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Liberals unveil sweeping plan for current and future challenges

Last Updated Sep 23, 2020 at 1:01 pm MST

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – The minority Liberal government has unveiled what it calls an “ambitious plan for an unprecedented reality” that pledges to create over one million jobs and expand or introduce benefit programs and supports for nearly every sector of society.

But while Wednesday’s throne speech makes it clear the Liberals intend to make good on earlier promises to combat climate change, economic inequality and systemic racism, they’re also acknowledging that not much can be done if the COVID-19 pandemic is not brought under control.

Direct measures to combat the possibility of a second wave drowning the country include promises to help boost testing capacity and targeted support to businesses ordered shut by local public health authorities.

In the meantime, they’re pledging an expansion of the employment insurance system, extending the federal wage subsidy program through to next summer and more money for some of Canada’s hardest-hit sectors.

They’ll also get to work on new national strategies for child care, long-term care homes, a disability benefits program and legislation for their goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

The suite of promises comes without a price tag and few timelines, with the Liberals saying the course of events will determine what gets done when, and that they’ll make protecting and supporting Canadians their top priority.

More to come.