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Trudeau, Singh pressed on party’s decision to access COVID-19 wage subsidy

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced multiple questions today on why his party applied for a federal wage subsidy program for organizations facing economic hardship due to COVID-19.

The Liberals, as well as the Conservatives and New Democrats, all applied for the program, which sees the government cover up to 75 per cent of a worker’s salary, to a maximum of about $850 a week.

The program is meant for companies that have suffered major losses of revenue as a result of the pandemic, though it also covers non-profits and charities.

Trudeau didn’t answer repeated questions about why his party needed to access that support, saying only the program itself is meant to keep employees connected to their places of work for when the economy can reopen as normal.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said today it makes more sense for his party staff to get the subsidy and be able to keep their jobs rather than being laid off and having to access other benefits.

The Conservatives, who raised nearly $4 million in the first quarter of 2020, have said they are incurring higher costs with a move to remote work and fundraising has slumped.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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