The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a communication had been
received from the Secretary to the Governor General, as follows:
February 2, 2004
I have the honour to inform you that Their Excellencies, the Governor
General and John Ralston Saul, will arrive at the Peace Tower at 3 p.m. on
Monday, the 2nd day of February, 2004, and that when it has been indicated
that all is in readiness, Their Excellencies will proceed to the Chamber of
the Senate to formally open the Third Session of the Thirty-seventh Parliament
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform
the Senate that the Clerk has received certificates from the Registrar General
of Canada showing that the following persons, respectively, have been summoned
to the Senate:
The Hon. the Speaker having informed the Senate that there were
senators without, waiting to be introduced:
The following honourable senators were introduced; presented Her Majesty's
writs of summons; took the oath prescribed by law, which was administered by the
Clerk; and were seated:
Hon. Terry M. Mercer, of Caribou River, Nova Scotia, introduced
between Hon. Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. Wilfred P. Moore; and
Hon. Jim Munson, of Ottawa, Ontario, introduced between Hon. Jack
Austin, P.C., and Hon. Landon Pearson.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that each of the honourable
senators named above had made and subscribed the declaration of property
qualification required by the Constitution Act, 1867, in the presence of the
Clerk of the Senate, the Commissioner appointed to receive and witness the said
The Senate met at 3 p.m., the Speaker in the Chair.
The Hon. the Speaker: As there is no business before the Senate, is it
your pleasure, honourable senators, that the Senate do now adjourn during
pleasure to await the arrival of Her Excellency the Governor General?
At 3:20 p.m., Her Excellency the Governor General proceeded to the Senate
Chamber and took her seat upon the Throne. Her Excellency was pleased to command
the attendance of the House of Commons, and, that House being come, with their
Speaker, Her Excellency was pleased to open the Third Session of the
Thirty-seventh Parliament of Canada with the following speech:
Honourable Members of the Senate,
Members of the House of Commons,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am pleased to greet you at the beginning of 2004, when, as Canadians, we
know that our history and our capacity for change are a part of our strength
as a complex and modern country. Human dignity and respect for others and a
realistic awareness of our past make us a mature nation and help us to move
forward to express our true values.
We have our own Canadian values and we can bring them into the
international sphere in a humanitarian and effective way. As Governor General
and Commander-in- Chief of the Canadian Forces, I have the privilege of seeing
our values as Canadians in action.
When I visited our troops in Kabul, I could see that our troops play a
vital role of courage and commitment. In the past year, we have suffered
tragic loss and injury to our soldiers while carrying out Canada's commitment
to peace. I said to the soldiers that every single one of them carries within
him or her a microcosm of our Canadian character. A desire to create a world
where fairness, justice and decency reign.
That part of the Canadian character comes out in civilian ways when we face
natural disasters — such as the devastation of the fires in British Columbia
or the destruction of Hurricane Juan on our eastern coast. My visit to Kelowna
and Kamloops after the devastating fires confirmed to me that Canadians, even
in distress and loss, think of others. Many assured me that their situations
were not as bad as their neighbours' and were more concerned about how others
It is this ability to look at the needs of others, to feel compassion for
their suffering as part of our own, which speaks to the best of us as
Canadians. I think this comes from the fact that we have a society that is
caring, in which Aboriginals, Francophones, Anglophones — and immigrants from
all over the world — play a significant part. Our history has prepared us to
be innovative in the modern world, where diversity counts for so much.
I preside over citizenship ceremonies across this country whenever I can,
most recently in Saskatoon 10 days ago. But whether it's in Saint John, Quebec
City, Ottawa, Calgary, I speak to our newest Canadians with optimism. Because
I know that, as they look around them, they will see examples of what it is
like to live the truly Canadian life, to accept and be accepted, to understand
and be understood.
When we look around us at Canada today, we see many strengths, many
achievements — a society with an enviable quality of life and so much
potential, so much talent.
We can build on these strengths to expand our horizons and enlarge our
Canadians have already taken up that challenge. They have embraced change
with a new confidence. Canadians know who they are and what they want. They
want a government that helps shape that course, that leads the way — and that
also engages them in building the future.
We want governments to reflect our values in the actions they take. This
includes living within our means; investing as we can afford; and looking to
Canadians want their government to do more than just settle for the status
quo. They want a government that can lead change, develop a national consensus
on common goals and have the wisdom to help all of us achieve them.
