Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government says it will do “whatever it takes” to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic
Two leaders of opposition parties could not attend the speech because they recently tested positive for COVID-19. Canada has seen a surge in cases in recent days.
The governor general called the pandemic the most serious public health crisis Canada has ever faced. Over 9,000 Canadians have died in six months and the government says the economic impact of COVID-19 on Canadians has already been worse than the 2008 financial crisis.
The government is extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to next summer. In the early days of the pandemic Trudeau announced businesses would be eligible for a 75% wage subsidy for their employees for businesses that have seen a 30% decrease in revenue. The government says now is not the time for austerity.
Trudeau’s government also says the government plants to tax large internet companies operating in the country.
“Web giants are taking Canadians’ money while imposing their own priorities. Things must change, and will change. The Government will act to ensure their revenue is shared more fairly,” the government said.
Trudeau was scheduled to give a national address later Wednesday to talk about how the government will deal what many fear is a second wave of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Trudeau won reelection last year, but his Liberal party does not have the majority of seats in Parliament and must rely on at least one opposition party to stay in power.
It might be left to the leftist New Democratic Party to prop up the government after Conservative Opposition Deputy leader Candice Bergen said her party won’t support the speech.
“There will be more debt. The prime minister still seems to think that when the government goes into debt that’s not the people that go into debt. When the government racks up more debt it’s the people that will have to pay it,” Bergen said.
New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh said his party is “going to take a long time to consider the throne speech to consider whether we are supporting it or not.”
Singh is calling for the Liberals not to reduce support or those who can’t go back to work and wants a sick leave plan.
The Quebec-based Bloc Quebecois parties didn’t immediately express support for the speech.