Tuesday November 23, 2021 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
Today, the Liberal government delivered its Speech from the Throne, read by Governor General Mary Simon, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seated there as well. The ceremony was televised and livestreamed starting around 10 am Pacific Time.
For the NDP — including local Vancouver Island MP Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford), the speech revealed many of the government’s previous and unfulfilled commitments to Canadians.
This afternoon, MacGregor said promises were not matched with any identifiable plans for action.
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government have not matched their big promises with real action to help people through this pandemic and into the recovery,” stated MacGregor in a news release this afternoon.
“Every step of the way, my NDP colleagues and I have had to fight for people and convince the government to work with us to deliver the help people needed,” said MacGregor, who has been hearing from people in his constituency for months about things like the GIS clawback, the cost of housing, and the elimination of most pandemic supports.
Climate crisis and housing crisis:
The NDP stated today that while today’s speech promised increased action on the climate emergency, the government failed to commit to ending fossil fuel subsidies nor help workers and communities transition to a renewable future.
During the 2021 campaign, Liberals promised a Foreign Buyer’s Vacant Home Tax; however, today’s Throne Speech offered no mention of it.
The Throne Speech did mention helping first-time home buyers, but this really only addresses people who are in a financial position to purchase a home.
Housing supply is pressured by the realities of pandemic workforce slower pace and higher costs for materials like lumber.
“The Liberals’ definition of affordable isn’t actually affordable for people”, MacGregor said today. “Residents of my riding have watched the cost of housing skyrocket during Justin Trudeau’s tenure, and I’m disappointed to see that he’s backed out on another campaign promise that would have helped find a safe and affordable home.”
While affordability was a keynote of today’s speech, New Democrats are quick to point out that the government failed to address pharmacare, the closing of tax loopholes for the ultra-wealthy, Indigenous housing, and the GIS clawbacks that have left thousands of vulnerable seniors on the brink of poverty.
The French version of the speech mentioned the old Liberal line “middle class and those working hard to join it”, but that was not stated in the English version, which seems like a further sidestep to indicate that the government wants to help people in need, or simply that not much can or will be changed.
Debate on the speech:
During upcoming debate on the Throne Speech, MP MacGregor looks forward to fighting for:
- Increased investments in health care and housing
- Community preparedness in the face of climate disasters
- Criminal justice and policing reform
- A national paid sick leave program
- Ending the government’s legal battle against Indigenous children who faced discrimination
Four priorities before Christmas break:
The House of Commons will be sitting for a short while at the start of this 44th session — from now to December 17, before taking their traditional Christmas-season break (not returning until later in January).
The Liberal House Leader announced the federal government’s four priorities ahead of the Throne Speech this morning, those being:
- extending benefits to Canadians still impacted by COVID-19
- protecting health care workers
- paid sick leave
- a ban on conversion therapy
Supporting things that help people:
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said today that the NDP would be behind the passage of legislation for paid sick-leave, protecting health-care workers, and putting a ban on conversion therapy.
For weeks the NDP have said they will not support anything that “hurts people”, and so are likely to have opposition to the limited approach that the federal minority Liberal government is taking to pandemic-related economic impacts. So far, the Liberals seem not to hear the difficulty of low-income families and seniors who have had federal benefits retracted as a result of taking CERB/CRB in 2020, leaving the impacted people to go an entire year without the usual support.
NDP rolls into 44th Parliament with priorities to help people (November 22, 2021)
Several months of GIS clawback letters & articles here (mid-August to November 22, 2021)
Seniors Minister weighs in on what NDP calls GIS clawback (November 8, 2021)