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Liberal throne speech pledges to work with opposition MPs, welcome their ideas

Last Updated Dec 5, 2019 at 4:13 pm MST

Summary

The speech from the throne, read by the governor general, emphasized parties working together

The speech also recognized the regional divisions exposed by the recent election

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Justin Trudeau has launched his second mandate — and a new era of minority Liberal government — with a throne speech light on details but heavy on the need for all parties to work together.

The speech from the throne, penned by the Prime Minister’s Office but read by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, struck a humble tone Thursday as the government appealed to opposition parties to help make the new minority Parliament work.

“Prove to Canadians that you are worthy holders of those seats,” Payette read. “Focus on your shared purpose: making life better for the people you serve.”

It reiterated the Liberals’ campaign promises to take stronger action to fight climate change, lower taxes for middle-class Canadians, strengthen gun control and take steps towards national pharmacare.

“As its first act, the government will cut taxes for all but the wealthiest Canadians,” Payette declared in the speech. “The government will set a target to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This goal is ambitious.”

But it also made pointed references to issues that are dear to the NDP and Bloc Quebecois, whose support the Liberals will need to pass legislation and survive confidence votes.

Universal dental care, one of the NDP’s priorities, was cited as an idea worth exploring and, in a nod to one of the Bloc’s priorities, the government promised that dairy farmers impacted by recent trade agreements would be “fully and fairly compensated.”

The speech also recognized the regional divisions exposed by the recent election, in which the Liberals were shut out in the oil-producing provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, asserting that those provinces’ economic concerns are “both justified and important.”

After the speech, Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer said his party was not pleased with its contents.

“We are very disappointed in this throne speech. We are going to be moving an amendment to it,” he told reporters.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was also unimpressed. He said it was not good enough, and his party wanted firmer commitments and action.

But Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said he would support it, ensuring the minority government will survive any confidence vote on the speech.

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