OTTAWA – The speech from the throne to inaugurate Canada’s 44th Parliament is in the books.
Here are five things that sum up a day of pomp suppressed by the pandemic on the hilland the speech that tries to outline the agenda of the liberal government for its third term in power.
The new governor general brings a new vibe
Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General entered the Red Chamber with tinted flashes of purple in her silver hair. He sat on the throne at the other end of the room, while in the corner an old Inuit man tended a small fire called the Qulliq, a traditional lamp made of soapstone in the shape of a moon that burns oil mixed with moss and cotton.
When Simon spoke, he delivered the speech in French and English, familiar from the Confederacy on such occasions. But in a first parliament, he also read Inuktitut, an Inuit language spoken where Simon grew up in the community of Kujjuaq, in northeastern Quebec.
And he began the speech by recalling that the “true history” of Canada involves lands taken from indigenous nations without permission, and issued an appeal to all Canadians: do not “hide” from horrors such as the discovery of mass graves in residential schools. year.
“We must turn the guilt that we carry into action,” he said.
Yes, the pandemic. But!
The liberal government throne speech was clear that Job No. 1 is still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. But the speech was also largely forward-looking, stating the government’s general vision to “rebuild” beyond the crisis and “do great things.”
According to the speech, that included new policies to combat climate change, such as the promised cap on greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector, which is highly polluting.
The speech also touched on liberal promises to “strengthen our health care system,” make housing more affordable, secure deals to fund child care for $ 10 a day in all provinces and territories, increase immigration. annual and promote diversity and inclusion in Canada. society.
Vagueness in abundance?
The opposition parties did not have to think too much about their reactions. Within minutes of Simon’s speech, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh stood in the lobby of the House of Commons to declare that it was “empty.
“It was a government that ran out of ideas, that has run out of strength.”
Yves François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, agreed. He said the speech was less clear than a series of campaign promises and could have been written by a college student in half a day.
Missing: a lot of things
There were also notable liberal promises from the recent election campaign, which have been repeated since then, but they weren’t in Tuesday’s roughly 3,000-word speech.
Singh noted that the speech did not mention the Liberals’ commitment to eliminating subsidies that promote fossil fuel production by 2023. It also failed to mention a law that the Liberals have already started working on to support workers leaving the sector. from fossil fuels to green jobs. . Nor did he mention the national drug plan that the Liberals had previously promised.
“It leaves me and Canadians wondering: what is their true goal? What is your priority? Singh said.
The speech also avoided any direct reference to the sexual misconduct crisis that has engulfed the Canadian military and that the new Liberal defense minister has vowed to confront.
And Erin O’Toole, the Conservative leader, lamented how the speech failed to address rising inflation and concerns in western Canada about federal climate policies. “We have not heard anything from this government,” he said.
The government won’t fall for this
Regardless of criticism from the opposition, it appears that the liberal minority government is safe from a possible vote of confidence on the speech. While O’Toole said he would oppose the speech, and Singh said he could vote against it, Blanchet of the Bloc said he would not allow the government to make a mistake with such an indistinct document.
“We will live with this empty piece of paper read softly in three languages,” he said.
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