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Liveblogging the post-prorogue Throne Speech

Graham F. Scott

Full text of the liveblog:

2:18 PM: We’re watching the Throne Speech online here: bit.ly

2:19 PM: At the moment the Governor General has arrived outside Parliament and is doing various martial duties.

2:20 PM: Please feel free to comment and add your thoughts as things go along.

2:21 PM: CTV is reporting that the Throne Speech’s title is cribbed from Australia: www.ctv.ca

2:22 PM: … though titling your political document “A Stronger Economy. A Stronger [YOUR COUNTRY HERE]” isn’t exactly rocket science.

2:22 PM: CBC also has some pre-speech roundup going on: www.cbc.ca

2:24 PM: Still waiting for the GG to arrive in the house.

2:28 PM: Still a few minutes to go here.

2:28 PM: Globe and Mail is reporting that the speech will freeze MP salaries: www.theglobeandmail.com

2:31 PM: CPAC Voice of Doom says things are running about 20 minutes behind.

2:33 PM: Just a note: please comment by clicking “Make a comment” at the top of the liveblog window, and not by commenting on the blog post below. Our commenting system is screwed up at the moment. (should be fixed soon).

2:34 PM: “Throne Speech” is trending on Twitter right now in Canada. So that’s something, right?

2:36 PM: The Bearer of the Black Rod is on the move.

2:37 PM: Trumpets blare. GG has entered the Senate chamber.

2:38 PM: If you’re just joining, we’re watching the live stream of the throne speech on CPAC: bit.ly

2:38 PM: Sorry, that’s USHER of the black rod.

2:39 PM: More on the Usher and his duties: en.wikipedia.org

2:42 PM: Usher has just knocked on the doors of the lower house.

2:43 PM: Bowing, nodding, ceremonial hats.

2:44 PM: Someone just shushed everyone. Rowdy crowd.

2:44 PM: “Hey everyone, party at the GG’s house!”

2:45 PM: Now there will be a long period of getting 300+ MPs etc. to shuffle back the way the usher came.

2:47 PM: WALK FASTER

2:48 PM: OK: UoBR is back in the Senate Chamber, the Mace holder is waiting at the door.

2:49 PM: Kind of like vampires having to be invited in.

2:49 PM: The PM sits in a chair to the GG’s right. And we’re on!

2:51 PM: Canadians’ “sense of solidarity” will persist amid economic problems.

2:51 PM: “Our country has weathered the storm better than most”

2:52 PM: Conservative agenda from last year is “largely in place.”

2:52 PM: Top priorities: “jobs and growth”

2:53 PM: “Canada poised to exit recession with one of the strongest economies in the industrialized world.”

2:54 PM: Canadians meet problems with “pragmatism, resourcefulness”

2:54 PM: “Workers have shared their jobs to spare colleagues from layoff.”

2:55 PM: Stockwell Day looks sad about something.

2:56 PM: The recession is not behind us. Newsflash!

2:57 PM: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Families, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

2:57 PM: Note to self: count instances of the word “Jobs” later in the text…

2:58 PM: “Canadians live within their means, and expect their governments to do the same.”

2:58 PM: “A balanced budget is not an end in itself.”

2:59 PM: Balancing books will NOT affect: Pensioners, taxes.

2:59 PM: Nor transfer payments.

3:00 PM: Salaries will be frozen.

3:00 PM: Ministers’ offices budgets also frozen.

3:01 PM: “launching review” of departments, ministries, etc., to “ensure value for money and tangible results.”

3:03 PM: Technology is baffling and fast and stuff. We have to be good at teh internets.

3:03 PM: Also: the skilled trades.

3:04 PM: On technology: government will strengthen laws on intellectual property.

3:05 PM: Canada has been a space-faring nation for almost fifty years.

3:05 PM: SPACE

3:05 PM: We’re going to invest in space stuff to…protect arctic sovereignty.

3:06 PM: Prediction: space lasers to pick off seal pups from geostationary orbit.

