Speech from the Throne (FULL TEXT)

January 26, 2009

Prime Minister Stephen Harper & Governor General Michaelle Jean (January 26th, 2009)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper & Governor General Michaelle Jean (January 26th, 2009)

Honourable Senators,
Members of the House of Commons,
Ladies and gentlemen,

In these uncertain times, when the world is threatened by a struggling economy, it is imperative that we work together, that we stand beside one another and that we strive for greater solidarity.

Today, in our democratic tradition, Canadians expect that their elected representatives will dedicate their efforts to ensure that Canada emerges stronger from this serious economic crisis.

Once again, the people’s representatives have gathered to consider the priorities of another parliamentary session.

Each Throne Speech is a milestone on the remarkable 142-year Canadian journey. 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.

Today we meet at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty. The global credit crunch has dragged the world economy into a crisis whose pull we cannot escape. The nations of the world are grappling with challenges that Canada can address but not avoid.

The Government’s agenda and the priorities of Parliament must adapt in response to the deepening crisis. Old assumptions must be tested and old decisions must be rethought. The global economy has weakened since Canadians voted in the last general election. In fact, it has weakened further since Parliament met last month.

Our Government has listened to Canadians who are concerned about how the worldwide recession is affecting their jobs, their savings and their communities. Our Government has reached out to Canadians in all regions, in all communities and from all walks of life. 

Our Government has consulted widely:

  • with those who work, those who invest, those who create jobs, those who build infrastructure and those who provide non-profit services;

  • with municipal, provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal leaders and representatives of communities;

  • in fact, with everyone whose input might help chart a course through the present storm.

Our Government approached the dialogue in a spirit of open and non-partisan cooperation. There is no monopoly on good ideas because we face this crisis together. There can be no pride of authorship—only the satisfaction of identifying solutions that will work for all Canadians. 

Acting on the constructive thoughts and suggestions that have been received, our Government will tomorrow present Canada’s economic stimulus plan. The plan will protect our economy from immediate threat, while making investments to promote long term growth.

The economic stimulus plan will be a plan of action.

  • Our Government is stimulating the economy, both through direct government action and by encouraging private expenditure.

  • Our Government is taking immediate action to build Canada through new investment in infrastructure.

  • Our Government is acting to protect the stability of our financial system.

  • Our Government is acting to ensure access to credit for businesses and consumers.

  • Our Government is acting to support Canadian industries in difficulty―including forestry, manufacturing, automotive, tourism, agriculture―and to protect the families and communities who depend on those jobs.

  • Our Government is acting to protect the vulnerable: the unemployed, lower-income Canadians, seniors, Aboriginal Canadians and others hit hardest by the global economic recession.

These actions will be targeted, they will inject immediate stimulus while promoting long-term growth and they will avoid a return to permanent deficits.

These actions will protect the jobs of today while readying our economy to create the jobs of tomorrow.

Canadians face a difficult year―perhaps several difficult years. In the face of such uncertainty, our Government has developed a clear and focused plan. Our Government will spend what is necessary to stimulate the economy, and invest what is necessary to protect our future prosperity.

As Canadians expect, the economy will be the focus of our Government’s actions and of the measures placed before Parliament during the coming year. In pursuing measures to support the economy, our Government will also attend to the other important priorities that it set out in the Speech from the Throne to open the 40th Parliament.

The present crisis is new, but the imperative of concerted action is a challenge to which Parliament has risen many times in our history. What will sustain us today will be the same strengths of character that have pulled Canada through critical times before: unity, determination and constancy of purpose.

Honourable Members of the Senate,

Members of the House of Commons:

As you unite in common effort and in common cause, may Divine Providence be your guide and inspiration.
_________________

LINK TO SPEECH: HTML / PDF

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Consider This…

January 24, 2009

I just want to repeat something I read on a blog recently.

  • When a Liberal says something is bad for say, the economy – it usually means that it is bad for the Liberals, politically.
  • When a Conservative does something – anything, really, a Liberal will say it is bad because… well, because a conservative did it!

It goes back to what I said here. It doesn’t matter what the Conservatives do, they’ll be opposed simply because of partisan politics. It doesn’t matter what their policies are. They’ll oppose the good, just as much, if not more than the bad ones!

I was going to say that was scary. But it’s just sad.

At least the US has it right. Republicans and Democrats, these days, seem to be putting respective party policies aside and working tother to help their country. It’s not even about policy anymore. It’s about survival.

I’m just sorry the Canadian Opposition parties; who are endlessly stuck on opposing, don’t want Canada to prosper and get through this global crisis.


‘Irresponsible’ budget leaks, huh?

January 23, 2009
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff leaves after speaking to the Canadian Club of Canada and the Empire Club of Canada in Toronto on Friday. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff leaves after speaking to the Canadian Club of Canada and the Empire Club of Canada in Toronto on Friday. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

CBC: Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of playing political games on Friday, calling the leaking of information from next week’s federal budget a deliberate attempt “to get the bad news out of the way.”

Okay, umm so holding back on telling Canadians how it is and what’s going on is a bad thing now?  Wasn’t that something the opposition criticized the prime minister and his government for?  Like say, in the last election?  For supposedly not telling it like it is?  And now Ignatieff says that Mr. Harper is playing political games, and hurting Canadians?

