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Federal government promises national child care system in throne speech

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Sep 23, 2020 at 7:01 pm PDT

Summary

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised a national child care system as part of Wednesday's federal throne speech

The Liberals also committed to extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program until next summer

The throne speech also included a goal of ending homelessness in the country by creating affordable housing

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised a national child care system as part of Wednesday’s federal throne speech.

The Liberals also committed to extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program until next summer and creating a million jobs, as well as accelerating national long-term care standards and a national pharmacare program. The long-term care initiative would make it a crime to neglect seniors under care.

“This is not the time for austerity,” Gov. Gen. Julie Payette said in the Senate as she delivered the speech, which outlined plans to create a federal Testing Assistance Response Team for COVID-19 as complaints mount about long line-ups.

The government wants to fix gaps in social programs and will create a “Canada-wide, early learning and childcare system,” she added.

The throne speech also included a goal of ending homelessness in the country by creating affordable housing, and plans to create legislation to address systemic racism in Canada.

“Given the progress that has been made, and our commitment to do more, the government is now focused on entirely eliminating chronic homelessness in Canada,” Payette said.

Over the next two years, the government also plans to invest in infrastructure, such as public transit, energy-efficient retrofits, clean energy, and rural broadband.

Furthermore, Trudeau’s government promised a new benefit for people with disabilities, and to make the largest investment in Canadian history in training for workers, along with a plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal and legislate the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Right now, we have an opportunity to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and build back better,” Trudeau says in a tweet. “When it comes to our health, the economy, jobs, equality, and the environment, we must take bold action.”

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There will be a confidence vote on the throne speech, which opens every new session of Parliament and introduces the government’s direction and goals and how it will work to achieve them. The Liberals need support from at least one of the major opposition parties in order to survive as a government.

The Conservative Party will not be supporting the throne speech. Deputy Conservative Leader Candice Bergen said the no-vote will be over debt concerns.

“The prime minister needs to know that when the government racks debt, that is the people who are going to have to pay it,” she added.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the throne speech was full of empty words and broken promises, and that his party will take some time before deciding whether to support it.

“Today, the government delivered a throne speech filled with talk about nice things. But a throne speech is just words on paper. And this prime minister has shown us over and over that his actions don’t match his empty words,” Singh says.

“Justin Trudeau has not matched his big promises with real action to help people through this pandemic and into the recovery. Every step of the way, we had to fight for people and convince the government to work with us to deliver the help people need.”

On funding to help the safe return to school, on income support for people who lost work, on help for seniors and people living with a disability or students or small businesses, Singh adds the Liberals needed to be convinced to help people.

“Throughout this crisis, people have struggled to stay employed and to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table for their families. Yet, at every step, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government have not matched their promises with real action to help people,” Singh says.

“It doesn’t need to be this way,”

He adds New Democrats are focused on health care, jobs and the environment.

Trudeau followed the throne speech with a rare address to the nation, something usually reserved for times of crisis, and declared a second wave of COVID-19 in the country’s four most populous provinces.