Governor General David Johnston ahead of Speech from the ThroneConsumer first measures, public safety, celebrating Canadian history and the economy were among the key priorities listed in Wednesday's throne speech in Ottawa.
After four months of prorogation, the country's parliamentarians returned to the Hill to hear Governor General David Johnston deliver the Harper government's agenda for the next number of years heading into the 2015 election.
As is the nature of these throne speeches, it was slim on details and big on generalities.
Opposition parties argue that the Tories are using the speech, titled Seizing Canada's Moment, as an attempt to change the channel on the ongoing Senate scandal.
Here are some of its highlights:
[ Related: Highlights from the federal Speech from the Throne ]
- The government will take steps to reduce cell-phone roaming costs.
- The government will require Canadian companies to un-bundle channels. In other words, Canadians will be able to choose the combination of television channels they want.
- The Tories will end what they call "pay to pay" policies where customers have to pay extra to receive paper bills.
Jobs and the economy:
- The Tories say that they will balance the budget by 2015 and will freeze the federal operating budget.
- The government will enshrine balanced-budget-legislation into law during "normal economic times."
- The government intends to revamp disability and sick-day entitlements of the public service.
- The government will review government assets and potential sell assets.
- Once the budget is balanced, the Conservatives will work to further reduce the personal tax burden.
- The government says that they are close to a deal on the Canada - European Union free trade agreement which could potentially create 80,000 Canadian jobs.
- The government intends to finish building the "Dempster Highway to the Arctic Ocean, linking Canada from sea to sea to sea."
- The Tories say that they will introduce a Victims Bill of Rights.
- The government will introduce legislation which will give police and prosecutors more power to combat cyberbullying.
- The government will renew its efforts to address the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
- The Tories will battle the growing problem of prescription drug addictions.
- The government will take "targeted action" to ensure dangerous goods are transported safely.
- They will change the law so that "a life sentence means a sentence for life."
- The government intends to mark and celebrate the following events:
- The 150th anniversaries of the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences
- The 200th birthdays of George-Étienne and Sir John A. MacDonald
- The 100th anniversary of the First Worl War
- The end of Canada's mission in Afghanistan
- Canada's 150th birthday
Resource development and the environment:
- The government says that they will "enshrine" a polluter-pay system into law but provided no detail on that includes.
- The Tories intend to increase safety standards of pipelines and companies operating offshore.
The full speech can be read here.
(Photo courtesy of Reuters)
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