Her Excellency took her time in getting the Speech from the Throne proceedings underway – perhaps a bit of a subtle rebuke to the Prime Minister that if he keeps insisting on making these things happen by proroguing Parliament, that she’s going to really make a show of it.
This time she wore frameless glasses, which were less severe than the pair she wore for the previous Speech. And apparently she’s wearing Fluevog shoes, and other Canadian designers.
Doesn't this just scream out for a caption contest? Look at that expression on Her Excellency's face. (CP Photo)
What follows below was my as-it-happens reactions to the speech:
- Only five Supreme Court Justices, and Beverley McLachlin is not among them.
- Shout out to Haiti and the Olympics to open it.
- Pats on the back for paying down debt before the recession.
- Ooh, pay freezes for Parliamentarians. Not that it means much in the big picture.
- Why is it that when I hear the phrase “value for money” by this government, I roll my eyes?
- “Skilled trades” are the jobs of the future? Are we talking plumbers or research scientists here?
- Space program gets a shout out – but in relation to Arctic sovereignty. So what about that robotics program for a Mars mission that was offered to Canada but turned down because this government decided to take a pass?
- National securities regulator? Quebec is so not going to be happy. Or Alberta, for that matter.
- “Clean energy superpower”? With what investment?
- All I hear are buzzwords…
- “No greater accomplishment than to provide for their children?” Seriously? Oh, but now they’re going to give more money for single parents. Why am I guessing that it’ll be a pittance?
- Establishing a Prime Ministerial Award for volunteerism? What? The Governor General’s award isn’t enough? Oh, wait – Presidential envy. Forgot that for a second…
- Respect for the rule of law? Not this government.
- Increased penalties for child sexual predators and the sex offender registry? Because nothing says “Throne Speech” without adding in a little moral panic…
- “Respecting the will of Canadians” by reintroducing C-15 in its original form? Um, no? How is that respecting the will of Canadians?
- “Pluralistic society” – the Conservative buzzword to replace “multicultural” (because that’s far too Trudeau-esque).
- A new biometric passport? Let me guess – that’ll not only cost more, but take longer to get, too.
- Senior’s Day? Woo. Because you know it won’t be a statutory holiday.
- Another Olympic shout out? Nothing like trying to milk all those gold medals.
- Diamond Jubilee Committee for the Queen? Hell yes!
- Ooh, the government is going to look at restoring the original gender-neutral wording of the National Anthem? Score one for Senators Nancy Ruth and Vivienne Poy!
- Expanding advanced voting won’t help the turnout. That’s just tinkering!
- Senate reform? You’re still beating that unconstitutional drum?
- What’s this? They might actually sign on to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? That’s… new.
- Let Divine Provenance guide you? Way to get that religious shout out in there.
- The Liberal quip – “It’s not recalibration, it’s regurgitation.” Oh, snap! (And then every single other person used it, and claimed it as original.)
On the topic of the National Anthem changes, which everyone is immediately fixating on, lots of people (including Tony Clement) are giving props to Senator Nancy Ruth. I sent her a quick email when I heard the news, and she said that it’s good to hear, but there’s a lot of work to do. Indeed – it’s been shot down several times before.
Before it even got started, the Liberals implied that the Conservatives have once again taken a page from John Howard’s Australia, as is apparently a Harper tradition.
After the Speech, Ignatieff tried to pass a motion to establish a special committee to study the prorogation issue. It didn’t pass unanimous consent.
The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a black suit with a fuchsia top, with an overly large scarf tied around her neck. It’s one of those good news/bad news situations.
Oh, look – all kinds of that infrastructure money is still sitting in the government coffers. Because no one saw that coming.
Responding to the citizenship guide issue, Jason Kenney’s spokesperson offered this gem:
“Brison shouldn’t ask for a guide on Canadian citizenship to really be a guide about the Liberal Party’s role in Canadian history, because then we’d have to mention MacKenzie King’s rejection of Jewish refugees escaping Nazi persecution or endorsement of Japanese internment, or Pierre Trudeau’s adoption of martial law, or the Liberal sponsorship scandal from the government of which he was a part.”
Um, excuse me? And then, Kenney himself disavowed knowledge, saying his signature wasn’t anywhere on those documents – not that Kenney hasn’t had a rather… complicated relationship with the truth in the recent past. I’m not sure that I’m all that inclined to believe this latest denial, and when you add everything together, it’s starting to look like a bucket defence.