The federal government committed to support businesses and individuals through this pandemic. We will see investment in a child-care program, standards for seniors care, a disability benefit modelled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors, and initiatives in the areas of homelessness; and support for working women, migrant workers, Indigenous people, and racial minorities. COVID-19 has exposed a lot of problems that are not new. We need to ask ourselves, “Did this Speech from the Throne address the problems while embracing a Green New Deal and Just Recovery?”
Sadly, not. There was little new commitment to take action on climate change and the environment. CCPA quoted from Seth Klein’s new book, A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the climate emergency, that we must adopt an emergency mindset.
They also say that the speech “fell far short of expectations for a bold, just and green recovery - and is silent on the billions of dollars this government is spending on fossil fuel subsidies and the Trans Mountain pipeline.” The bottom line is that we hoped to see more green initiatives at the federal level.
The speech also failed to address a guaranteed base income. And its proposed measures are largely downstream measures, rather than investing in the root causes of, for example, incarceration for racialized and Indigenous peoples. The vulnerability of migrant workers is another issue and you can learn more on the Together For Full & Permanent Immigration Status For All campaign. We are also falling short to support a resilient public health care system that includes funding to address the opioid crisis, a mental health crisis, and ongoing climate emergencies. The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities, worsened poverty, and we are more vulnerable by the economic shocks of COVID-19.
We need a stronger commitment towards a Just Recovery at all levels of government. We are now entering the provincial election campaign and have an opportunity to ask our candidates some hard questions and vote for representatives that commit to helping us weather the pandemic and ensure a just recovery.