Montreal, Canada – With an increasing number of new COVID-19 infections in Canada, the pandemic is expected to be the focus of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s widely expected throne this week.
The throne, which opens each new parliamentary session and will be held by the Governor-General of Canada on Wednesday, will outline the government’s priorities for the coming months.
Trudeau is expected to present its long-term vision for key social programs, such as child care, housing, long-term care and a green financial plan, Canadian media have reported in recent weeks.
But with the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and concerns that Canada is entering a second wave of pandemics, experts say they expect the Prime Minister̵
“Expectations have shifted slightly from what they were a few weeks ago,” said Jim Bickerton, a professor of political science at St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada.
The speech on Wednesday in Ottawa will be “a little more scaled down” than the government had originally intended, Bickerton told Al Jazeera in a telephone interview, “paying closer attention to the need to continue to focus on limiting the negative health and economic consequences of COVID ”.
Trudeau’s minority government has been under pressure to help provinces bear the financial burden of the pandemic and the burden COVID-19 has placed on their respective healthcare systems, which are controlled at the provincial level.
As of September 18, Canada had reported more than 141,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began and 9,205 deaths attributed to the new coronavirus – and the country’s two most populous provinces, Quebec and Ontario, have received a large number of recent cases. .
“We desperately need your support,” said Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford at a news conference the same day, along with three other provincial premieres. Premieres have asked the federal government for an additional $ 21 billion (Canadian $ 28 billion) to cover high healthcare costs associated with the pandemic.
This week’s throne will trigger a vote of confidence in Parliament, so Trudeau will need the support of at least one opposition party to avoid forcing a federal election, Daniel Beland said. Head of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada at McGill University in Montreal.
The Federal Liberal Party won 157 seats in the most recent vote in October 2019 to form a minority government, which outscored the Conservatives, who won 121 seats.
“It is a strong minority government in the sense that you basically need the three largest opposition parties to unite to pull the plug on that government,” Beland told Al Jazeera in a telephone interview.
Last week, Trudeau said he planned to talk to all opposition leaders, two of whom – the Quebecois’ Yves-Francois Blanchet bloc and the new Conservative party in Canada’s leader Erin O’Toole – recently tested positive for COVID-19.
The new Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh this month expressed skepticism about whether the Trudeau government would follow through on the promises made during the throne.
In the coming years, Jagmeet Singh says he will not be surprised if it contains items that NDP & Cdns wants as a universal pharmacy, but he is worried that it will be “empty words” and no follow-up from the government. NDP leader says he has planned this week with PM #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/KneL47PtkZ
– CPAC (@CPAC_TV) September 15, 2020
“I will not be surprised if the Prime Minister says some of the right things, says some of the things Canadians want to hear, some of the things we want to hear,” Singh told reporters on September 15.
“But what I’m worried about is that they’ll just be empty words.”
The throne comes after Trudeau promulgated parliament last month amid a scandal over the award of a government contract to WE Charity, an organization that had paid members of Trudeau’s family for previous action.
The agreement was eventually terminated due to widespread criticism and questions about the emergence of a conflict of interest, and WE Charity later said it was closing its operations in Canada. Finance Minister Bill Morneau, whose family is also linked to the charity, also resigned last month at the height of the scandal.
or even if people think we are heading in that direction. I think that would be a risky proposal. ”]
Despite this, Beland said no Canadian political party wants to be responsible for forcing people to vote in the midst of a global pandemic – and he expects at least one opposition party to give Trudeau the votes he needs to survive a vote of confidence.
“I do not think politicians want to trigger an election if there is a second wave [of COVID-19] or even if people think we’re heading in that direction. I think that would be a risky proposal, he said.
Beland said the throne speech – a “broad, vague speech” by design – would give Canadians an opportunity to understand where the opposition parties stand and which party or parties are willing to support the government.
It will also show what the liberal agenda is – and how they plan to address the COVID-19 crisis in the long term, he said.
“It will probably present relatively large ideas on how to go beyond this [COVID-19] crisis – but not only through temporary measures but also through permanent solutions to solve the problems that were revealed or exacerbated by the crisis. ”