacare and a national child care strategy and wants a national paid sick day plan added to the government’s goals.
Today, the government’s throne speech was full of promises we’ve heard before
A throne speech is just words on paper & this PM has shown us that his actions don’t match his empty words
It doesn’t need to be this way
New Democrats will keep fighting for you & the help you need pic.twitter.com/qTzmV10o1d
— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) September 23, 2020
Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet said he wants to see a commitment from Trudeau to increase health transfers to provinces. Health care is a provincial government responsibility, but the federal government chips in with payments known as health transfers to each province.
Trudeau also spoke to Canadians directly, asking them to do their part to fight the pandemic.
“The second wave isn’t just starting, it’s already underway,” he said, as the country has recorded an average of more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases every day this week.
He asked Canadians to continue wearing masks, download the COVID Alert app, and limit their social contacts.
“It’s all too likely we won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving,” he said. “But we still have a shot at Christmas.”