Throne Speech: Set rhetoric to stun, lieutenant! - Macleans.ca

Throne Speech: Set rhetoric to stun, lieutenant!

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Apologies if this stuff has been commented upon elsewhere, for owing to work-based mayhem I’ve only now had the opportunity to glance at the Speech from the Throne, but…

Our Government approached the [pre-budget] dialogue in a spirit of open and non-partisan cooperation.

Hilarious. Always pays to have a laugh line somewhere in there.

Today we meet at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty.

WTF? Really? Is this really a time of “unprecedented” economic uncertainty? Because I was kind of thinking that the crisis of the early 80s was pretty precedenty: Inflation out of control, interest rates at 20%, a Tarzan movie starring Bo Derek – we just couldn’t catch a break. And then there were the 1970s. Also, perhaps someone in government has heard of the Great Depression? It was in all the papers.

Your predecessors, too, were summoned to this chamber at times of great crisis: as Canada struggled to claim her independence, in the shadow of war, during the depth of the Great Depression and at moments when great policy division tugged the very bonds of this union.

Down, boy. So now we’re comparing this moment to world wars? (Can’t wait for Paul Gross’s Passchendaele II, about a brave Canadian who enlists to fight in the collateralized-debt-obligations wars of the 21st century.) During the Depression, unemployment hit 27% — as in, twenty-seven freaking per cent! The jobless rate today? Less than 7%. And the head of the Bank of Canada says things are going to start to improve pretty quickly. If you start using the I’m-freaking-out-here language now, what happens if unemployment ever hits, say, 10%? Then which words are you going to use? (Technically, aiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! is not a word.)

Also, I didn’t see anything in the ol’ Throne Speech about how if we were going to have a recession, we would have already had a recession by now. I must have skimmed past it.

The best part of yesterday’s Throne Speech is what it means for today’s budget speech, where the Finance Minister will have no choice but to up the rhetorical ante:

Today we gather at a time of economic Armageddon, a dark moment of grave crisis whose air of panic will consume us whole, leaving us a fragile shell of a country, beaten within an inch of our economic lives. Please, Mr. Speaker, I beg of you: Hold me.

Upon a post-apocalyptic wasteland that makes the setting of the first Mad Max movie look like a Club Med, we shall endeavour to endure, just as our distant ancestors struggled to unlock the secret of fire, and the water-based creatures of prehistoric earth first confronted the challenge posed by that strange tandem of air and solid ground…

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