Thoughts on the Speech from the Throne
With children returning to school, I can appreciate that this has been a difficult time for families figuring out new schedules and uncertainties.
Many residents are also reaching out to our office as different tax and payment deferrals start coming due and federal programs change.
In my next update, I’ll go into more detail about possible EI program changes working their way through the legislative process in Ottawa.
Before recently heading back to Ottawa for a couple of weeks, I endeavoured to meet (safely) with as many people in the community as possible who wanted to connect.
We also set up a virtual roundtable meeting with local business leaders who rely on international trade. I wanted to see if there were any time sensitive or emerging issues that are a priority for them — specifically around my new Shadow Ministry portfolio of Export Promotion and International Trade.
Even with short notice, there was great attendance and I want to thank all those who participated, and the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission for co-ordinating.
There were many issues and suggestions that they brought forth which will be useful in my work on Parliament Hill.
Much of what we heard in the “new” Speech from the Throne on Sept. 23 sounded like it was cut and pasted from the last one ten months ago.
When you add statements made by the government over the last few months, there is nothing new that we hadn’t heard before.
The prorogation of Parliament and the cancellation of all scheduled committees to achieve, as the Prime Minister noted, a “relaunching of the economy" Throne Speech, seems more like a cover the government used to distract from uncomfortable political circumstances with the WE Scandal investigations.
Planting two billion trees was in the last Throne Speech. Planting two billion trees is in this Throne Speech. Yet, no trees have been planted.
What a lost opportunity to plant trees this summer and fulfil this initiative, when people were looking for work, and they could have been safely outdoors.
What was not said in the Throne Speech speaks volumes:
These are important values that I hear are top of mind for people and it is unfortunate that these do not seem to be priorities for the government.
The Throne Speech states, “the government will also continue to address the opioid epidemic tearing through communities.” It is not explained what this means.
“Addressing this” in the manner they have been focusing on over the past five years has not led to a reduction in overdoses, which are up substantially, including in our community and in B.C.
Small businesses are mentioned, but there is nothing new or hopeful to grasp onto. There is no inspirational “relaunching the economy” plan.
It’s simply a listing of existing programs, many of which don’t work for small business owners who still do not meet the requirements of the programs.
The speech also mentions creating one million jobs. However, the facts are that two million people lost their jobs at the height of the pandemic, and one million people are still out of work.
Hundreds of thousands of workers lost their jobs before the pandemic in the resource sectors due to government policies — with many more to come if nothing changes.
Other G7 countries have the same challenges with COVID-19, and yet we have the highest unemployment rate.
If the government creates stability and certainty, businesses and workers can have hope.
Please reach out any time. Stay safe.