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The West Block – Episode 50, Season 10 – National

THE WEST BLOCK

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Episode 50, Season 10

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Host: Mike Le Couteur

Friends:

Carla Qualtrough, Employment, Workforce Improvement and Incapacity Inclusion Minister

Catherine McKenna, Former Liberal Cupboard Minister

Amanda Connolly, International Information Political Reporter @ amandacconn

Location: Ottawa, ON

Mike Le Couteur: This week on The West Block: Closing a pandemic chapter.

Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister: “We’re now in a brand new section. One which could be very totally different from the darkest days.”

Mike Le Couteur: Broad pandemic helps are achieved, making manner for focused packages.

We communicate with Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough on the best way ahead.

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Tackling the local weather emergency…

Dr. Maria Neira, World Well being Group (WHO): “Local weather change is affecting the pillars of our well being: meals, water.

Mike Le Couteur: World leaders are heading to Glasgow with new local weather change commitments whereas falling brief on Paris targets.

Former Surroundings Minister Catherine McKenna on what extra Canada must do heading into the U.N. Local weather Summit.

It’s Sunday, October 24th. I’m Mike Le Couteur, and that is The West Block.

Thanks for becoming a member of us. I’m Mike Le Couteur. Mercedes Stephenson is away at the moment.

Properly most of the federal pandemic aid packages that helped hundreds of thousands of Canadians pay their payments have come to an finish.

Because the pandemic isn’t over, beginning at the moment there are new packages in place to assist Canadian staff and companies that proceed to be affected by COVID-19. The brand new advantages goal the toughest hit sectors and will likely be round till Could of 2022.

Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister: “Our help must be extra slim, extra focused and cheaper.”

Mike Le Couteur: The toughest hit sectors: tourism and hospitality will get essentially the most assist. A particular restoration program will likely be in place for companies, like eating places and accommodations, for the following month with plans to introduce laws that may prolong it till subsequent Could.

The Tourism and Hospitality Restoration Program will present wage and hire subsidies to companies with a sustained 40 per cent income decline over the previous yr. Different companies not in these sectors can apply for the same program with a sliding scale. These different companies would high quality if they’ve sustained income lack of not less than 50 per cent, with a subsidy beginning at 10 per cent. Enterprise teams had been pleased with the extension of the advantages, however say the satan actually is in these particulars.

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Dan Kelly, Canadian Federation of Unbiased Enterprise, Toronto: “The bar is simply too excessive and the subsidy too low to make an enormous distinction for a lot of companies which can be hanging on by their fingernails.”

Mike Le Couteur: As of March 13th, 2022, the subsidy charges for the remainder of the packages will likely be lower in half.

The Canada Restoration Illness Profit and the Canada Restoration Caregiving Profit will stay. The brand new Employee Lockdown Profit will substitute CRB. It’s for staff whose jobs are affected by a public well being lockdown and can give staff $300 per week in the event that they aren’t already gathering EI.

And becoming a member of me proper now could be the Minister of Employment Carla Qualtrough. Minister, thanks for being right here. Numerous these advantages at the moment are far more focused, however on the identical time your authorities will likely be forsaking 1000’s of Canadians who had been relying on the CRB to pay their payments. What do you say to them?

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment: Thanks Mike, for having me. You understand the truth is the financial and public well being circumstances have modified from after we put within the CRB, since September of 2020. So we perceive with the job numbers the place they’re, with the unemployment price the place it’s, the place job vacancies are, that we actually wanted to maneuver to a transfer focused method that actually concentrate on the sectors that haven’t recovered and to help staff once they’re in a scenario of lockdown. We all know that these had been at all times meant to be short-term measures, and I’d simply say, you understand, it’s the place we’re within the evolution of this pandemic and it’s truly a mirrored image of how we’ve succeeded economically in recovering.

