OTTAWA — The throne of opening Canada’s 44th Parliament is in the books.
Here are five things that sum up a day of pandemic-muted splendor on the Hill, and the speech intended to outline the Liberal government’s agenda for its third term in power.
New Governor brings a new mood
Canada’s first native governor stroked into the red chamber with glimmers of purple dyed in her otherwise silvery hair. She took a seat on the throne at the far end of the room, while an Inuit elder in the corner passed a small fire called Qulliq, a traditional lamp made of moon-shaped soapstone that burns oil mixed with moss and cotton.
When Simon spoke, she kept the speech in French and English known since the Confederacy on such occasions. But in a parliamentary first time, she also read in Inuktitut, an Inuit language spoken where Simon grew up in the northeastern Quebec community of Kujjuaq.
And she began the speech with a reminder that Canada’s “true history” involves lands taken from indigenous nations without permission, sending an appeal to all Canadians: “do not hide from” horrors like the discovery of mass graves in schools , year.
“We must turn the guilt we bear into action,” she said.
Yes, the pandemic. But!
The throne of the Liberal government was clear that Job No. 1 continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. But the speech was also mostly forward-looking, declaring the government’s general vision of “rebuilding” beyond the crisis and “getting big things done.”
According to the speech, it included new policies to combat climate change, such as the promised ceiling on greenhouse gas emissions from the highly polluting oil and gas sector.
The speech also underlined liberal promises to “strengthen our health care system”, make housing more affordable, secure agreements to fund $ 10-a-day childcare in all provinces and territories, increase annual immigration and promote diversity and inclusion in Canadian society.
The opposition parties did not have to consider their reactions for too long. Within minutes of Simon’s speech, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh stood in the lobby of the House of Commons to declare it “empty.
“It was a government that ran out of ideas, which ran out of steam.”
Yves François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, agreed. He said the speech was less clear than a series of campaign promises and that it 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, but which were not in the roughly 3,000-word speech on Tuesday.
Singh pointed out that the speech did not mention the Liberal promise to scrap subsidies that promote fossil fuel production by 2023. Nor did it mention a law that the Liberals have already started working on to support workers moving out of it. fossil fuel sector for green jobs. It also did not mention the national medicinal plan the Liberal Party has previously promised.
“It leaves me, and it makes Canadians wonder: what is their real goal? What is their priority?” said Singh.
The speech also bypassed any direct reference to the crisis of sexual misconduct that has engulfed the Canadian military – and which the Liberals’ new defense minister has promised to confront.
And Erin O’Toole, the Conservative leader, rejected that the speech did not address rising inflation and concerns in Western Canada about federal climate policies. “We have heard nothing from this government,” he said.
The government will not fall over that
Regardless of the opposition’s criticism, it seems that the liberal minority government is safe from a potential vote of confidence over the speech. While O’Toole said he would oppose the speech and Singh said he might vote against it, Bloc’s Blanchet said he would not allow the government to fall over such an obscure document.
“We want to live with this blank piece of paper gently read in three languages,” he said.
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