3:06 PM: (Also: The Russians)

3:07 PM: Live feed is stuttering, we’re missing bits and pieces. Lots of people watching.

3:08 PM: Canadian financial industry “set Canada apart” during the recession, the “strongest in the world.”

3:09 PM: We will be a “Green energy superpower”

3:09 PM: Third largest natural gas producer, and uranium and hydro electricity. Second largest for petroleum.

3:10 PM: petro+gas+uranium ≠ “Green energy superpower.”

3:11 PM: Commenter Laura says: “Green energy superpower” with the Tar Sands? “Out of his G.D. mind”

3:12 PM: Support domestic shipbuilding with “strong federal procurement.” Isn’t that the same as “we’re going to buy some boats?”

3:13 PM: Our government is in support of family, engagement, raising children. Risky positions, guys.

3:14 PM: Child subsidies to increase for single-parent families, sounds like. No numbers.

3:15 PM: Government will work with NGOs to launch national strategy on Childhood Injury Prevention.

3:16 PM: Local grassroots efforts are strangled by red tape. Government IS the problem.

3:16 PM: Srsly, Stockwell Day looks on the verge of tears.

3:17 PM: A new Prime Ministerial Award for voluntarism.

3:18 PM: Tough on crime section starts.

3:18 PM: Lock the bums up, etc. Keys thrown away, yadda yadda.

3:18 PM: Won’t somebody please think of the children?

3:19 PM: In the case of “Multiple murderers”, will ensure “life is life.” That would be the throwing away the key part.

3:20 PM: Mention of the Sisters in Spirit initiative, addressing the hundreds of missing aboriginal women across Canada.

3:20 PM: Does this mean their funding will be maintained? No dollars mentioned.

3:20 PM: Police will get “investigative powers for the 21st century.”

3:21 PM: Victims of crime will get paid leaves of absences.

3:22 PM: TERRORISTS

3:22 PM: “Our peaceful, prosperous, and pluralistic” societies is one of the safest places to live.

3:23 PM: (But: we’re going to take naked 3-d scans of you at the airport sometimes.)

3:24 PM: Huge bulge of retiring baby boomers will pressure the pension system.

3:24 PM: (We’ve got a piece on that in the March-April issue of This, by the way)

3:25 PM: We’re going to establish “Seniors’ Day.” (Just like Shoppers Drug Mart!)

3:26 PM: On to The Troops:

3:27 PM: Suddenly the cameras are zooming in on anyone in the room in uniform. All look stoic.

3:28 PM: Military familes get access to EI. They didn’t already? Can anyone confirm?

3:28 PM: More war memorials. Because there’s a huge shortage of them?

3:29 PM: Who selects the viewers in the gallery? They seem suspiciously demographically significant…

3:31 PM: Govt “recognizes contributions of aboriginal people” in Canada. Think he’s not talking about, uh, most of the real estate in the country?

3:31 PM: Just a hunch.

3:31 PM: Thanks for the “contribution,” though.

3:32 PM: More land claims will be settled.

3:32 PM: Now a bit about the Olympics. If she breaks into “I Believe,” I’m closing the window.

3:33 PM: Laura says: How about less wars instead?

3:33 PM: Laura says: A green energy superpower?? With the tar sands?? Harper is out of his G.D. mind.

3:34 PM: We’ve set up a party planning committee for the Queen’s Diamond jubilee.

3:35 PM: Did I hear that correctly? Going to make the national anthem gender neutral?

3:35 PM: Anyone hear that part clearly? The feed cut out for a second.

3:36 PM: Will take steps to “strengthen francophone identity.”

3:37 PM: “Growing number of states” have given “qualified” assent to the UN declaration on rights of indigenous people.

3:37 PM: Canada will do that in a way “consistent with” Canadian values. Sounds like a hedge, no?

3:37 PM: Qualified, doing it our own way, etc.

3:37 PM: Will find ways to revoke citizenship faster from war criminals.

3:39 PM: Canada’s stance on the UN Declaration, via Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org

3:40 PM: Clare says: What about the UN declaration on rights of disabled, which was on the table before prorogation?

