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EI, child and long-term care to form federal throne speech as cabinet ministers gather

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Sep 11, 2020 at 11:59 am PDT

FILE - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc look on as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on parliament hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Summary

Federal cabinet ministers are set to debate some ambitious priorities for the throne speech

The focus of the speech is to lay out a new plan for the country to help the economy recover from the shock of COVID-19

Canadian climate strikers are threatening mass protests if the throne speech doesn't address greenhouse-gas emissions

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — From employment insurance to child care, federal cabinet ministers are set to debate some ambitious priorities for the throne speech, which is less than two weeks away.

Cabinet ministers are gathering in Ottawa next week to finalize the government’s recovery plan, to be laid out in the throne speech on Sept. 23.

The focus of the speech is to lay out a new plan to help the economy recover from the shock of COVID-19, and to fix the shortcomings of social supports that were exposed during the pandemic.

The CBC reports major investments in housing, making child care more widely available, more supports for long-term care, and making permanent changes to modernize the employment insurance program are all on the table for next week’s meeting.

As the government has signaled, there will be a focus on a green recovery, working environmental plans into ideas to stimulate and reshape the economy.

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However, sources tell the CBC the plan may not be as aggressive as first hoped, in order to keep the focus on the health, safety and employment of Canadians.

The throne speech is also expected to try and stress to Canadians that the recovery from COVID-19 will not be a sprint, but a marathon, and it will be a long time before a return to pre-pandemic economic levels.

“Together, we continue to face significant challenges, but also opportunities, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to meeting with cabinet to continue working on our plan to keep everyone safe and healthy, and to build a more resilient Canada – one that is fairer, greener, and more inclusive for everyone,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says in a release.

‘Fossil-fuel sector not throwing in towel’

Canada’s fossil-fuel sector is looking to this month’s throne speech for signs the federal government is not throwing in the towel on oil and gas.

At the same time, Canadian climate strikers are threatening mass protests if the same speech doesn’t show a plan to eliminate all greenhouse-gas emissions produced by human activities in less than a decade.

Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, says Trudeau can use the throne speech to send a signal to international investors that Canada’s oil and gas industry is a solid opportunity for investment.

He says the planned clean-fuel standard meant to force oil and gas companies to emit less greenhouse gas is out of whack with Canada’s main competitors for that investment and if the new standard isn’t postponed, many companies will simply not be able to comply.

Earlier this year Ottawa scaled back the requirements of the standard over the first few years to give companies more time to recover from the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, but McMillan says that is not enough.

Trudeau is also, however, facing pressure from thousands of Canadian youth in the Climate Strike Canada movement, who say the throne speech is Trudeau’s “last chance” to convince them he really is a climate-change leader.