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Throne speech launches Trudeau era in Parliament

The throne speech sketches out the priorities of the new Liberal government, expanding on five well-worn themes from the campaign


 
CP

Governor General David Johnston, Sharon Johnston, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau listen to a aboriginal drumme rDavid Charette as they stand in the rotunda before the speech from the throne in the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday December 4, 2015. (Fred Chartrand/CP)

OTTAWA – The Justin Trudeau era is officially underway in Parliament with the reading of a throne speech sketching out the priorities of the new Liberal government.

Friday’s brief speech, delivered by Gov. Gen. David Johnston, promises a new spirit of openness and civility in Parliament, in which all members — on the government and opposition benches — will be “honoured, respected and heard.”

“Canada succeeds in large part because here, diverse perspectives and different opinions are celebrated, not silenced,” Johnston said.

“Parliament shall be no exception.”

The speech expanded on five well-worn themes that were central to the Liberals’ stunning upset victory in the Oct. 19 election.

First and foremost, it reiterated Trudeau’s pledge to cut the tax rate for middle-income earners and provide a more generous child benefit to those who need it, all paid for by a tax hike on the wealthiest one per cent.

It also promised significant new investment in infrastructure to boost the stagnant economy.

The speech did not specifically reiterate Trudeau’s promise to run deficits of no more than $10 billion over the next three years and produce a surplus in the final year of his mandate. Rather, it promised more generally to produce “a fiscal plan that is responsible, transparent and suited to challenging economic times.”

The speech highlighted Trudeau’s democratic reform promises: to run an open and transparent government, reform the House of Commons to empower backbenchers, reform the Senate and replace the first-past-the-post electoral system.

On the environment, it promised to continue working with the provinces to put a price on carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It did not specifically repeat Trudeau’s campaign promise to meet with the premiers to hash out a national climate change strategy within 90 days of the United Nations climate change conference underway now in Paris.

It also promised to introduce a new environmental assessment process.

The government’s agenda will reflect the belief that “Canada’s strength is its diversity,” Johnston said.

“Canadians elected a government to bring us together, not to set us against one another. Canada is strong because of our differences, not in spite of them.”

That diversity was on display as Trudeau and Johnston and their entourage made their way to the Senate chamber, where Johnston read the speech. In the Hall of Honour, where they were met by an aboriginal artist performing an indigenous honour song, they shook hands with elementary school children and new Canadians, including Syrian refugees, lining the corridor.

The speech said the government would create a new “nation-to-nation relationship” with indigenous peoples. It also promised to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools and to launch an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The government also promised to renew Canada’s commitment to peacekeeping but, at the same time, vows to continue working with allies to combat terrorism.

The speech did not specifically address Trudeau’s promise to repeal controversial provisions in the anti-terrorism legislation passed by the previous Conservative government. It did commit the government to working to “keep all Canadians safe while at the same time protecting our cherished rights and freedoms.”

The speech also reiterated the Liberals’ promises to “legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana,” develop a new health funding accord with the provinces, bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February and support the CBC.

Speech From the Throne


 

Throne speech launches Trudeau era in Parliament

  1. I’ve a good health policy idea. Their answer to my question is that the USA should have 2x as many psychiatrists and one third as many psychologists as at present. Should be about 100k and 200k respectively, versus the present total. I assume this scales to Canada approximately.
    This segways with medical diagnosis for cancer. The psychiatry book I read makes it clear the field is imperfect; in some USA States a prison that offers mental health treatment is considered I reason to keep people locked up there rather than a psyche ward. In both cases false positives are a sticking point. The are a plethora of new diagnostic tools available. EEG sensors are wearable. There is a researcher for colo-rectal cancer, that has a cheap stool sample test. It catches way more cancers than the FDA recommended expensive diagnostic test, but the problem is there are around 10% more false positives. Existing gives something like 5%, new cheap version around 15%. This is true for mental illness diagnosis. Looking for many types of brain circuit biological faults, and other types of testing, is imperfect. What would revolutionize health-care, is to establish the cost ratio (for taxpayers and fiscal policy) of 1% false positive versus 1% false negative. A false negative isn’t so bad; you just don’t use the test results as confidently. A false positive would be especially bad in private market USA.
    Does 5% false negative equal 1% false positive. If this ratio could be established, it would give cheap diagnostic testers and assessors, guidance. And this would then be useful for funding expensive treatments. I think this single ratio benchmark should be the focus of health care (ignoring epidemiology).
    For preventing pandemic via fake meat, a protein plant is needed. They said maybe I can invent this, maybe someone else will. GMO quinoa perhaps.

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