Thursday, November 20, 2008

Throne Speech Opens Canada's 40th Parliament

Speech from the Throne:

Protecting Canada's Future

Today, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaƫlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, delivered the Government's Speech from the Throne to open Canada's 40th Parliament. In her speech, the Governor General outlined a broad agenda the Government of Canada will follow to protect Canada's future in a time of global economic instability.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Government of Canada will follow a five-pronged plan to protect Canada's economic security:

  • Reform global finance by working with our allies and trading partners to re-examine and renew the rules that underpin the global financial system.
  • Ensure sound budgeting so that Canada does not return to ongoing, unsustainable structural deficits while putting all federal expenditures under the microscope of responsible spending.
  • Secure jobs for families and communities by encouraging the skilled trades and apprenticeships, supporting workers facing transition, and providing further support to the automotive and aerospace industries.
  • Expand investment and trade by modernizing investment, competition and copyright laws while working with the United States to address shared challenges and pursuing trade agreements in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
  • Make government more effective by reducing red tape, fixing procurement, improving program and service delivery, and improving the management of federal agencies, boards, commissions and Crown corporations.

In addition to detailing the core economic priorities of the Government, the Speech from the Throne also outlined other areas where the Harper Government will be looking to deliver results for Canadians:

  • Securing our energy future by developing our rich energy resources and pursuing new cleaner energy supplies, including further development of natural gas resources in Canada's North. The Government will also ensure it is ready to regulate new nuclear projects.
  • Tackling climate change and preserving Canada's environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020, ensuring that 90 percent of our electricity needs are met by non-emitting sources by the same deadline and banning bulk water exports.
  • Helping all Canadians participate by further improving the Universal Child Care Benefit, increasing access to maternity and parental benefits under Employment Insurance, and acting to help Canadians who care for loved ones with disabilities.
  • Keeping Canadians safe by strengthening the sentences for serious criminal offences, putting in place new rules for food and product safety, and introducing a new national security statement.
  • Contributing to global security by ensuring that our foreign policy is based on Canadian values, rebuilding the Canadian Forces with the best possible equipment, and transforming the Canada's engagement in Afghanistan to focus more on reconstruction and development.
  • Building stronger institutions including moving toward representation by population in the House of Commons for British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, introducing fixed terms for Senators, allowing for Senate nominees to be selected by voters, and enshrining the Government's respect for provincial and territorial jurisdiction in a Charter of Open Federalism.

Canadians elected a government to look out for their interests in a time of global economic uncertainty. With the strong governing mandate outlined in the Throne Speech, Canadian individuals, families and businesses can be assured that not only are they protected for the future, but they will also emerge from this period of global economic instability stronger than ever before.


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