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Tories, NDP lay out demands as Liberals prepare to reveal state of economy

Last Updated Jul 5, 2020 at 3:08 pm EST

OTTAWA — Opposition parties have laid out their demands as the federal Liberal government prepares to update Canadians on the state of the economy after four months of COVID-19.

Wednesday’s fiscal snapshot will be the first public assessment of the country’s economic and financial situation since the pandemic started in earnest in March.

The snapshot is expected to give an idea of how the government sees the rest of the fiscal year playing out, including figures for a potential deficit, but opposition parties want more than just numbers.

The Conservatives are demanding the Liberals also change the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to encourage more Canadians to go back to work and provide the auditor general more money to properly scrutinize the government’s COVID-19 response.

The NDP has put forward its own requests, which include expanding the federal wage subsidy program, providing support to Canadians with disabilities and going after rich Canadians and companies that use tax havens.

Federal figures last week showed direct government spending on COVID-19 supports at just over $174 billion, including another increase to the budget for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. That is now expected to cost $80 billion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2020.

The Canadian Press