Friday, October 18, 2013

Throne Speech offers juicy policies for conservatives, moderate promises for all Canadians

Published for the Prince Arthur Herald


On Wednesday afternoon, Governor General David Johnston took his seat in a packed Senate and read Seizing Canada’s Moment: Prosperity and Opportunity in an Uncertain World.

The 2013 Throne Speech comes at the half way point of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s majority mandate, re-energizing Canada’s conservatives and refocusing his government’s priorities.

The Throne Speech, divided into 3 parts, offers juicy red meat policies for conservatives and moderate promises for all Canadians.  The focus, notably, remains on Canada’s jobs and the economy, but this Throne Speech also offers important policies in terms of a consumers’ first approach.

Creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians:

  •   Balanced budget legislation – the requirement that the federal government balance its books

  • Debt-to-GDP ratio of 25 percent by 2021
  • Freeze the overall federal operating budget, continuing to restrain hiring
  • Further targeted reductions to internal government spending
  • Reform the federal government’s spending management
  • Sell federal assets and, when in the best interest of Canadians, sell them
  • A lean, competent, and committed public service.  Public servants’ pay benefits will be reasonable, responsible, and in the public interest.  Disability and sick-day entitlements will be reformed.  The Public Service Labour Relations Act will be amended to ensure the public service is affordable, modern, and high-performing.
  • Increase performance accountability in the public service
  • Moving from 63 different email systems to one
  • Ensuring youth, aboriginals, and under-represented groups of people have the opportunity to participate in the work force
  • Stronger, more effective, and more accountable on-reserve education systems for aboriginals
  • Reform the Temporary Foreign Worker program to ensure Canadians always have the first chance at available jobs.
  • Protect Canada’s environment and natural resources, by enshrining the Polluter-Pay system
  • Introducing higher safety standards for companies operating offshore as well as those operating pipelines, and increasing the required liability insurance
  • Transforming the National Research Council
  • Targeted investments in science, innovation, and technology
  • Further cutting red tape for small businesses by introducing into law the one-for-one rule
  • Small businesses will be provided further tax relief once the government returns to balanced budgets
Supporting and Protecting Canadian Families
  • Reducing wireless roaming costs
  • Requiring that television channels be unbundled
  • Continuing to enhance high-speed broadband internet for rural Canadians
  • End pay-to-pay policies so customers don’t have to pay extra to receive paper bills
  • Expanding no-cost basic banking services
  • Cracking down on predatory “payday lenders”
  • Introducing a Victims’ Bill of Rights
  • New legislation to give police the tools they need to combat cyberbullying and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images
  • Ending sentencing discounts for child sex offenders
  • Ending automatic early release for serious repeat offenders
  • Introducing legislation that makes a life sentence a life sentence
  • Renewed efforts to address the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women
  • The vigorous defence of Canada’s existing prostitution laws
  • Introduce Quanto’s law
  • Strengthening Canada’s food inspection regimes
  • Improving nutritional information on food labels
  • Introducing patient safety legislation to ensure drugs are plainly and clearly labelled
  • Make adoption more affordable for families
  • Ensure people have a say before drug injection sites open in their communities
  • Build on the Housing First approach
  • Create a new National Conservation Plan to further increase Canada’s protected areas
  • Increase safety measures surrounding the transport of dangerous goods
Putting Canada First
  • More tooth and less tail in Canada’s military
  • Providing the support veterans need
  • Building on the “Helmets to Hardhats” program
  • Finally completing the Dempster Highway to the Arctic Ocean
  • Continuing to defend the seal hunt
  • Continuing to promote the Office of Religious Freedom
  • Ensuring money spent on foreign aid produces real results
  • Granting honourary citizenship to Malala Yousafzai
  • Ensuring early and forced marriages do not occur on Canada’s soil
  • Reforming the Immigrant Investor Program
  • Introducing comprehensive reforms to the Citizenship Act
  • Building a memorial for victims of Communism
  • Restoring military traditions
  • Continuing to partner with aboriginal communities to create healthy, prosperous, self-sufficient communities
  • Reforming the Senate upon receiving advice from the Supreme Court
  • Reforming Canada’s elections laws to ensure the integrity of the voting system
In all, Prime Minister Harper’s 2013 Throne Speech promises to fulfill cornerstone conservative policies while implementing a moderate plan for all Canadians.  Consumers, small businesses, and all Canadians can be proud of Canada’s direction to remain a world leader.

To read the full Throne speech, visit http://speech.gc.ca/sites/sft/files/SFT-EN_2013_c.pdf


Take part in the Twitter discussion on the Throne Speech at #SFT13