The goals of the Government of Canada are clear.
We want a Canada with strong social foundations, where people are treated
with dignity, where they are given a hand when needed, where no one is left
behind. Where Canadians — families and communities — have the tools to find
local solutions for local problems.
We want a strong economy for the 21st century, with well-paying and
meaningful work; ready at the forefront of the next big technological
revolution; and built on a solid fiscal foundation.
We want for Canada a role of pride and influence in the world, where we
speak with an independent voice, bringing distinctive Canadian values to
international affairs. It is time to take our place, meet our
responsibilities, carry our weight.
Today the Government is proposing an ambitious agenda to set our country on
this path. An agenda that should be measured and judged by the goals we have
set and by the resolve and constancy by which they are pursued.
Achievements of worth and permanence take time. But that is no excuse for
inaction. The Government is committed to making the down payments needed now
and to build consistently on these steps as resources permit. So that, a
decade hence, we will see that today we made the right choices for the
This Speech from the Throne marks the start of a new government; a new
agenda; a new way of working.
It marks a renewal, built on partnership, opportunity, achievement — and
the real engagement of Canadians.
CHANGING THE WAY THINGS WORK IN OTTAWA
The path to achievement begins with making sure that Canadians believe
their government, so that they can believe in government.
We must re-engage citizens in Canada's political life. And this has to
begin in the place where it should mean the most — in Parliament — by making
Parliament work better. That means reconnecting citizens with their Members of
That means a new partnership with provinces and territories, focused on the
interests of Canadians. That also means greater transparency, ethical
standards, and financial accountability in how we govern.
The Government of Canada is determined to return Parliament to the centre
of national debate and decision making and to restore the public's faith and
trust in the integrity and good management of government.
To that end, it will, as a first step, immediately table in Parliament an
action plan for democratic reform.
This will include significantly more free votes, so that Members can
represent the views of their constituents as they see fit.
This will include an enhanced role for Memberso to shape laws.
An enhanced role for Parliamentary Committees, so that Members can hold the
Government to greater account — and can play a key role in reviewing senior
A more active role for Parliamentary Secretaries, for greater engagement
between the Government and Parliament and with Canadians.
Significantly enhancing the role of all MPs will make Parliament what it
was intended to be — a place where Canadians can see and hear their views
debated and their interests heard. In short, a place where they can have an
influence on the policies that affect their lives.
RESTORING TRUST AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Democratic renewal must also restore trust. Too many Canadians are
alienated from their governments. This must be reversed.
Canadians want the Government of Canada to do better in meeting ethical
standards. That is why, as one of its first acts, the Government enhanced the
ethics code for all federal public office holders. And that is also why the
Government will ask Parliament to immediately reinstate and adopt legislation
establishing an independent Ethics Commissioner reporting to Parliament and an
Ethics Officer for the Senate.
And this is why the Government created a new agency for continuing
excellence in public service. A professional, non- partisan public service —
drawing on the talents and commitment of Canadians from every region — is a
source of strength and advantage. Our public servants have an important role
in this agenda of change. They want to improve how we govern. Canadians
deserve the best public service possible — and our agenda demands it.
Democratic renewal means that government programs deliver on objectives,
that they deliver what matters in people's lives. Canadians expect government
to respect their tax dollars. They want to have the confidence that public
money — their money — is wisely spent.
To this end, the Government is launching an ongoing process of expenditure
review, overseen by a new Committee of Cabinet. This will ensure that spending
reflects priorities and that every tax dollar is invested with care to achieve
results for Canadians.
A STRONGER RELATIONSHIP
Democratic renewal means opening the doors in Ottawa to the voices of our
provinces and territories — all our regions — and adopting new ways of working
together on behalf of Canadians.
Jurisdiction must be respected. But Canadians do not go about their daily
lives worried about which jurisdiction does this or that. They expect,
rightly, that their governments will co-operate in common purpose for the
common good — each working from its strength. They expect them to just get on
with the job.
That is why the government is determined to put relations with provinces
and territories on a more constructive footing.
STRENGTHENING CANADA'S SOCIAL FOUNDATIONS
Changing the way things work in government will help all Canadians to
achieve their goals, starting with strengthening Canada's social foundations.
