The restoration plan of the Speech from the Throne is still in progress as the elections have been called
OTTAWA – In its 2020 Throne Speech, the Liberal government outlined its plan for “bold action” in health, business, equality and the environment during the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
You don’t have to look much further to get a foretaste of the Liberals’ election manifesto.
While they have made some progress in fulfilling the promises in the Speech from the Throne, there are many unfinished business.
Here is a snapshot of some of the greatest promises that have been made and where they stand now.
The Liberals pledged to create over a million jobs and restore employment to pre-pandemic levels. According to employment statistics from July, Canada still had 246,000 fewer jobs than in February 2020.
The speech promised “a significant, long-term sustainable investment” to create a national childcare system, followed by a budget pledge of $ 30 billion over five years in 2021 to cut fees for parents in half by the end of next year and average by 2026 $ 10 per day.
The government has so far pledged nearly $ 12.7 billion in bilateral agreements with eight provinces and two territories over a five-year period to help achieve these goals. Ontario, the largest province, has not yet registered, nor has Alberta or the Northwest Territories.
Liberals said they will ensure that web giants pay their fair share of taxes in Canada, including a commitment to share their revenues with content creators and to help create, produce and distribute Canadian content.
The government introduced Bill C-10 to oblige online streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime to promote Canadian content and fund Canada’s cultural industry, just as traditional broadcasters have to do.
However, critics claimed it would stifle free expression and regulate what individuals post on social media. It was finally passed by the House of Commons in late June, despite conservative delaying tactics. However, the senators refused to be forced to get past it before adjourning.
With the dissolution of parliament for election, the bill is now dead.
Just hours before the House of Commons was adjourned for the summer, the Liberals introduced a law to combat online hatred. It would allow individuals or groups to file complaints about hate speech with the Canadian Commission on Human Rights.
That bill is dead now. The government has never passed other long-promised laws regulating how social media platforms deal with hate speech.
Long term care
After the heartbreaking stories from long-term care homes during the pandemic, Liberals pledged billions to help provinces mend the broken system.
The speech from the throne included a promise for new national standards, which, according to the spring budget, will be funded with 3 billion US dollars over five years from 2022. These standards, which are being developed by the Health Standards Organization and the Canadian Standards Association, are not expected until late 2022 or even early 2023.
The fall economic statement included a $ 1 billion investment in long-term care improvements, including infection control, wages, or hiring more staff. So far, the government has made arrangements to distribute these funds with British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
Since taking office, the Liberals have promised to make prescription drugs more affordable, and in 2019 they made an explicit announcement that they would work towards a national, universal Pharmacare program. The speech from the throne promised to “accelerate” this work.
The first signs of this came a few days ago when a $ 35 million provincial deal was signed with Prince Edward Island on August 11 to expand its public drug plans and cut expenses for those who qualify for her.
The Liberals pledged to put in place a plan to surpass Canada’s 2030 climate target and make a commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The latter was introduced last autumn in a bill that was passed in June.
The Liberals signaled to the United Nations in July that Canada would raise its emissions reduction target for 2030 from 30 percent below the 2005 level by 2030 to 40 to 45 percent below the 2005 level. Environment Secretary Jonathan Wilkinson says current policies would achieve a 36 percent reduction by 2030, but has not yet announced the additional measures that will move it forward.
Clean drinking water in First Nations
The Liberals had promised to suspend cooking water advice in all reserves by last spring, but missed the deadline they had set themselves. They have not set a new deadline but say they are working on it as soon as possible.
Since the Trudeau government was elected in 2015, deliberations in 109 municipalities have been lifted to this day. However, 50 deliberations are still in force in 31 municipalities. The government has pledged $ 1.5 billion to quit the job.
Racism in the judiciary
The Speech from the Throne promised a range of measures to address long-standing racial inequalities in the criminal justice system, including the over-representation of black and indigenous people in Canadian prisons.
The government tabled a bill in February that would abolish mandatory minimum sentences for some drug and gun offenses and expand access to alternative penalties. It didn’t make it through the House of Commons second reading and is now dead.
So far, nothing has been done to improve civilian supervision of the police, to modernize police training or to introduce standards for the use of force.
Official Language Act
The speech from the throne promised an update of this legislation and followed with a bill presented in mid-June. The bill recognized that French was the official language in Quebec, guaranteed the right to be served and worked in French in Quebec and parts of Canada with strong Francophone representation, and affirmed the importance of maintaining indigenous languages.
The law also died without being passed.
In their 2019 election manifesto, the Liberals promised to ban conversion therapy. The Speech also made her stand up for values that define the country, including celebrating the LGBTQ community.
They tabled a bill in October 2020 to ban the practice of forcing individuals to undergo therapy designed to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been repeatedly delayed by the Conservatives, many of whom have argued that it would prohibit conversations between someone wrestling with their sexual identity and their parents, advisers, or religious leaders.
The law was finally passed by the House of Commons in June, but the Senate adjourned before considering it. It is dead now.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 15, 2021.