NDP leader says he’s more concerned about the budget than the throne speech

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said today his party is more concerned about the Liberals’ next budget than the much-anticipated speech from the throne.

“What they say in the throne speech really doesn’t have that much impact,” Singh told reporters during a news conference on Parliament Hill, where he’s meeting virtually with his caucus ahead of next week’s speech.

“The budget bill might be a way for us to really gauge if the government is serious about following through. But I don’t want Canadians to, again, fall to what the Liberals do, where they they say a lot of nice things in a throne speech, they campaign on things and they don’t actually deliver them. And I’m expecting that might be the exact same thing.”

The government is expected to use its speech from the throne on Sept. 23 to signal its intention to make child care more widely available, launch a green recovery plan, make new investments in housing and conduct a long-term overhaul of the employment insurance system.

While there had been indications that the government would use next week’s speech to launch an aggressive environmental agenda, sources have told CBC News the recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the country means the focus this fall will remain on the public health crisis and the economic challenges it created.

Two senior Liberal sources said there’s a concern about being perceived by the public as focusing too heavily on a green plan while parents are worried about sending their kids back to school and business owners are struggling to keep their heads above water.

The government’s immediate priorities, say sources, will be measures to limit the resurgence of the coronavirus and to ensure Canadian workers and companies have the financial supports they need to survive the pandemic.

Watch: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh on the throne speech

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tells reporters that the Liberal government has pitched a lot of ideas in previous throne speeches without acting on them. 1:57

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office said Trudeau will be speaking to all opposition leaders by the end of the week — either virtually or, if possible, in person — about the speech and his government’s fall agenda.

Singh said he’s expecting to hear “nice things and they’ll be empty words.”

“We’ll listen to the throne speech, hear the details and make our decision,” he said.

“But I just want to point out that the Liberal government has kind of lost its credit when it comes to throne speeches.”

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