OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — The federal government will deliver its speech from the throne Wednesday, to unveil its much-anticipated roadmap to get the country through a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and kickstart the economy.
The throne speech will be delivered by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, and start at 11 a.m. (2 p.m. ET)
With a surge in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed his government will prioritize health measures while supporting Canadians and the economy.
“Keeping ourselves safe, but also getting through the challenge even better than before,” he said.
Public federal health officials have made it clear that if further public health and personal action isn’t taken to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, the lockdowns which paralyzed the country for much of the first half of 2020 may be the only option.
Those lockdowns saw federal spending soar to historic levels in an effort to offset the pandemic’s crushing blow to Canadians’ lives and livelihoods.
Billions of dollars were pushed out the door to help cover salaries, rents, the purchase of life-saving equipment, and other targeted supports.
It all came just months after the Liberals had won a minority government and forced them to rip up much of the policy playbook they’d put before Canadians during the election.
The Liberal government is expected to outline three pillars: immediate health care spending, measures to support Canadians, and a green recovery plan.
Expectations include commitments to invest in vaccines, COVID-19 testing and efforts to contain the virus, as well as measures to fix social programs like employment insurance, childcare, and long-term care. Strategies for a green recovery include focusing on electric vehicles and building retrofits.
It will be an unusual throne speech with a scaled-back, physically distanced presentation and two opposition leaders in quarantine with COVID-19.
The speech comes with a confidence vote, meaning if the Liberals fail to get one opposition party on its side, the country could be heading to an election.
Then the prime minister will follow up with a rare address to the nation, something generally reserved for times of crisis.
The address is set for 3:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. ET).