Newly appointed Governor-General of Canada Mary Simon officially opened the 44th Parliament on Tuesday, November 23, and delivered the Speech from the Throne in Canadian history in Canada’s two official languages and, for the first time in Canadian history, Inuktitut-one of the Indigenous Inuit languages spoken in the Canadian arctic.
The Throne Speech touched upon the Liberal government’s priorities of economic recovery, climate change, and truth and reconciliation; however, the speech faced criticism from the official opposition for having very little detail and planning to achieve these goals.
“(The Throne Speech) provided very little detail and new direction and, without backing it up with a plan, it’s just nice words,” said Battle River-Crowfoot MP and Deputy Shadow Minister of Rural Economic Development and Rural Broadband Strategy Damien Kurek.
Despite criticisms for the lack of detail and direction, MP Kurek says the fact the Governor-General delivered the speech in the Indigenous Inuktitut language was “incredibly powerful” and an example of “reconciliation in action.”
However, he says it failed to address real concerns faced by Canadians-in particular, in Alberta and the western provinces.
Inflation and the rising cost of living, especially for those in rural areas, felt like a “last minute” addition to the speech, getting a singular mention in the introduction.
And, while MP Kurek recognizes economic recovery is an important focus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, he is worried about the call to “cap and cut oil and gas sector emissions,” which will inevitably hurt the Alberta economy.
“There has to be focus to encompass (economic recovery) without leaving any Canadian behind,” MP Kurek said, adding Canada is already one of the most difficult countries to invest in oil and gas.
There was also a noticeable lack of mention about two Canadian industries which would help bolster economic recovery-sustainable forestry and rare earth mineral mining-and he says these two sectors, and their experts, have consistently been under-acknowledged by the Canadian government.
MP Kurek notes, while the Throne Speech addresses the Liberal government’s Parliamentary priorities, it’s a lot of talk without much action.
The nearly two-month delay in resuming Parliament after it rose for the summer will inevitably have “real-world consequences” which will leave Canadians suffering.
And, with Parliament set to rise for Christmas in four short weeks, this could mean even further delays in reintroducing bills such as COVID-19 supports which ended in October.
Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail