Call For A Stronger & More Resilient Canada

Governor-General Julie Payette delivers the Throne Speech. Pic: Government of Canada

OTTAWA: Governor-General Julie Payette in her Speech from the Throne to open the Second Session of the Forty-Third Parliament of Canada on Wednesday said the path forward for the country was based on four foundations.

The first foundation of this plan is to fight the pandemic and save lives.

The second foundation is supporting people and businesses through this crisis as long as it lasts, whatever it takes. Effectively dealing with the health crisis is the best thing we can do for the economy.

Government action has already helped Canadians stay safe, and buffered the worst economic impacts.

The third foundation is to build back better to create a stronger, more resilient Canada. “To do this, we must keep strengthening the middle class and helping people working hard to join it, and continue creating jobs and building long-term competitiveness with clean growth”.

The fourth and final foundation of this plan is to stand up for who we are as Canadians. “We cannot forget what has made us a country that is welcoming. A country that celebrates two official languages.

That achieves progress on gender equality, walks the road of reconciliation, and fights discrimination of every kind.”

She said: “This is our generation’s crossroads.” In an address to the Nation that followed the Throne Speech, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stressed the same points saying that

“When it comes to our health, the economy, jobs, equality, and the environment, we must take bold action.”

Trudeau said that “Canada is at a crossroads as COVID-19 cases spike in some provinces, and with pandemic conditions in the fall expected to be worse than what the country endured when the crisis was just beginning.

“I know that the fight against COVID-19 has been difficult for all Canadians over the last six months. For too many people it is a question of life and death. And for all of us, collectively, it is the fight of our generation. During the spring, we all worked together and we managed to bring down COViD-19. The second wave isn’t just starting, it’s already underway. The numbers are clear. however, the [tide] is turning.”

There was also a promise to expand supports for struggling businesses and to extend the wage subsidy program until next summer.

That program, which aims to keep employees on the payroll to ensure a smooth post-pandemic economic transition, covers 75 percent of employee wages for the initial claim period — up to $847 a week — before being gradually reduced in subsequent claim periods.

The broader Canada emergency wage Subsidy will be extended through the next summer to help businesses overcome the burden the pandemic.

The government also again promised a transitional Canada Recovery Benefit for those who won’t qualify for benefits under the newly expanded employment insurance system that is to replace the Canada emergency Response Benefit by the end of this month.

Trudeau elaborated: “The Government will launch a campaign to create over one million jobs by using a range of tools, including direct investments in the social sector and infrastructure, immediate training to quickly skill up workers, and incentives to hire and retain workers.”

Trudeau added: “whether you’re a young person looking for paid work experience, a woman hoping to get back into the workforce, a parent seeking better care for your kids, or a business owner adapting for the future, we’ll make sure you can get the support you need.”

The Governor-General thanked the workers on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19:

“ We owe an immense debt to those who served and still serve on the frontlines, to health care personnel and essential workers, women and men in uniform, volunteers and leaders, everywhere in the country. “There has been a lot of suffering and we all mourn those who have passed.

we trust science to lead the fight until a safe and effective vaccine becomes available. But until then, we must keep our guard up, using the tools that are available to us now – such as testing, treatments, and physical distancing measures.

This pandemic is the most serious public health crisis Canada has ever faced. Over 9,000 Canadians have died in six months.

For our neighbors in the United States, this figure is over 200,000. Globally, it’s nearly a million. But these aren’t just numbers. These are friends and family. Neighbors and colleagues.

The last six months have laid bare fundamental gaps in our society, and in societies around the world.

This pandemic has been hard for everyone. But for those who were already struggling, the burden has been even heavier.

Trudeau said: “To keep you safe, we’ll work with researchers and scientists on vaccines and treatments. we’ll make sure front line workers have the personal protective equipment they need. And we’ll work with the provinces and territories to increase testing capacity

“Addressing hate speech online, providing more economic support for specific communities, and increasing diversity in public procurement are all on the liberals’ agenda.

As Black Canadians and indigenous people are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, the government promised to take steps to ensure that criminal justice is used to keep people safe, and not to be discriminatory or counterproductive.

The Government will continue to have people’s backs just like Canadians have each other’s backs. The liberal Government also pledged to address inadequate care and dire conditions in some long-term care facilities — conditions that were exposed by the pandemic. it said it will work with the provinces and territories to establish national standards of care, and to provide additional supports to people who want to stay in their homes longer.

“elders deserve to be safe, respected, and live in dignity,” Governor-General Payette said.

“The federal government will take any action it can to support seniors while working alongside the provinces and territories.”