3:40 PM: Good question.

3:40 PM: McKenzie pipeline project review board have finished their work, commercial development will commence. Eep.

3:41 PM: “country of unparalleled natural beauty.” Adding 85,000 sq. km of protected land, marine.

3:42 PM: G20 summit this summer: Women, Children.

3:42 PM: Will “oppose trade protectionism” in all its guises.

3:44 PM: John Geddes at Maclean’s has some quibbles with some early bits of the speech: www2.macleans.ca

3:44 PM: Laura says: Pfff… I can’t believe those two things came one after another! Such hypocrisy. (re: McKenzie pipleine and protecting natural beauty)

3:45 PM: Will reduce emissions through the Canada U.S. Clean Air Dialogue. (i.e., hot air. Zing!)

3:45 PM: Is the PM getting a crick in his neck from having to sit facing straight forward and always craning his head to the left to watch the GG read?

3:46 PM: Citizenship is “more than a contract to pay taxes in exchange for government services.”

3:46 PM: (sensing a conclusion here?)

3:47 PM: “Grand visions” won’t happen without the “means to pay for them”

3:48 PM: Therefore (natch) the economy is the focus.

3:49 PM: “Hope is borne on the wings of prosperity.” Block that metaphor!

3:49 PM: That’s it! She closes the binder. Thud. It’s thick.

3:50 PM: Ack, suddenly Peter Mansbridge appears on screen. What’s happening?

3:51 PM: Well, the speech is over, but there seems to be additional ceremonial rigamarole going on. Plus they’ve cut out the sound and are playing some goofy piano music.

3:52 PM: MPs are leaving and going back to the lower house.

3:53 PM: Usher of the Black Rod leaves with everyone following.

3:54 PM: Funny hats off. Obviously time to get down to beeswax. CPAC informs me the house is waiting on the PM now.

3:55 PM: More goofy classical music in the background.

3:56 PM: If you have links to articles or anything, please leave a comment by clicking “Make a comment” at the top of the liveblog window.

3:57 PM: <short intermission while we check the interwebs for worthy commentary elsewhere…>

3:59 PM: Globe and Mail has done a graphic “budget reality check” today: beta.images.theglobeandmail.com

4:00 PM:

4:01 PM: Also, if you haven’t seen it today, the “Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament” Facebook group has Chrysalis’ed itself into “Canadians Advocating Political Participation: canadaparticipates.ca

4:02 PM: They’ve also got a video: www.youtube.com

4:03 PM: (That’s our homie Judy Rebick all up in there.)

4:04 PM: An apt prediction of the speech from the Globe’s political cartoonist Brian Gable: beta.images.theglobeandmail.com

4:04 PM:

4:06 PM: CPAC confirms we weren’t hearing voices: gender neutral national anthem is on the table.

4:06 PM: CPAC scrums Jack Layton in the hall:

4:06 PM: “Government’s chosen to continue cutting taxes for big business…. They made the wrong choices on certain key points.”

4:08 PM: “They say climate change is their number one priority,” but plan is ending regulation and letting business police itself.

4:09 PM: House has been called to order.

4:09 PM: PM rises to speak.

4:11 PM: Iggy rises on a point of order: is asking for a committee to “conduct an immediate investigation” into the proroguement. Wants a report by middle of April.

4:12 PM: I.e., was proroguement OK, is parliament or the government supreme, etc. Motion fails. There’s shouting.

4:13 PM: “read it in its entirety, backwards!” someone shouts when Speaker Milliken asks whether he can just move on without rereading the whole thing to the house.

4:14 PM: Flaherty rises to say expect the budget tomorrow. Daddy needs a new pair of shoes.

4:14 PM: (i.e., en.wikipedia.org)

4:15 PM: All right, we’re going to pack it in here. It’s going to be procedural stuff for a while now.

4:16 PM: Thanks for watching, commenting, paying attention, and all the rest. We’ll do a short summary or link roundup this week on the finer points of the Throne Speech and the budget.

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