As promised earlier today here is a brief summary of this afternoon's Federal Throne Speech. It was long and there were a lot of promises - it's also important to remember that the speech lists out what the Liberals would like to do - not everything will get done and details still need to be released on how programs would work and what specifics they would entail.
Prior to the speech CTV National News cited a recent survey of Canadians and the survey identified that the following are the two main priorities right now for Canadians:
1. Health - fighting the pandemic, finding a vaccine and improving testing and contact tracing
2. Keeping people and businesses financially afloat especially if we enter into a second wave.
So the highlights from the speech:
There were two statements that certainly stood out for me:
"People shouldn't take on debt that the government can better shoulder:" And, "Small businesses are the backbone of our economy."
With these two statements in mind here is what the Liberals said in terms of health/covid and financial help for people and businesses:
- Continue work to find a vaccine
- Work with the Provinces to increase testing and contact tracing
- Launch a Federal Testing Response Team that would be deployed to areas experiencing a surge
- If regional short-term lock downs have to take place due to increased Covid cases then the Liberals are proposing financial help to businesses that need to do short-term closures.
Financial Assistance for Businesses and People
- Liberals are proposing that the Wage Subsidy program be extended through to the summer of 2021.
- CERB will be switched over to an EI program and they will create a Canadian Recovery Benefit program that will be a transitional program for those who are not normally eligible for EI.
- Extend the Canadian Emergency Business Account - this is the loan program
There was no mention of a new program to replace CECRA for businesses - which is most disappointing. Extending the loan program is not the best help - as businesses have been saying for months, adding to their growing debt is not what they need right now. And it certainly doesn't align with the above statement about people taking on debt that the government can better shoulder. Keeping the wage subsidy program going through to next summer is good but we will need to see how much they are willing to cover. Currently this program has started its reduced payment plan.
There were many other things covered in the speech which you all can read on your own. At the end of speech the Conservative Party stated that they wouldn't support the speech, the NDP is undecided at this point, and the Bloc Quebecois party is unhappy but I'm not sure if they will support or not.
And finally I noticed an announcement from Premier Ford that he will be allowing 60 pharmacies in Ontario to start doing covid tests beginning this Friday.
The Prime Minister will address the nation at 6:30pm tonight.