OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — The federal government has reached a deal that will see the opposition NDP support this week’s throne speech.
That means the government won’t fall on a non-confidence vote.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh had demanded the Liberals maintain financial supports for out-of-work Canadians and make sick leave more available.
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) September 25, 2020
The government already made changes to ensure those switching to employment insurance when the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit ends will continue to receive $500 a week.
“There is a time crunch,” Singh said of the bill getting passed through the House of Commons.
“Because the Liberal government poorly planned out their shutting down a parliament and bringing in the throne speech now just days before CERB is going to end, we need to speed up the passage of this legislation so that it gets in place quickly and so that there’s not a break in support for families that need the support,” he added.
“So, yes, a part of the agreement is to make sure this passes very quickly so that the help can get out to Canadians right away.”
Singh hopes it can be passed within one or two days.
The federal Liberals introduced legislation Thursday that included a package of three benefits and an expanded employment insurance program to support Canadians through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislation includes a plan to increase weekly benefits for unemployed workers to $500 a week, up from the $400 proposed in August. That would bring the value of the payments on par with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which is set to end this weekend.
The $37-billion package also includes benefits for anyone staying home because they’re ill or taking care of a child or family member due to pandemic-related reasons.
The Conservatives have been vocal about their opposition to the throne speech, which was delivered on Wednesday and made promises of a national childcare system, extension of the wage subsidy, a national long-term care standard, and speeding up the creation of national pharmacare.
Conservative deputy leader Candice Bergen said the party can’t support the throne speech because it fails to address the priorities of the country.
The Bloc Quebecois has also raised its doubts when it comes to the promises outlined in the speech.
The confidence vote is to take place early next month. The Liberals need support from one of the other major parties to avert a federal election.
The throne speech 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 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.