Toronto – October 18, 2013 – Faced with growing scandals, Conservative authoritarian Harper recently prorogued Parliament for the fourth time in seven years; this time, to avoid further public scrutiny and to use the break to reset the channel and set the agenda for the 2015 election.
So one would think that after four months off, the throne speech delivered on October 15 would have had a little more meat on the bones. Instead we got a compendium of platitudes, bloated rhetoric, warmed-over promises, promises stolen from the NDP's last election campaign, and the regular bones thrown to Harper’s hardcore base like a promise to get even tougher on crime and on drugs.
Despite soaring youth unemployment and 300,000 more unemployed Canadians since before the recession, the throne speech failed to lay out any plan or actions to create good middle class jobs. What it did outline was a plan to spend $1 billion to build a new Spy Agency headquarters, while at the same time freezing the federal budget, which will force the government to further slash public service jobs and the public services Canadian families rely on. These cuts will come on top of the $20 billion in cuts already announced.
There is little to nothing on climate change. In fact, climate change is not even mentioned. Harper renewed his commitment to instituting oil and gas emissions regulations, but these are the same regulations that have already been twice delayed. The speech did say that the government would “enshrine a polluter pay system into law” but this comes from the same government that screams about the NDP plan to put a price on carbon, which is basically the same thing.
There was nothing new to help families fight the growing costs of education. There was nothing new for healthcare as the provinces brace for $34 billion in cuts to federal transfers for healthcare. There was nothing for our First Nations; nothing for our veterans; nothing on real electoral reform; nothing on senate reform.
After four months of dodging public scrutiny and shutting down parliament, was this the best Harper could come up with? As an agenda, it fails everyday Canadians — and fails in Harper's attempt to distract them — for it won't for minute make them forget about Duffy, Wallin, Del Mastro and all the other scandals that continue to stick to Harper.