October 19th, 2020

Throne speech vote due this evening, with Liberals expecting backing only from NDP


By Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press on October 6, 2020.

Green party Leader Annamie Paul talks about the party's position on the government's speech from the throne during a news conference in Ottawa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberal government is expected to survive a confidence vote tonight on its throne speech, with crucial support from New Democrats.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has said his party will support the speech after winning some key changes to legislation last week setting up new benefits for workers left jobless or underemployed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Conservatives and Bloc Québécois have said they’ll vote against the speech and newly minted Green Leader Annamie Paul announced Tuesday that her party’s three MPs will join them.

Paul said there were some very good things in the Liberals’ agenda-setting speech last month but the Green party won’t support it because it lacks a plan to protect those living in long-term care from COVID-19.

“I’m not just speaking of seniors. I’m also speaking of people with special needs and with disabilities,” Paul said Tuesday at a news conference on Parliament Hill.

“Those people are not protected.”

Paul is set to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Tuesday.

Another reason the Greens find the throne speech lacking is that it does not promise a guaranteed livable income, which Paul said would make Canadians more resilient against economic shocks.

Paul said she was encouraged to hear many Liberal and NDP MPs talk about guaranteed basic income before the throne speech.

“They call it a guaranteed basic income, we call it livable income, because you need to be able to live on it and live in dignity,” she said. “I had been looking for at least an indication that the government was going to be introducing a pilot program.”

Paul says she is pleased to see the government has extended emergency pandemic benefits to those who are most in need, but she says the plan still leaves out too many Canadians, including students.

The new leader said the Liberal government is also failing to demonstrate national and international leadership on climate change and the Green party could not support any plan that does not protect Canadians’ future in this way.

“The climate emergency is as urgent today as it was when the pandemic hit,” she said.

“I will remind the prime minister that we were obliged to increase our Paris targets this year,” she says. “It was a non-negotiable date.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2020.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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