Canada pro­poses to boost re­lief for job­less

Bangkok Post - - WORLD -

OTTAWA: Canada’s govern­ment on Thurs­day pro­posed boost­ing a weekly pay­out for the job­less that would re­place emer­gency Covid-19 in­come sup­port that ends this week­end, a move that looks set to help the rul­ing Lib­er­als win a par­lia­men­tary con­fi­dence vote.

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is seek­ing the sup­port of at least one op­po­si­tion party on a sweep­ing agenda to bat­tle Covid-19, help those hurt by it, and fos­ter eco­nomic growth.

Two of the three other par­ties in Par­lia­ment sig­nalled re­jec­tion of the plan. But the left-lean­ing New Democrats, who de­manded the in­creased pay­out, in­di­cated they would sup­port Mr Trudeau, thus avert­ing an elec­tion.

“We are very op­ti­mistic about the out­come of these ne­go­ti­a­tions,” party leader Jag­meet Singh told re­porters, adding he was talk­ing with the state over his de­mand for paid sick leave. “It was never my goal to plunge the coun­try into an elec­tion.”

Canada’s cur­rent un­em­ploy­ment rate is 10.2%, up sharply from 5.6% in Fe­bru­ary.

Em­ploy­ment Min­is­ter Carla Qual­trough told a news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day Ottawa was propos­ing leg­is­la­tion that would make the new un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fit equal to the emer­gency in­come sup­port. Those el­i­gi­ble re­ceive C$500 (12,000 baht) a week.

The govern­ment had ini­tially said it would of­fer C$400 a week for up to 26 weeks.

Mr Trudeau said on Wed­nes­day that “this is not the time for aus­ter­ity” and promised ma­jor new spend­ing on top of the hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars he has al­ready un­veiled.

“It’s true that this is ex­pen­sive, but ... it will be even more ex­pen­sive if we don’t do it,” Fi­nance Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land told the news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day.

Pressed on mar­ket con­cerns about the risk posed by soar­ing deficit and debt lev­els, she said in­ter­est rates were at a 100-year low.

REUTERS

Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Trudeau does not want to re­duce ex­pen­di­ture.

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