Liberals promise to control pandemic, fight climate change and rebuild economy in Speech from the Throne
The Liberal government promises to end the pandemic while strengthening the economy, fighting climate change, signing new child care agreements with the provinces and continuing to reconcile with Indigenous peoples.
Governor General Mary Simon, Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General, unveiled these priorities today in a Speech from the Throne that highlighted progress in the relationship between the federal government and Indigenous peoples.
“I have already seen how determined Canadians are to reconcile. Indigenous peoples are reclaiming our history, our histories, our culture and our language through action, ”said Simon in a speech delivered in English, French and Inuktitut.
“Non-Indigenous peoples are beginning to understand and accept the true impact of the past and the pain suffered by generations of Indigenous peoples. Together, they walk the path of reconciliation.
Simon said that to strengthen this relationship, the federal government will take action on health care and climate change and get to the root of what happened in residential schools across the country.
Since the beginning of the spring, several indigenous communities across the country have reported the discovery of hundreds of anonymous graves on the sites of former residential schools.
Simon thanked MPs and officials for their work in tackling the pandemic, acknowledging the losses and hardships of the past 18 months.
“It touched us all, including those in this chamber who lost a dear colleague just a few days ago, Senator Forest-Niesing. To her family and to all of you, my deepest condolences,” he said. she declared.
“The number one priority remains controlling the pandemic. The best way to achieve this is through vaccination.”
Simon said this effort will require strengthening the health system across the country and supporting the elderly, veterans and people with disabilities.
“To ensure that no one is left behind, support will be extended or added to industries that continue to struggle,” she said.
WATCH: Governor General Mary May Simon and Prime Minister enter Senate Chamber for Speech from the Throne
Simon said the Liberal government is committed to supporting and promoting the French language, both in Quebec and outside Quebec, by reintroducing the bill for the substantive equality of French and English.
Earlier this year, the Liberal government said that because digital technology encourages the use of English over French, it would strengthen the place of French in Canada by using the law to guarantee the right to work in French in federally regulated private companies with more than 50 employees.
“To support Canadian culture and creative industries, the government will also introduce new legislation to reform the Broadcasting Act and ensure that web giants pay their fair share for the creation and promotion of Canadian content,” said Simon said.
The economy and the environment
“There is work to be done. On accessibility. On care in rural communities. On delayed proceedings. On the treatment of mental health and addiction. On long-term care, ”she said.
Improving the quality of life for Canadians, she said, means making life more affordable for everyone.
“While Canada’s economic performance is better than that of many of our partners, we must continue to fight the rising cost of living,” she said. “To do this, the government’s plan includes two main priorities: housing and child care.
Strengthening the country’s economic recovery will require the federal government to continue working with the provinces to establish a national child care program at $ 10 a day, Simon said.
Watch: Usher of the Black Rod calls on MPs to attend the Speech from the Throne:
She said the government also views immigration as critical to post-pandemic economic recovery.
“That’s why the government will continue to increase immigration levels and reduce wait times, while supporting family reunification and delivering a world-leading refugee resettlement program,” said Simon.
Simon cited the Liberal government’s goal of capping and reducing emissions from the oil and gas sector while working towards a “net zero electricity future”.
Guns, floods, conversion therapy
“The government will also strengthen measures to prevent and prepare for floods, forest fires, droughts, coastal erosion and other extreme weather conditions made worse by climate change,” Simon said.
The Liberal government is also committed to continuing its gun control efforts by implementing a “mandatory buy-back” program for banned assault weapons and to working with any province or territory that wishes to ban handguns.
Simon said the Liberal government will also ensure that the conversion therapy ban is implemented.
After months of debate and some Conservative opposition, the last bill on this subject died on the Order Paper when the government called the September election.
Watch: Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole Responds to Speech from the Throne:
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole criticized the speech, saying the Liberal government has spent more on pandemic aid than the United States and has experienced slower economic growth.
O’Toole said the Liberals were ignoring the plight of workers in the energy, auto and steel industries and that his party would give those workers a voice.
“We’ve seen a recycled set of promises going back to the first Speech from the Throne on reconciliation, other issues like that. The same language, no concrete action,” O’Toole said after the speech.
“What we would like to see – a focus on the cost of living crisis, getting the country back to work, controlling spending and working for national unity at the same time.”
Don’t count on us, says NDP, Bloc
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the speech showed the Liberal government was “out of ideas and out of breath”.
“We see a Speech from the Throne that does not respond to the urgency of the crisis we are facing,” he said.
Singh said he did not put enough emphasis in the rhetoric on affordable housing, climate change action and adequate health care funding.
“It is not a speech that demonstrates a willingness to work together or shared values to build a better Canada,” said Singh. “We want the Liberals to be clear… Don’t take our support for granted. This is not speech that gives the impression that they are interested in working together.”
WATCH: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh discusses content of Speech from the Throne
Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet said the speech included a lot of buzzwords but little to say.
“There is only a 24-page collection of completely empty words,” said Blanchet.
“Even read slowly, the Speech from the Throne is short, which unfortunately leads me to conclude that I have absolutely no reason to vote in favor of the Speech from the Throne. I have no reason to vote against the Speech from the Throne.