Mike Le Couteur: Now a part of it, and one other one of many packages, is the Canada Restoration Hiring Program. It’s being prolonged. Subsidy can be being bolstered a little bit bit to 50 per cent, however we’re nonetheless listening to from companies who’re telling us in any case that they’re having bother filling—discovering staff to fill these jobs. So is that program actually reaching what it was got down to obtain?

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment: Actually necessary query. We’ve been listening to rather a lot from companies in regards to the labour shortages they’ve been experiencing. These labour shortages had been there earlier than the pandemic and we’re actually making an attempt to place in place energetic measures just like the hiring program, the wage subsidy that incentivize work and aren’t as passive, say, because the CRB was, which was acceptable on the time, however we expect we’ve moved on.

Mike Le Couteur: And whenever you say you assume you’ve moved on, I imply do you actually assume that in the event that they’re having bother discovering these staff that it’s actually setting out what it must do, or do you assume extra must occur there?

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment: Properly I believe it’s a mixture of a bunch of issues. So completely, the hiring program is one software we have now. We now have received—we’re investing considerably in coaching the place we’re encouraging companies to make use of the wage subsidy. The hiring program is underutilized and I believe that’s a matter of us getting the message out that if you wish to give folks extra hours, if you wish to rent extra folks, if you wish to improve the wage of the folks you might have in your employees, that’s all eligible beneath the hiring program. So I spent a number of time placing that message out in my very own group as a result of I believe companies don’t essentially perceive the breadth of the—the scope of the standards for this program.

Mike Le Couteur: Now one of many points that employers may very well be dealing with is also the necessary vaccinations for sure staff, for sure jobs. If an worker does make the choice to not get vaccinated however it’s required for his or her job, do they or don’t they qualify for Employment Insurance coverage?

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment: Once more, necessary query. So if an employer has a transparent coverage with clear penalties and it’s properly understood that non-compliance, so this situation of employment might result in dismissal, if they’re dismissed, they sometimes wouldn’t be capable to entry EI for these causes due to course, a elementary precept of the EI program is that claimants should lose their employment by way of no fault of their very own. And this is able to be seen sometimes as a selection. Now in fact, each case is a case by case foundation, actually not the minister’s purview in any respect to arbitrate these items. However as a matter in fact, sometimes they’d not be eligible.

Mike Le Couteur: So how involved are you whenever you hear already that legal professionals are warning that you may see a large number of challenges right here and, you understand, what are you basing the grounds on what you’re saying proper now, your assertion that they couldn’t acquire EI, if you’re having a number of legal professionals saying that there may very well be these challenges and that it might presumably overrun the system with these challenges.

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment: Yeah. I imply actually, I don’t weigh-in on the legality of this. However we’re assured that the Employment Insurance coverage Act stating that—you understand principally it says if a claimant, so an EI claimant is disqualified or disentitled kind receiving advantages as a result of they left their job, both they had been fired or they dismissed—sorry, I shouldn’t say fired—on account of their very own misconduct, which on this case could be non-compliance inside present coverage, there may be grounds for not getting EI. However I—you understand as with every new coverage or circumstance, that is case by case. This must undergo the courts or by way of the Social Safety Tribunal and never my place to weigh-in on the deserves of anybody explicit case.

Mike Le Couteur: So assist me attempt to perceive this as a result of we’re coping with a labour scarcity, but as a authorities you’re saying that you simply’re comfy with excluding all of those folks and ensuring that in addition they don’t get EI. So how will we kind of sq. that circle of we want staff, however as a authorities you’re comfy with these folks being excluded from sure jobs and never getting EI?

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment: Properly you understand successfully, Mike, we all know that vaccines are the simplest software towards COVID-19, and we additionally don’t need folks placing fellow staff or fellow staff in danger. We don’t need workplaces to should shut down due to an outbreak in a office, and we introduced the main points of our necessary vaccine coverage for workers of the Public Service. We’re encouraging different companies to comply with swimsuit, and we simply assume it’s good public well being coverage but additionally financial coverage to have protected, wholesome workplaces and subsequently, we wish folks to be vaccinated and proper now, we’re nonetheless in the course of this pandemic and we want folks to be vaccinated. We want staff to be vaccinated, in fact if they are often.

