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Prime Minister’s remarks on changes to the Ministry and an upcoming Speech from the Throne

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Good afternoon, everyone.

Thank you for joining us.

Yesterday, I accepted Bill Morneau’s resignation as Minister of Finance.

For almost five years, Bill has worked tirelessly on behalf of all Canadians to build a strong, resilient economy that works for everyone.

I want to thank Bill for his outstanding service as Minister of Finance and as the Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre.

No matter his next steps, I know he will continue to make important contributions to our country in the years to come. 

Earlier today, I was at Rideau Hall to make a few changes to our Cabinet.

Chrystia Freeland is now Canada’s Minister of Finance, and will remain Deputy Prime Minister.

Dominic LeBlanc is the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and continues to serve as the President of the Queen’s Privy Council of Canada.  

In the weeks and months ahead, their work will be more important than ever.

Right now, the world is at a crossroads.

Canada is at a crossroads.

As economies relaunch, we’re seeing COVID-19 reappear in places like Australia and New Zealand.

It’s their winter right now, but ours is still ahead.

We have to be vigilant, because we have worked too hard and sacrificed too much to go backwards.

The fight is still far from over.

Just take the fact that some provinces are seeing new cases after weeks of declining numbers.

For parents especially, this is a big worry in terms of the school year.

I hear that.

And as a dad, I’m concerned about this too.

Provincial leaders have a responsibility to make sure that our kids are safe in their classrooms.

As federal government, we’ll do whatever we can to help, including through our $19 billion Safe Restart Agreement.

But of course, it’s not just school that are on people’s minds.

While many Canadians are back at work, the unemployment rate is still in double digits.

It’s tough for all Canadians, but we have to remember that it’s those who were already struggling who are hardest hit.

Women are facing impossible choices between their kids and career.

Racialized Canadians and Indigenous people are confronting extra barriers.

Young people are dealing with unexpected burdens as they worry about their future. 

It will take time to make up the economic ground we’ve lost to this pandemic.

It will take hard work to fix these gaps.

This pandemic has taught us some important lessons.

It has highlighted the inequalities that still exist and the vulnerabilities we have as a society.

But Canada is not alone.

Around the world, a consensus is emerging that the time has come to think boldly and rebuild even stronger.

Advanced economies understand that with very low interest rates, borrowing costs are also very low to help stimulate the recovery.

Countries like Canada that have a strong fiscal position must invest to help people get through this crisis.

Our G7 allies, whether it is Germany or the United Kingdom, or our partners like the European Union or South Korea, they all understand that this is a time to act.

And we must seize the opportunity as well.

We have a choice to make.

We can decide to move forward instead of returning to the status quo.

We can choose to embrace bold new solutions to the challenges we face, and refuse to be held back by old ways of thinking. 

As much as this pandemic is an unexpected challenge, it is also an unprecedented opportunity.

This is our chance to build a more resilient Canada: a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener and more competitive.

A Canada that is more welcoming and more fair. 

This is our moment to change the future for the better.

We can’t afford to miss it because this window of opportunity won’t be open for long.

We’ve supported Canadians with a huge emergency response to make sure that everyone could cope during this time.

We’ve carefully – and successfully – reopened many parts of the economy.

And now, we also need to look to the future.

We need long-term solutions that address the shortfalls in healthcare that meant soldiers were caring for seniors.

We need good, middle-class jobs that can withstand the challenges of tomorrow.

We need to get through this pandemic in a way that gives everyone a real and fair chance at success, not just the wealthiest 1 per cent.

In other words, we need a long-term plan for recovery.

A plan that addresses, head on, the fundamental gaps this pandemic has unmasked.

In the coming weeks, we will present our plan to rebuild a stronger, more resilient Canada.

This will be our roadmap out of the pandemic towards a society that is fairer and more welcoming.

Towards communities that are better prepared for future crises.

And towards a country where everyone is safer and healthier.

As our first step to make this plan a reality, we will present a Speech from the Throne on Wednesday, September 23rd.

This is the same week that the House of Commons was already scheduled to return.

The Throne speech will give us the opportunity to lay out, in detail, our approach going forward.

It will also allow Parliament to hold a confidence vote on this new plan.

Today, I have asked the Governor General to prorogue Parliament, which must happen before any government can present a Throne speech.

I want to be clear.

Whether you’re counting on the CERB or EI while you look for work, or on the wage subsidy to keep employees on the job – these programs will not be affected by the prorogation.

In fact, starting a new session of Parliament is about creating sustainable ways to support you moving forward.

That has always been our number one focus and it always will be.

Eight months ago, our government introduced a plan to address the issues that matter most to Canadians.

This plan was designed for a different Canada, one before COVID.

Since then, our reality has changed, as has our approach.

Parliament must support a new agenda that responds to the new world in which we live.

Canadians expect us to work together at times like this.

We are ready to do our part, to get Parliament’s support for our plan for a more resilient Canada.

A plan that allows us to remain vigilant and keep the virus under control.

A plan that invests in Canadians.

A plan for a better future.

We have lots of work ahead of us in the weeks and months to come. 

And I know that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister LeBlanc – who have taken on new roles today – are the people we need for the job.

The whole team is ready for the path ahead. 

I’m looking forward to the challenges the coming months will bring.

Thank you.