Home News Speech from the Throne

Speech from the Throne

by Archives January 27, 2009

The Conservative government delivered their second Speech from the Throne in three months on Monday. The speech was an opportunity for the minority government to press the restart button after a shaky start in late 2008.
Unlike November’s edition, which was 16 pages long, this year’s speech was less than four pages in length. The speech focused exclusively on the economy and the need for cooperation in the House of Commons. The Conservative party has said they will stick with the November speech on all other policies.
Traditionally the speech is used to “[set] out the broad goals and directions of the government and its strategy to accomplish those goals,” according to the government’s website. But this year’s speech did not follow the usual plan-of-action format. In fact, the speech was little more than a prequel to the 2009 budget, released on Tuesday.
From the opening lines – “In these uncertain times, when the world is threatened by a struggling economy” – it was clear the tone of the speech was far from optimistic. The Governor General, who delivers the speech on behalf of the Queen, went on to describe the crisis as “unprecedented,” adding we could be facing “several difficult years” ahead.
Since being elected, the government has come full circle on the economic crisis: while they once questioned its severity, they now see it as the biggest threat currently facing the country.
As expected, the government is planning massive stimulus, including abstract measures such as “direct government action,” “immediate action to build Canada through new investment,” and “protecting the vulnerable.” The Conservatives also promised the stimulus would be “direct,” “[promote] long-term growth,” and would not lead to permanent structural deficits.
The Bloc Québécois and NDP have already voiced their opposition to the speech and have indicated they would likely be voting against the budget. Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe was disappointed with the speech’s narrow focus, citing its failure to even mention the environment. NDP leader Jack Layton questioned the Prime minister’s intentions. In his opinion, “only a coalition government will provide the change, stability and hope,” referring to the Liberal-NDP coalition agreement of late last year.
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff didn’t have many negative things to say about the speech. He said he appreciated the focus on cooperation and is looking forward to reading the budget. Ignatieff has already said he will wait until Wednesday before announcing whether or not his party will support the budget. Since the Bloc and NDP are unlikely to support the budget, the fate of the Conservative minority will likely be in Ignatieff’s hands.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment