Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday September 25, 2020
Feds begin new sitting by boosting COVID-19 recovery benefit
The federal government has announced it is increasing one of a trio of promised new COVID-19 aid benefits, to be equivalent to the amount received through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit that will expire at the end of the month, a move that may have secured the political support needed for the Liberal minority to stay afloat.
Kicking off the first full day of the new parliamentary session, the Liberals tabled Bill C-2 to implement the new benefits, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal minority seeks opposition support to avoid a snap election during a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The House of Commons began its as-normal-as-possible sitting for the first time since the pandemic put a pause on regular business back in March. Debate in response to Wednesday’s speech from the throne will continue throughout the day, offering more MPs time to speak to whether they liked what they heard, and if it’ll be enough for them to support the government in a confidence vote.
The minority Liberals will need to garner at least some support for the throne speech from across the aisle, or risk seeing their government fall. Early indications were that this support, may not be as secure as the Liberals might like. The Liberals currently hold 154 seats, the Conservatives have 121, the Bloc Québécois hold 32, the NDP have 24, the Green Party has three and there are two Independents and two vacancies.
The speech fixated primarily on how to keep supporting Canadians financially through COVID-19, while repairing inequalities the pandemic has exposed. Billed as “an ambitious plan for an unprecedented reality,” it included a commitment to keep up certain business aid benefits, to create a national child care and job creation plan, and emphasized that Canada has to tackle climate change, systemic racism, and gender inequity.
With the Conservatives already ardently against the speech, and the Bloc Quebecois sounding like they haven’t seen enough yet, but could come around if billions in new health funding is sent to the provinces, the Liberals are looking to the NDP for support.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh had said right after the throne speech that he wanted to see CERB extended and a form of paid sick leave implemented. (CTV)