Mike Le Couteur: Yeah. I wish to swap gears for a fast second right here. Final week, your authorities launched the vaccine passport to be acknowledged hopefully by quite a lot of different nations. So what nations is your authorities in session with proper now to guarantee that it’s acknowledged, particularly when you think about that the land border with the U.S. or the softening of restrictions of the border with the U.S. is coming simply in the beginning of November. Numerous Canadians want to attempt to journey, so have we began the discussions with the U.S. and what different nations will likely be recognizing our nationwide passport?

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment: Properly completely. To start with, having a standardized nationwide proof of vaccination based mostly on the Sensible Well being Canada customary is one option to bolster the credibility, the reliability and the acceptance of our, what we might name PVC, which is proof of vaccination credentials. We’ve been working over the previous months with quite a lot of worldwide organizations to make sure that these credentials are acknowledged. We do the identical for passports to guarantee that nations acknowledge this. We anticipate that every one nations which can be at the moment accepting Canadian travellers will settle for our PVCs, our proof of vaccination credentials, and, you understand, all nations which can be at the moment accepting travellers are accepting all types of vaccine certification. However that work is ongoing and I believe because the world, which actually has a vested curiosity, and other people shifting round and visiting and getting again to no matter regular seems to be like, we’re all working collectively to verify our residents can safely journey between nations.

Mike Le Couteur: On the vaccine passport particularly, how intently are we working with the U.S. and the way quickly are you able to say, or can we are saying, that they may acknowledge that vaccine passport?

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment: I don’t have a timeline for the final a part of your query, however we’ve been working with the U.S. an extended—you’re speaking to an MP who has Level Roberts proper as a neighbour and we’re working very intently with the U.S. on this situation.

Mike Le Couteur: Okay. Minister Qualtrough, we’re going to have to go away it there. Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us at the moment.

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment: Thanks Mike, take care.

Mike Le Couteur: Up subsequent…

Catherine McKenna, Former Liberal Cupboard Minister: “Properly, it could be raining out, however I’m so excited as a result of I’m launching a brand new initiative at COP26. Keep tuned, it’s going to be superior.”

Mike Le Couteur: That’s former Liberal Cupboard Minister Catherine McKenna. We’ll ask her about life after politics, which incorporates the U.N. Local weather Summit in Glasgow.

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[Announcer]

Mike Le Couteur: Former Liberal Cupboard Minister Catherine McKenna shocked many political watchers when she determined to not run once more within the final election. And earlier than she was infrastructure minister within the Trudeau authorities, McKenna was the minister of atmosphere, main Canada’s struggle towards local weather change. She’s out of politics however nonetheless within the struggle towards local weather change and now on a extra world scale. McKenna is heading to the U.N. in New York this week earlier than heading to Glasgow for COP26, that’s the U.N. Summit on Local weather Change. And Catherine McKenna joins me proper now.

Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us, and first query: You’ve left politics, however clearly you haven’t left this struggle on local weather change. Inform me why you assume it may be more practical to struggle local weather change out of politics than contained in the corridors of energy?

Catherine McKenna, Former Liberal Cupboard Minister: Properly look, I believe I used to be fairly clear once I determined to go away that it was to concentrate on my children but additionally on the struggle towards local weather change. And air pollution doesn’t know any borders. We now have a local weather plan right here in Canada. We have to at all times be doing extra, however we’ve achieved issues like put a worth on air pollution, section out coal, make historic investments in sustainable infrastructure, and we want the world to try this and we want momentum going into COP26 and past. In order that’s actually what my focus is on. I’ll at all times be somebody who sees local weather change as the largest situation and do no matter I can.

Mike Le Couteur: On that, you gave a little bit of a touch on Twitter in the previous few days, final week, saying that you’ve an enormous initiative coming. Now it appears to me this is able to be an awesome alternative so that you can break this information on our present proper now. So why not try this proper now?

