By Collin Gallant
Alta Newspaper Group – Medicine Hat
Local member of parliament Glen Motz said he would “absolutely not” support last week’s Throne Speech as it lacked specific outreach to Western Canada, and doesn’t do enough to restart the economy from its pandemic lull, he told reporters.
“I can’t support it when it doesn’t support Western Canadians or the needs of Canadians,” he said in a conference call with local media.
The speech, delivered by Gov.-Gen Julie Payette, laid out four key priorities for the Justin Trudeau-led Liberals, who needed the support of at least one other major party to retain government.
They are dealing with the health emergency, restarting the economy as well as acting on climate change and social injustice issues.
Conservatives and western premiers had been looking for specific outreach to the region and the energy sector that is battling issues that include low commodity prices.
The only direct mention of Alberta is in climate goals stating that support of Alberta and other energy producing provinces are needed.
It lays out the intention to act on national childcare and pharmacare strategies, as well as increase co-operation on health fronts with provinces. It also extends wage and benefit support for companies and the jobless until next summer.
A vote on the speech, considered a confidence motion for the minority government, is expected this week after discussions of details between the parties.
Motz said the outline is a retread of past promises, and lacks any details Canadians have been waiting for.
“They promised the world, then under-delivered, but the cost is still going up,” he said, also saying cost and debt are mounting.
That being said, extensions of the Wage Subsidy programs should be met favourably by business groups.
The Conservative position has been that the benefit, provided to employers since March, should allow workers to earn more employment income on a sliding scale before benefits are clawed back.
“Business owners would like to have a stable economy, like they had before COVID, and to get the economy rolling again,” Motz said. “I know of dozens of companies that want to get back to work. We need an incentive to get people back working.”