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Questions loom over potential federal election as opposition leaders criticize throne speech

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

Government may have trouble passing a non-confidence vote

A vote of non-confidence would trigger an early election

Opposition parties have been criticizing the Trudeau government's plans laid out in Wednesday's throne speech

OTTAWA – Canadians are now waiting to find out if they’ll be heading to the polls this fall, and it all comes down to whether the throne speech passes a non-confidence vote.

If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that we should expect curveballs — and a fall federal election would be just that.

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.

Tory Leader Erin O’Toole, who is currently in isolation after he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19, said the throne speech “leaves too many Canadians behind,” and stressed that “it’s time for a different type of politics.”

“The situation facing my family shows that we must remain extremely vigilant against the battle against the spread of COVID-19. Please be mindful of that in the weeks ahead,” O’Toole says in a video posted to social media.

“Across this country, millions of Canadians have lost their jobs. Many fear losing their homes, and too many have lost hope. Mr. Trudeau says we’re all in this together, but Canada has never been more divided.”

The Bloc Quebecois has also raised its doubts when it comes to the promises outlined in the speech. Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet delivered an ultimatum through a translator after the throne speech was read.

“The Trudeau government has a week to increase healthcare transfers otherwise the Bloc will vote against the throne speech,” he said.

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This leaves Jagmeet Singh and his NDP to potentially decide the fate of the government.

“I know that COVID-19 has exposed a lot of problems,” Singh said after the speech from the throne. “But these aren’t new problems. A lot of them existed before the pandemic.”

The New Democrat has been calling for paid sick leave and for the government to extend the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

However, this is a throne speech seriously lacking in specifics, possibly to the detriment of the minority Liberal government.