Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison panned Wednesday’s Throne Speech outlining the Liberal minority government’s priorities over the coming weeks, calling the address ‘an hour of nothing’.
The Throne Speech, presented by Governor General Julie Payette in the House of Commons, serves as a visionary document that contains legislative goals of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals for the fall session and beyond.
“There certainly was a lot of hype, but there wasn’t a lot of action and I guess that’s the most disappointing part — we expected to have a plan of where we’re going forward,” Morrison said. “He’s [Trudeau] had so much time to develop it and it came up empty.
“It’s really hard to support a throne speech that has nothing in it.”
The Throne Speech made a number of commitments, such as creating one million jobs, extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, setting national standards for long-term seniors care, a national early learning and childcare system and more.
Morrison’s criticism was similar to that echoed by Conservative Party leadership immediately following the address, while both the federal NDP and the Bloc Quebecois also expressed various concerns, particularly around health funding transfers and failing to extend the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
Morrison hammered down on jobs, emphasizing that the economy and livelihoods are being devastated by COIVD-19. Quick testing and immediate results will be important tools to economic recovery, he added.
“If we had that testing and we had people coming to Canada, like international flights, test them,” Morrison said. “If they test positive, 14 day quarantine. If they test negative, out they go, which would open up our economy.”
Morrison singled out tourism sectors, such as heli-skiing operators and guide outfitters who have been particularly hit hard by the border closure between Canada and the United States.
Moving forward, the Throne Speech will be debated by the House before going to a vote, which is considered a confidence measure, meaning it must be passed by a majority. However, all three opposition parties have signaled varying degrees of criticism towards the speech as the federal Liberals, which are currently governing as a minority, seek additional support necessary to gain a majority vote.
If a confidence vote fails, Canadians will head to the polls.
“It’s up to Trudeau,” Morrison said. “It’s up to him to steer us in the right direction so that we can get moving forward.”
While details are still being ironed out in terms of how parliament will operate, debate and vote amid a hybrid system of in-person and video conferencing participation.
Morrison said the first priority is striking the committees that were shut down in the summer when Parliament was prorogued, a measure that essentially terminates the session.
Morrison added that functioning committees are necessary for accountability amid questions swirling around political interference with the WE Charity over a student employment program.
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