COVID-19: Trudeau announces Canada Emergency Response Benefit plan

Elias Hubbard
March 26, 2020

At his own news conference outside his residence, where he remains in self-isolation after his wife contracted COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government was trying to balance the need to act quickly to help Canadians with the need to remain accountable to Parliament.

After nearly a day of wrangling, Canada's House of Commons agreed early on Wednesday to approve a C$27 billion ($18.8 billion) stimulus bill to help people and businesses deal with the coronavirus outbreak. But much of the money the bill will offer won't be going out the door immediately.

The SaltWire Network said in a statement that the moves were meant to preserve money after advertising revenues collapsed, but that it hopes to reopen the closed outlets later this year.

Singh outlined eight measures that should be taken by the government to get Canadians through the pandemic. The Liberals agreed to rein in demands for extraordinary powers to six months, according to Conservative lawmakers.

The source is being kept confidential as they were not authorized to speak about the matter publicly.

The Liberal leader is hopeful that the system will be up and running by April 6.

"So what we are doing is ensuring we enable people to bridge through this very hard time", he added. "As the PM said this morning: this must be a collaborative effort".

"At the same time, there has to be an oversight mechanism", the source said. But it was recalled Tuesday to deal with the emergency aid package. The new version would give the finance minister the power to spend and borrow without parliamentary approval until September. We asked about the impact of the border closure on the temporary foreign worker and seasonal agricultural worker programs and the government made exemptions. That represented just more than half what it spent each year between 2010 and 2015 when the Conservatives were in government. "But after hours of negotiation, the government has backed down".

Measures in the bill include a boost to child benefit payments to families with children, wage subsidies for small business, and tax relief measures. The legislation also requires parts of the bill come to an end if they're not reauthorized by Parliament through legislation by a certain date.

"We will continue to use all of the tools available to us to hold the government to account".

The Prime Minister says he understand people are concerned about delays.

"But they are under strain, too", he said. "In these expedited times, you can never have the full amount of discussion you would like".

The House of Commons was recalled for Tuesday but didn't pass the bill until almost 6 a.m. Wednesday after lengthy negotiations among the governing Liberals and opposition parties about the extent of extraordinary spending powers the government was requesting. The board will determine whether a journalism outlet meets certain criteria to receive the Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization (QCJO) designation. Reid ultimately supported the legislation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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