Well maybe Iggy doesn’t see consulting and talking with Canadians as a good thing.  But wait…

Wasn’t that the ‘reason’ behind the Liberal-NDP-Bloc Coalition? – Because the big bad conservative government wasn’t listening and thinking about Canadians and doing what was best for them?

I know, I’m asking a lot of questions.  But the opposition parties, who so readily talk about how bad this government is, they aren’t giving any answers beyond the party lines of what they will do better and why the a government headed by Stephen Harper isn’t working.

The opposition says they want to work and put partisan issues aside, work for Canadians – but 14 days after an election, after the Conservative Party winsre-election… stronger than before!  The Liberals and the NDP get into bed with the Bloc and basically say, “It doesn’t matter, they shouldn’t be in power.”

So the PM takes it to the Governor General.  And she says take a break, work on a new budget, with the other parties and then come back and try and make it work. 

So that’s what Harper is doing, what he’s been doing ever since.  He’s consulted with the opposition leaders, with provincial and territorial leaders, and most importantly, he has asked ordinary Canadians what they want and what they feel is needed in this budget.

All the while the NDP leader and the Bloc leader have pretty much said, “Well they are Conservatives and you can’t work with conservatives so we wont even try.”  And Michael Ignatieff, who never really publicly supported a coalition, yet signed on for one  has since ascended to Leader of the Opposition and ever since has been flipping and flopping on whether or not there will be one.

So I ask again: Who is playing politics here?  PM Harper is manipulating things – PM Harper is being irresponsible – PM Harper isn’t trying.  Doesn’t sound right to me. 

Harper hasn’t said he wont work with others, he has said he will, and he has!  He said he would talk to Canadians, and he has!  

Why is Iggy so upset about this ‘leak’?  Is he scared that Canadians may like what is being done and what is being put into the budget before he can vote it down?

I respect parliamentary tradition. But in this case, I feel that keeping Canadians in the loop on what’s going on and what the plan is, that’s a good thing. That way the opposition and the groups that may be critical of the beget cant be.

As far as the possible $64-billion deficit, that’s only because the government is giving the Liberals what they said was needed and what they pushed to have. And now that’s not good enough. Now that’s too costly, and dangerous to the Canadian economy. But they didn’t like the small surplus the Conservatives predicted for the next fiscal year in the economic update, with little ‘stimulus’. Then Liberals said that more ‘stimulus’ was needed, but now that they get it, that’s too risky, according to Ignatieff.

Final thought:

And I’ve said this before: I have a feeling that you could give these people the Moon, because they say that they want it, and then they would demand Mars and Jupiter too!  It’s not that the government isn’t doing enough. It’s just that the opposition will always say they want more.


Harper and Obama – A little chat – But What about Khadr?

January 23, 2009

Prime Minister Harper speaks with President Barack Obama on Friday January 23,2009.

Prime Minister Harper speaks with President Barack Obama on Friday January 23,2009.

 

CTV: Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama discussed the economy and the auto industry during their first telephone chat since America’s commander-in-chief was inaugurated on Tuesday.

— 

Well, gee that’s great.  I’m glad that the two leaders are talking.  That’s important.  But are they talking about the important stuff?

They discussed the agenda for Obama’s upcoming trip to Canada — his first international foray as president — as well as energy, the environment and the war in Afghanistan. 

Great topics I think – certainly they are on the minds of  most Canadians and Americans alike.  The economic situation, and the best way to survive the storm without any long lasting damage being major.

But one might think that there is another key issue right now.  Maybe President Obama’s signing an executive order on Thursday to shut down Guantanamo Bay within a yearand the implications for Canada? (re Omar Khadr).

Granted, a year is a long way off.  But still.  What’s going to happen with Omar Khadr?  Will he come back to Canada?  Will he be tried in a US court?  The questions need to be answered, and I would hope the Canadian Government is getting the answers.  

Liberal senator, ex-general Romeo Dallaire (and longtime proponent for Khadr’s return to Canada) had pushed for then-president-elect Barack Obama to stop the war crimes trial of Omar Khadr so he could return ‘home’ to Canada.

Well on his first full day in Office President Obama ordered a suspension of Khadr’s military trial – this before the order to close GITMO within at least 1 year.  So are Harper and Obama the ones to talk about this?  Or is that up to Foreign Affairs and the US State Department to work out? Granted, it is only a 12-day suspension, but I think that just means the answer is needed sooner.

But what do Canadians want?

According to a Globe and Mail Poll: Given Barack Obama’s desire to close Guantanamo, do you think it’s time for Ottawa to bring home Omar Khadr?  – 61% (11,113 of people who voted thus far) say NO versus 39% who say YES.  This is only an on line poll, but I find that most of the people that vote on line, especially on news sites are generally reflective of most Canadians opinions.  Maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part?  Either way, I do not want Omar Khadr back in the country without assurances that he will go straight to jail, charged as a terrorist, and stay there!

So I hope that after Prime Minister Harper congratulated Obama on his inauguration that the two really got down to business, and talked about the Canadian traitor and terrorist sitting in a cell at Guantanamo Bay.