I’ll be posting a Speech from the Throne overview soon. But I’m having trouble getting past the claims on its opening pages that seek to set the stage.
In the very first paragraph, for example, the government declares that Canadians “never shrink from lending a helping hand to the most disadvantaged, wherever they may be.” That’s an upbeat allusion to Haiti, of course. But Canada’s development assistance spending ranked 16th among 22 major donor nations in 2008 (the latest numbers I can quickly find). Nothing to boast about, I’m afraid. We shrink.
Then there’s this sentence on page 3: “From coast to coast to coast, almost 16,000 projects are putting Canadians to work while laying the foundation for future prosperity.” As recently as Dec. 2, 2009, the government’s own Economic Action Plan update said: “Funds have been committed to more than 12,000 projects across the country, of which approximately 8,000 have begun.” Even that claim seemed questionable, so I’ll have to see evidence that 16,000 projects are now underway.
But quibbling takes time and there’s much, much more to read.