Job creation remains a priority as Liberal caucus wraps up on ‘Freedom Convoy’ anniversary

Click to play video: 'Trudeau, Polievre outline differing visions for Canada as Parliament set to return'
Trudeau, Polievre outline differing visions for Canada as Parliament set to return
WATCH: Trudeau, Polievre outline differing visions for Canada as Parliament set to return – Jan 27, 2023

As Ottawa marks one year since the “Freedom Convoy” arrived in the national capital, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he understands the anger and concerns protesters have.

Dozens gathered outside Parliament on Saturday to mark the anniversary as members of the Liberal party were attending their caucus retreat discussing their upcoming priorities for when the House of Commons resumes Monday.

“We can feel it, how times are tough right now. We have a global economic slowdown, combined with inflation, combined with higher interest rates,” Trudeau said Saturday before meeting with Liberal MPs.

“A lot of people are feeling a lot of pressure.”

Trudeau said he expects there to be a global economic slowdown for the next six to 12 months, but promised his Liberal government would provide more targeted supports without adding to inflation.

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Click to play video: '‘Freedom Convoy’ anniversary may draw 500 people to Parliament hill, security warns'
‘Freedom Convoy’ anniversary may draw 500 people to Parliament hill, security warns

He said the Liberals and New Democrats want the same thing heading into the next sitting, like expanding dental care.

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Other shared priorities under their confidence-and-supply agreement include pharmacare legislation this year, and the introduction of a “just transition” bill to help create a green economy that has protections for energy workers built into it.

Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the government is just getting started when it comes to job creation within the green energy sector, touting recent industrial investments in Ontario.

Last year Champagne announced his government is giving $259 million to General Motors of Canada in Oshawa, Ont., to advance electric vehicle manufacturing. The government says the investment will result in thousands of jobs.

“I would say last year was the appetizer. The main course is this year,” Champagne said Saturday.

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“We’ll have even more for Canadians.”

Click to play video: '2023 Employee Concerns'
2023 Employee Concerns

Trudeau said part of his government’s agreement with the New Democrats, which was signed last March, is about creating good jobs into the future.

“Canada is well positioned for the coming years, and we have to pull together the way Canadians do during these difficult times,” Trudeau said.

“That’s what I look forward to doing in Parliament, and quite frankly that’s what I know Canadians will do. In tough times we pull together. We don’t throw up our hands and say everything is broken.”

Trudeau was referencing Pierre Poilievre who said “everything feels broken” in Canada when the Conservative leader addressed his caucus on Friday.

Canada’s economy is facing a “turbulent” year but the federal government still has some spending room for big priorities like a new health-care deal with the provinces, Associate Finance Minister Randy Boissonnault said earlier this week at the Liberal cabinet retreat in Hamilton.

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On Feb. 7, Trudeau is set to meet with Canada’s premiers to discuss further health-care funding, but the amount is still unclear.

“We’ll find out in about eight or nine days from now,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Saturday, which marked the last day of the Liberal caucus retreat.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2023.

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