Stimulus Activities Report – Ottawa
Canadian Parliament and Government of Canada update:
COVID-19 dramatically changed Parliament’s plans in the Spring of 2020, with most of the debate taking place within a special COVID-19 Committee. Please plan to speak with your local MP and regional Ministers regarding your community's water projects. Materials have been developed for your use and are available on the Cities Initiative’s website.
Spring Session of Parliament
With “Spring Session” now over, the House of Commons will convene four times over the summer with rare July and August sittings. The first summer sitting, on July 8, will include a Federal Government “Economic Snapshot” by Finance Minister Bill Morneau. This Economic Snapshot is expected to be less substantial than the historic fall “Economic Updates” and dramatically smaller than the spring Budget. However, Finance Minister Bill Morneau will be putting forward the first fiscal plan since the Liberal Government was re-elected last October. We expect that this budget will address many of the issues we face as a result of the COVID-19 economic crisis.
Many Federal Departments are exploring ways to stimulate the economy to assist all regions and sectors recover from COVID-19. Departmental officials at Environment and Climate Change Canada and Infrastructure Canada along with other departments are developing “lists” of shovel- ready projects and partners who can get to work if new money was made available. Building upon the July 8 Economic Snapshot and the Cities Initiative “Stimulus Ask”, July 2020 offers an opportunity for Municipal leaders to speak with Federal leaders about the creation of a short-term (two construction season) program funded by the Government of Canada to address water infrastructure needs in your community. Read more.
Party Update Conservative Party of Canada (CPC)
During the spring session of Parliament, the opposition Conservatives under Andrew Sheer, successfully advocated to have Parliament sit in person and for the return of Question Period. They have been calling for the Liberal Government to ensure that emergency funding is targeted to those in need while limiting overpayments or fraud. They have also asked for various Federal Auditors to review the different COVID-19 emergency programs as soon as possible.
In June, the Conservatives put forward a “Back to Work Bonus” for businesses to attract individual workers who are currently on CERB to transition back into the workforce.
NOTE – the Conservative Party of Canada is in the process of choosing their next leader with approximately 240,000 members of the party receiving their ballots by mail in early July and votes counted in mid-August. To learn more please visit the CPC’s website.
Bloc Quebecois (BLOC)
In line with the Liberal and NDP, the BLOC has called for CERB to be expanded to ensure everyone affected by COVID-19 can stay home and stay safe. Recently, they have focused on the effects on agriculture, tourism and other sectors that are undergoing dramatic changes to their operations. To learn more, visit BLOC’s website.
New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP)
The Federal NDP, under Jagmeet Singh, has advocated for an expansion of the CERB to ensure more Canadians are eligible for the $2,000 per month federal subsidy. As COVID-19 lockdowns have extended to almost 100 days in some communities. In March 2020, The Federal Liberal Government announced some changes to the program or other funding to address specific demographic groups not supported by CERB.
NOTE – The Federal NDP has been very vocal with issues around systemic racism within Federal and Municipal Policing and other institutions. This led to an altercation that had the NDP leader, Jagmeed Singh, removed from Parliament for part of a day. To learn more, visit NDP’s website.
Green Party of Canada (GPC)
Similar to the Conservative Party, GPC is also undergoing a Leadership Race at this time. Their Leader in the House, Former Party Leader Elizabeth May, has been critical of the speed the Federal Liberal has expanded CERB to ensure all affected Canadians are safe. To learn more, visit GPC’s website.
Although there have been some individual heated exchanges in Parliament over the past 100 days and all four Opposition Parties have advocated for the Federal Liberals to put more support or oversight into the COVID-19 emergency funding programs, they have collectively been supportive of the overall direction and actions of the Federal Government.