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Speech from the Throne: pandemic, economy and climate, federal priorities

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes his first test of the 44e legislature of parliament. The throne speech, read by Governor General Mary Simon on Tuesday afternoon, will have the support of a majority of elected officials.

Indeed, the Bloc Québécois “will vote without enthusiasm in favor” of the “very short statement”, indicated the leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, while admitting to having difficulty in clearly defining the vision of a ” cleaner and healthier future ”set out in the opening address of the parliamentary session. “Nevertheless, we cannot be against apple pie, and the Bloc Québécois will support the throne speech, even if it appears as a CEGEP work written in half a day,” he told the press. .

The support of the Bloc Québécois prevents Justin Trudeau – who was re-elected at the head of a minority government on September 20 – from having to seek the good graces of the leader of the New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh, who spoke on Tuesday. ambiguity over the fate of his parliamentary group for the throne speech.

“Sustainable and united”

In the last election, Canadians “clearly indicated the way forward” by Parliament: building a “sustainable and united” country, said Mary Simon in a speech delivered in English (78% of the speech or 2,290 words ), in French (19% or 562 words) and Inuktitut (3% or 98 words) in front of Senators, Members of Parliament as well as before the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Richard Wagner, wearing a red coat lined with ‘ermine for the occasion. “Parliamentarians must work together to end the pandemic and find bold and concrete solutions to meet other challenges”, including economic growth, the fight against climate change, reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and maintaining “safe, healthy and inclusive” communities, she pleaded.

The representative of the monarch Elizabeth II in Canada echoed the dismay felt by the people of Montreal in the face of the outbreak of gun violence. She recalled in particular that the federal government is giving free rein not only to municipalities, but also to the provinces to tighten handgun control in their territory. “The government has taken important steps like a lifetime background check. The government will now introduce measures such as the compulsory buy-back of already banned assault weapons, ”she said, the Chancellor’s necklace of the Order of Canada around her neck, an Apple Watch around her wrist.

Mary Simon also reiterated the government’s commitment to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people by “transforming[ant] the guilt that overwhelms us in concrete actions ”. “Reconciliation is not a one-off gesture with a deadline. Reconciliation is a lifelong journey towards healing, respect and understanding, ”said the native of Nunavik.

The “top priority” of the Liberal government remains the “control” of COVID-19, which has claimed the lives of nearly 30,000 Canadians to date, said Mary Simon.

The Governor General also reaffirmed the will of Justin Trudeau’s team to “strengthen” long-term care and mental health services by “working”.[ant] with the provinces ”, ie the first concerned. However, she did not reiterate the head of government ‘s wish to impose “national standards” in mental health and long term care applicable from coast to coast.

The Liberal Party of Canada has not abandoned the idea of ​​subjecting the provinces to certain standards, however, specified a political adviser. The Trudeau government remains convinced of the need to invest $ 9 billion over five years in order to “guarantee[ir] safer conditions for the elderly ”so as to avoid new“ tragedies ”such as those which occurred in CHSLDs in Quebec during the first wave of COVID-19 cases.

Climatic changes

In addition, the Governor General argued, during her visit to the Senate Chamber, that it is time to “move faster towards completely carbon neutral electricity”, in particular by capping and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse of the oil and gas sectors, by promoting public transit and by obliging the sale of zero-emission vehicles. “Our planet is in danger. […] We need to walk the talk and adapt where necessary. Time is running out, ”she dropped.

On the other hand, Mary Simon affirmed the will of the Liberal government to strengthen its presence in “coalitions, organizations and international partners” in order to make its voice heard on the situation in the Arctic, but also in the Indo-Pacific region.

The leader of the official opposition, Erin O’Toole, on Tuesday denounced the liberal “spending” which accelerates “inflation”, the liberal “ideology” which fuels “division”, the liberal “mediocrity” which prevents the ‘”Action”. “We are here to defend Canada,” he said, before being questioned, for the umpteenth time, about the number of unvaccinated members of the Conservative Party.

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