Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will address the nation this evening at 6:30 p.m. ET after the speech from the throne lays out the government’s plan to deal with the pandemic and the economic recovery.
As Canada’s parliament returns, Trudeau will seek to put an ethics scandal behind him.
The last time Mr Trudeau’s government held a Throne Speech – where a government outlines its policies and programs as a parliamentary session begins – was less than a year ago.
That was before the global coronavirus pandemic upended the economy and the lives of many Canadians.
The prime minister also found himself bogged down over the summer by the WE charity ethics scandal that ended up costing his finance minister his job.
In August, he made a controversial decision to prorogue – or suspend – parliament and return on 23 September with a new Throne Speech to address the realities of the pandemic.
As parliamentarians head back to Ottawa, Mr Trudeau’s government faces chatter of a possible election, a new opposition leader who will be seeking to make his mark, and a rise in Covid-19 cases in parts of the country.
The speech will prompt a confidence vote in the House of Commons – a key test of whether a sitting government has the “confidence” of the majority.
A government must maintain the confidence of the House of Commons in order to continue to govern.
Mr Trudeau’s Liberals were re-elected last year with a minority, and it will need the support of at least one other federal political party to avoid the possibility of triggering a snap election.
Last week, the prime minister consulted with opposition party leaders over the speech.
The Conservatives – who recently elected a new leader, Erin O’Toole – say they will be pushing for increased Covid-19 testing across Canada and for support for small business.
The NDP – seen as the party most likely to support the Liberals – is seeking more funding for long-term care homes, the creation of a pharmacare programme, and universal childcare.
The party will also pressure the government not to sunset the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (cerb), which has been Canada’s main financial support programme for workers affected by the coronavirus lockdown. Cerb is due to be replaced 27 September with an expanded employment benefits programme.
While NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said he is “absolutely prepared to fight an election” he added that “it is not my goal” to do so.
If the Liberals survive the confidence vote, they will still face questions over the WE Charity scandal.
Opposition parties will be turning the heat back up on the controversy after the suspension of parliament ended House committee investigations into the affair.
Sources: BBC, CBC