Trudeau Defends $37-Billion Aid Plan After Shuttering Parliament

August 21, 2020 Updated: August 21, 2020

OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending his choice to shut down Parliament shortly before unveiling a $37-billion plan to replace a key emergency aid benefit.

Ottawa announced new measures Thursday to support Canadians who have lost income or employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic—or need to stay off work for illness or caregiving—as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit winds down.

That includes benefits that must be introduced in legislation—something that cannot happen until Parliament resumes late next month.

The Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois say it’s unacceptable these proposed changes were announced after Trudeau prorogued Parliament, which will require a new speech from the throne.

Speaking in Brockville, Ont., today, Trudeau says his government wanted to take the time to get this plan right and repeated his argument that a new direction by the Liberal minority government needs to be supported by a confidence vote.

Trudeau also says opposition parties will have the opportunity to voice any disagreement with the proposed income-support measures through debate in the House of Commons when MPs return to Ottawa.