Catherine McKenna, Former Liberal Cupboard Minister: Properly Mike, I’m truly partnering with the United Nations and another people so I’m not going to try this, however keep tuned and there will likely be an invite to Canadians to take part as a result of I believe—I imply the initiative is meant to point out sure COP is a second in time, however folks have been taking motion on local weather change earlier than COP26 and once they tear all of it down, folks will proceed to be taking motion. So it’s going to be nice. I’m actually enthusiastic about it, however everybody’s simply going to have to attend. We’re launching subsequent Friday.

Mike Le Couteur: You possibly can’t fault me for making an attempt I assume, eh? So waiting for COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, individuals are already decreasing expectations, sadly. The truth is that nations are far off their targets proper now, Canada included. So new experiences are displaying that Canada gained’t hit its emission discount targets, what occurred whenever you had been minister and since, that has allowed Canada to come back up brief?

Catherine McKenna, Former Liberal Cupboard Minister: Properly okay. So to begin with, I believe it’s actually necessary to be clear that we haven’t missed our targets. The targets are a 2030 goal so we’re fairly far-off from 2030, and we’ve already proven the pathway to how we are going to meet what we set as an preliminary goal in 2015, decreasing emissions by 30 per cent. And the Paris Settlement requires you to ratchet up ambition, so to be extra formidable. So we introduced, Jonathan Wilkinson, the prime minister introduced that we would scale back emissions by 40 to 45 per cent, and we’re bringing in new initiatives on a regular basis. And I believe there’s some actually necessary work that’s being achieved, together with for the oil and fuel sector. They should be a part of it. Emissions should go down from that sector as a result of they’re a really good portion of Canada’s emissions. However we’re doing issues like phasing out the inner combustion engine by 2035. Think about, like no automobiles that will likely be offered in Canada may have any emissions related to them. Huge retrofit packages, huge investments in public transit. However all of us should do the work. Look, I believe COP 26—it’s going to be laborious as a result of we have to see the ambition. You’ve seen everybody name for it, together with Greta. And it will probably’t simply be speak, it needs to be motion. Canada has proven what we’re going to do and we all know we have to do extra, however each nation wants to try this and produce it to the desk that’s the entire objective of the Paris Settlement, everybody doing their half.

Mike Le Couteur: To your level, you’ve at all times mentioned that local weather change is all about math, and it’s quite simple for folks to know that. So how can Canada actually be taken severely within the local weather change struggle if we proceed to additional oil and fuel?

Catherine McKenna, Former Liberal Cupboard Minister: Properly to begin with, it’s a transition and transitions aren’t linear and so they’re not excellent. And so, you understand, you possibly can’t instantly wave a magic wand and say, you understand we’re eliminating oil and fuel. Persons are use—we use oil and fuel. Everyone seems to be utilizing oil and fuel, however we do must transition. We have to determine that out. And that’s precisely what we’re doing. A part of on this election, the Liberal platform was to sort out emissions from the oil and fuel sector that’s critically necessary. We phased out coal. We want the entire world to be phasing out coal. There are nonetheless nations like Australia have a number of work to do. However we additionally want to determine jobs and I’ve at all times felt this that you simply—the transition has to work for everybody, which implies you’ve received to dig deep and it’s a must to determine how are folks going to have good jobs whereas we do every little thing we have to do to sort out local weather change. And let me be very clear: we all know what we have to do. The aim is staying properly beneath 2 levels, striving for 1.5 levels that was negotiated within the Paris Settlement, that’s the science. And so we’re going to should do our half the identical manner each nation on this planet goes to should transition as quick as doable, away from fossil fuels. In order that’s coal, that’s oil and fuel.

Mike Le Couteur: So doing our half however on the identical time, you talked about Australia. There’s additionally, you understand, the U.S. doesn’t have a worth on air pollution both. How will we use our affect as a rustic to attempt to lean on different nations to guarantee that they’re coming to the plate with extra ambition if we’re making an attempt to carry extra ambition?

