PM Trudeau to address nation after throne speech focused on COVID-19 response

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government will be presenting a COVID-19 response-focused speech from the throne on Wednesday, pivoting from a desire to kick off the new session of Parliament with bold new economic and social recovery plans due to the looming threat of a fall surge in the deadly virus’ spread.

The speech—being delivered by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette in the Senate Chamber—will get underway at 2:10 p.m. EDT. Within it, expect to hear commitments to more health-care spending to ease the burdens felt by institutions such as long-term care homes; plans to rework the current emergency benefit and employment programs; and an intention to pursue new rebuilding efforts such as investing in a national childcare plan with the provinces and meeting their climate targets.

Then, Trudeau will be directly addressing the nation at 6:30 p.m. EDT. He is expected to speak about Canada’s current COVID-19 situation and summarize the Liberals’ new commitments.

  • CTV and CTV News Channel will carry the address to Canadians in a special report anchored by CTV News Chief anchor and Senior editor Lisa LaFlamme.

When Trudeau prorogued Parliament and announced the Sept. 23 throne speech, he said the federal government needed the time to plot its roadmap out of the pandemic, but over the last few weeks there has been a day-after-day steady increase in the number of new COVID-19 infections, putting a renewed focus on the need to keep up or revive certain emergency response measures and financial assistance programs.

Citing the ongoing struggle with COVID-19, the calls for action on systemic racism, and the health-care, social and economic disparities the pandemic has exposed, Trudeau said in August that the federal government’s focus would be on plotting the long-term green-focused recovery plan.

“As much as this pandemic is an unexpected challenge, it is also an unprecedented opportunity. And this is our chance to build a more resilient Canada, a Canada that is healthier and safer greener and more competitive, a Canada that is more welcoming and more fair. This is our moment to change the future for the better,” Trudeau said at the time.

But as of Sept. 14 the prime minister had changed his tune, saying his cabinet was focused on getting the country through what’s shaping up to be a COVID-19 resurgence and mitigating the potential impacts of a second wave this fall.

“We need to get through this in order to be able to talk about next steps,” he told reporters on his way into his cabinet retreat.

Over the span of that cabinet confab, several ministers sought to drive home in comments to reporters that the economy’s health is linked to Canadians’ health and so in order to “build back better,” as the Liberals keep saying, the virus needs to be put back under control.

With the throne speech will come a key confidence vote, but as of late Tuesday afternoon MPs were still working out how the hybrid virtual sitting and voting will work.

More to come.

With files from CTV News’ Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier

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