On Tuesday, November 23, 2021, Governor General Mary Simon unveiled the Liberal Government’s priorities in Speech from the Throne, which opened the First Session of the 44th Parliament of Canada. The speech focused on bringing the pandemic to an end, fighting climate change, addressing the affordability of housing and childcare, and walking the path towards reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. The speech was delivered in English, French, and Inuktitut. 

Here are some highlights and MCC perspectives from Elisabeth Saftiuk, Director of Policy:

  • The Government has committed to strengthening the healthcare system and public health supports for Canadians. In its Speech from the Throne, the Governor General conveyed that the Government would work collaboratively with provinces, territories, and other partners on the issue of healthcare. We welcome Ottawa’s willingness for outreach and collaboration with Manitoba. 
  • At the height of pandemic lockdowns, the Government made major investments to assist Canadians impacted by COVID-19. Owing to a successful vaccination program and a return to pre-pandemic employment levels, the Government is now moving to more targeted support, while prudently managing spending. The Trudeau Liberals have committed to extending or adding support for industries hardest hit. While we are pleased that support for struggling businesses seems to remain a priority, we will be looking for more details on what this means for the business community and for Manitoba’s economy.
  • Canada’s inflation rate rose to 4.7% in October of 2021, representing the highest inflation rate since February of 2003, due in large part to supply chain issues. Supply chain disruptions and inflationary spikes remain top priorities for the business community, and although they were mentioned in the throne speech, there weren’t any specific strategies proposed to address these issues.
  • The Government has committed to increasing immigration levels and reducing wait times. The Trudeau Liberals’ focus is on family reunification and delivering a world-leading refugee resettlement program. However, the speech is silent on skilled immigration and its link to the Canadian labour market and workforce development. 
  • In virtually every conversation we have with Manitoba’s business leaders, we hear about the variety of workforce challenges they are facing. Workforce and skills development were missing from the throne speech at a time when the Canadian economy is experiencing historic workplace challenges. There was very little in the message to give business owners who are experiencing workforce issues a sense of confidence that this is a priority for this government going forward.  

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Perspective 

 The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s President and CEO, Perrin Beatty, issued the following statement on Tuesday’s Speech from the Throne: 

 “The business community was looking for a bold plan for strong, sustained economic growth from today’s Speech from the Throne, and although we applaud continued support for those industries hardest-hit by COVID-19, we are still missing key measures that will move us from recovery mode and into economic growth. 

Supply chain disruptions and inflationary spikes remain top priorities for the business community, and although they were mentioned in the Throne Speech, specific actions are missing. It is critical for businesses to see how the government plans to address the difficulties that will accompany supply chain disruptions, along with a clear view on how we will balance the books. 

Also missing from today’s throne speech was support for the digital economy, along with a serious plan to ensure our tax policy remains competitive. 

The hard part starts now, and economic growth is the only path forward that will allow us to pay for our social goals and climate ambitions. To ensure we get there, we call on the government to present a Fall Economic Statement at the earliest opportunity.

We will continue to work tirelessly to point our government in the direction of sustained, unshakeable focus on getting the economic fundamentals right and boosting economic growth to secure a prosperous future for all Canadians and the businesses who employ them.” 

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