Catherine McKenna, Former Liberal Cupboard Minister: Properly I believe that’s a extremely necessary level, Mike. And I believe, you understand, generally folks say properly why is Canada doing this? Why have we dedicated to phasing out coal when, say, Australia hasn’t? As a result of you could have credibility should you’re going to go, you understand, inform different nations or encourage different nations or help different nations to doing the laborious issues all of us must do. And so placing a worth on air pollution, I’ve been barely inspired in the USA they’re having a extremely robust time getting their infrastructure invoice handed, however now they’re considering properly possibly one other option to get emission reductions could be a worth on air pollution. I’ve had many conversations with Individuals, together with Republicans, who help and market mechanisms to cut back emissions. However that is what I wish to do, I imply my focus is how will we scale ambition on local weather and the way can we share Canada’s classes? However simply get actual since you’re proper, it’s math. So, to begin with, we have to get the entire world off coal as quick as doable. We additionally must transition off of oil and fuel, and that requires a number of work, a number of totally different options and in the end, I’ve been working collectively. And that’s, you understand, you possibly can disgrace people, but additionally you could present the trail as a result of it’s not that simple and I believe Canada’s received an awesome function to play going into this COP. We’re serving to to seek out—we’ll safe $100 billion per yr to help growing nations as a result of they’ve achieved the least to trigger local weather change and so they’re paying the worth proper now and we should be supporting them. So, there’s a number of items to this puzzle, however I believe Canada’s received an awesome story and possibly even a greater story as a result of it’s laborious for us, as a result of we do produce oil and fuel and we’ve—you understand, coal. And so displaying that we’re figuring it out and dealing actually laborious, I believe is a extremely necessary lesson for different nations and a really sensible manner and as I say, that’s my factor: how will we scale local weather options all world wide?

Mike Le Couteur: I’ve solely received a minute for this final query and it’s form of a two-parter. So about that $100 billion for the growing nations, what occurs if we don’t elevate that a lot cash? And what to you, does a profitable COP26 truly appear like?

Catherine McKenna, Former Liberal Cupboard Minister: Properly we have now to lift that cash. There will likely be no success in COP except there’s $100 raised, so Canada’s received to dig deep. Germany’s digging deep. Subsequent week—properly sorry, this coming week I’m on the U.N. how we elevate the ambition. Germany is there. They’re the co-lead with Canada on elevating the $100. I imply look, success in the end would appear like we’ve received a path to remain properly beneath 2 levels, striving for 1.5. I don’t assume we’re going to get there, however the Paris Settlement, don’t lose hope. It requires nations to constantly elevate the ambition and guess what? Each single day world wide, individuals are taking motion on local weather change. So COP, they’re going to fold issues up and go residence. Folks will go residence, however folks will nonetheless be performing and that’s what we have to do. We have to proceed pushing as laborious as we will, all of us digging deep. It’s not nearly governments, it’s about people, it’s about companies and we will do it. We tackled COVID, we’re on our option to getting out of COVID. It’s the identical factor with local weather. We will do it, however we’re going to have to essentially work extraordinarily laborious and be centered.

Mike Le Couteur: Catherine McKenna, I recognize you taking the time being with us. Sadly we’re going to have to go away it there. We’ll speak to you quickly. Thanks once more.

Up subsequent, who’s in and who’s out? There are some massive questions heading into Tuesday’s cupboard shuffle. We’ll be joined by International Information’ Amanda Connolly to speak about how these appointments will define key authorities priorities. Stick with us.

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Mike Le Couteur: Justin Trudeau unveils his third cupboard as prime minister this week. The swearing in ceremony will happen on Tuesday at Rideau Corridor with Canada’s first Indigenous Governor Normal Mary Could Simon. Globalnews.ca political reporter Amanda Connolly is right here to interrupt all of it down for us. Thanks for becoming a member of us, Amanda.

Amanda Connolly, International Information Political Reporter: Thanks for having me.

