Tonight, Trudeau tries to change the future

Tonight, Prime Minister Trudeau is going to try and change the end goals for his government. Rightly so too. This isn’t the same country that existed when this current government first introduced their throne speech. The pandemic has exacerbated in equalities, and decimated entire segments of the economy. It is certainly reasonable to say that Canada is not returning to it’s past self. In that light, it is prudent for leadership to embrace the change that has been thrust upon us all. Rather than let Canada succumb to the storm of change, it is right for him to try and seize the wheel of the ship and steer us towards a new port of prosperity.

I have no insight of forewarned knowledge of what is in the Throne speech. I do have some wishful thinking though. So here is what I am hoping to see this afternoon and tonight in his address:

A greener and smarter economy…

A big hint that has been dropping in the media is an emphasis on green technology to propel the recovery. I hope that this is true. The provinces have taken steps to try and build up their individual economies in the past. However, in recent years, changes in governments have put a halt on this growth. In the meantime, the developed world has continued to embrace green technology, while we stubbornly wait for a return to the past.

That isn’t going to happen. Gas prices have not recovered since the last drop. It is unlikely that they will be recovering anytime soon. Instead most developed countries have turned to embrace wind, solar and hydrogen fuel as lynch pins in their energy models. We need to do the same. I know Alberta, will be angered by this. However, one province alone cannot halt the march of time. The global economy is embracing green technology and energy. Canada cannot afford to be a laggard on this. We need to lead.

Additionally, if Trudeau is serious about a post-COVID-19 economy, then he’ll utilize his innovation ministry to encourage automation. Our manufacturing sector is vulnerable towards the pandemic. If this is to be our norm for the forseeable future, then we need to be able to increase our productivity, while not risking spread of the disease. Increase automation in our manufacturing sector is a way to accomplish this. Unions and workers will no doubt be hesitant to agree to this notion. However, there is a solution to this.

Universal Basic Income

This has been talked a lot since the start of the pandemic. The federal Liberal caucus has embraced it as a key policy point for the party. Finding a way to implement this will be one of the most powerful tools the government will have to help keep Canadians safe and ensure a transition into a post COVID-19 economy.

From many accounts, the recovery has not been smooth. Many jobs loss have not be replaced. There is little confidence in the economy to go on major rehiring campaigns, when no one knows if we’ll be heading back into a shutdown in a few weeks. This cycle of open and closing is unprecedented for the economy. It is not a recipe for long term growth. Not to mention, it is reasonable to assume that some industries are not going to survive COVID-19 intact. Change will mean survival.

The casualty of that change will be everyday workers. People who do not have seniority or varied skills to ensure job security. As well not everyone is able to work from home. The result is turmoil in the economy. A UBI can act as a buffer. Allowing workers to retrain, retool and reinvest in the economy. It can provide breathing room for workers to ensure their own safety in the time of COVID-19. UBI’s time has come.

Tear down Canadian trade barriers

Of all the items I’ve posted in this article, this one seems to be the most daunting. I know economists have been advocating for this since the dawn of confederation. However, it is more necessary than ever. For generations, Canada has relied on trade with the United States as our primary engine of growth. My fear is that COVID-19 has undercut this assumption.

As of this article over 200,000 people have died in the United States. There does not seem to be a cohesive plan to address how to tackle the pandemic. In fact, it is estimated that the United States has passed the point of no return and may not be able to get a handle on the spread of the disease. All factors which have lead to the vast majority of Canadians to agree on maintaining our borders closed to traffic.

As the pandemic continues, and we seek to encourage economic growth, we will have to look towards each other. Goods must be able to freely travel between provinces as unencumbered as possible. Wine and beer are only a small example of this. They are huge industries in our nation and allowing these provincial businesses to be able to take their products nationally will be incredibly beneficial to us all.

Other industries would benefit from these measures as well, and encourage growth from ociean to ocean.

Will we see this?

I honestly have no idea if this will come into being. This is just my fanciful thoughts on what we need to do to transform Canada into a 21st Century, post-COVID-19 society and economy. It is thought, that Trudeau is looking at building a legacy, akin to his father’s mark on the country. Some of these ideas would be a good step towards accomplishing just that. Will we see this? Only time will tell.

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