Mike Le Couteur: I assume the primary query. It’s the elephant within the room. I imply there’s no manner that Harjit Sajjan can stay as defence minister, proper?

Amanda Connolly, International Information Political Reporter: This actually is the massive factor that we’re expecting proper every now and then, that is—this has been an enormous drawback for the federal government, their dealing with of the navy sexual misconduct disaster. I spoke with one skilled a few weeks in the past saying that is successfully a sucking chest wound for the federal government. They simply can’t appear to get it beneath management to essentially stem the injury flowing from this. And naturally, we’re expecting that as we glance to the cupboard shuffle subsequent week.

Mike Le Couteur: Yeah. And so with out naming different names, I imply how a lot does the naming of the cupboard actually sketch out the priorities that this authorities may have? Who goes the place and particularly when you think about little one care, atmosphere, these sorts of issues.

Amanda Connolly, International Information Political Reporter: I believe that’s a extremely good query and once more, as you talked about there, little one care. There are some actually massive objects on the federal government agenda proper now that they should have folks in these jobs who can truly get issues achieved. I believe firstly, although, you’re actually three issues which can be going to consider right here. You’ve received the geographic illustration, folks from all of the totally different throughout the nation. You’ve received the gender stability situation, too, second, which is an enormous factor for the federal government right here. They’ve doubled down committing to that, so we’re going to observe for whether or not that will increase the dimensions of the cupboard right here, too, and once more, as you talked about, truly getting issues achieved. They’re in search of folks right here, once more, with one other election presumably 18 months away, that may bounce into these recordsdata, get issues achieved and never mess it up whereas doing it.

Mike Le Couteur: And it’s attention-grabbing as a result of there are some backbenchers, who’ve been doing properly, both as parliamentary secretaries, or in any other case which have been actually carrying the mail and in a way, they’ve received to advertise them as properly, proper?

Amanda Connolly, International Information Political Reporter: Yeah. And once more, that is, I think about, a difficult situation for the federal government. You’ve received individuals who have been doing the backbench work, parliamentary secretary stuff now for a few years on this authorities and haven’t essentially seen the promotions that possibly they really feel they’re owed or that individuals may assume they’re owed. So that you’ve received to think about right here, once more, a troublesome stability for the federal government who to advertise, who they’re going to should hold counting on to go on the market and do a number of this work by way of the TV interviews and shoring issues up when there are issues for the federal government.

Mike Le Couteur: And there’s one factor that I believed was at all times attention-grabbing. There’s—you understand we kind of discuss it behind the scenes and say oh, this particular person for positive; they’re undoubtedly going to get one. And generally they get handed over, both due to regional illustration or for different causes. How do you assume that that’s going to have an effect on caucus morale when there are going to be individuals who will likely be handed over after which, you understand, they should take up their function as a backbencher?

Amanda Connolly, International Information Political Reporter: Properly they’re in a extremely difficult place proper now and that’s once more, as a result of we had this—we simply had this election. They didn’t get the bulk that lots of people assume they had been in search of with that call, proper? In order that they clearly are going to have a restricted timeframe right here. They’re going to be seeking to actually make an affect and with that, you want your caucus to work collectively. It’s a must to have that cohesion, that means to get issues achieved and to have that—that robust cohesive unity within the caucus itself to current a united entrance to Canadians.

Mike Le Couteur: As a result of you possibly can actually upset some folks in the event that they get left off, once more.

Amanda Connolly, International Information Political Reporter: Completely.

Mike Le Couteur: It’s simply a kind of attention-grabbing dynamics that fortunately you or I don’t should do. We will simply sit right here and discuss it, proper?

Amanda Connolly, International Information Political Reporter: That’s the perfect half, proper?

Mike Le Couteur: Thanks a lot for this, Amanda, actually recognize it.

 Properly, that’s our present for at the moment, everybody. Thanks a lot for spending your time with us. Mercedes Stephenson will likely be again subsequent Sunday. For The West Block, I’m Mike Le Couteur.

 




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