That means ensuring that all Canadians have the opportunity to develop and
use skills and knowledge to their fullest. It means removing barriers to
opportunity. It means building on the fundamental fairness of Canadians.
Because our enormous good fortune demands nothing less.
This philosophy is given concrete expression in our system of universal
health care; in social programs that seek to level the playing field for
everyone; in programs to provide our seniors with income assistance and care
when needed; in our openness to immigrants and refugees and abhorrence of
racism; in our commitment to gender equality; in measures to better the
opportunities for Aboriginal Canadians.
PARTNERSHIP FOR A HEALTHY CANADA
The Government's commitment to health care rests on one fundamental tenet:
that every Canadian have timely access to quality care, regardless of income
or geography — access when they need it.
The Government is committed to this goal: universal, high-quality, publicly
funded health care, consistent with the principles of medicare, as set out in
the Canada Health Act.
The length of waiting times for the most important diagnoses and treatments
is a litmus test of our health care system. These waiting times must be
This will require fundamental reform and improvement in the facilities and
procedures of the entire health care system.
But there is much we can do right now.
The Prime Minister announced on Friday that the Government of Canada has
determined that, without going into deficit, it will now be able to provide a
further $2 billion health-care transfer to the provinces and territories this
year. Funds to help reduce waiting times; to improve access to diagnostic
services; to provide for more doctors and more nurses.
Looking forward, the Government will work with its provincial and
territorial partners on the necessary reforms and long-term sustainability of
the health system. And it will support the Health Council in the development
of information on which waiting-time objectives can be set, and by which
Canadians can judge progress toward them.
Canadians also want to be protected from emerging threats to their health,
from global epidemics to contaminated water. Safeguarding the health of
Canadians is a top priority of this Government.
The shock of SARS demonstrated vividly our vulnerability to infectious
diseases that may be incubated anywhere on earth.
Diseases such as SARS and the recent avian flu pose threats which increased
global mobility can only make worse.
The Government will therefore take the lead in establishing a strong and
responsive public health system, starting with a new Canada Public Health
Agency that will ensure that Canada is linked, both nationally and globally,
in a network for disease control and emergency response.
The Government will also appoint a new Chief Public Health Officer for
Canada — and undertake a much-needed overhaul of federal health protection
through a Canada Health Protection Act.
Strengthening our social foundations also means improving the overall
health of Canadians — starting with health promotion to help reduce the
incidence of avoidable disease. The Government will work with all of its
partners to that end, following the age-old prescription that prevention is
the best cure.
CARING FOR OUR CHILDREN
The future of our children is, quite literally, Canada's future.
Science teaches that the early years can shape — or limit — one's future,
that early and effective intervention can have enduring benefits.
Governments are not parents, but they do have a role to play in helping to
make sure that families get the supports and tools that they need and in
protecting children from exploitation and abuse.
We must ensure that every child gets the best possible start in life; that
all of Canada's children enter school ready to learn; that we protect their
health, their happiness, and their freedom to grow in mind and in body without
fear. These are the foundations of healthy early childhood development.
That is the goal. And there are important steps we can take now — down
payments on an enduring commitment.
First, in co-operation with the provinces and territories, the Government
will accelerate initiatives under the existing Multilateral Framework for
Early Learning and Child Care, which means more quality child care more
Second, to help communities identify children whose readiness to learn is
at risk, the Government will extend its successful community pilot project,
Understanding the Early Years, to at least 100 communities. Communities
themselves can do much for their children with the right knowledge and tools.
Third, the Government will do more to ensure the safety of children through
a strategy to counter sexual exploitation of children on the Internet and by
reinstating child protection legislation.
CREATING OPPORTUNITY FOR CANADIANS WITH DISABILITIES
Many Canadians with disabilities are ready to contribute but confront
difficult obstacles in the workplace and in their communities. And too often,
families are left on their own to care for a severely disabled relative. Here
too, the Government of Canada has a role.
We want a Canada in which citizens with disabilities have the opportunity
to contribute to and benefit from Canada's prosperity, as learners, workers,
volunteers, and family members.
Canada cannot afford to squander the talents of people with disabilities or
turn its back on those who seek to provide care and a life of dignity for
family members with severe disabilities.
The government will start by working with the provinces and territories to
fill the gaps in education and skills development and in workplace supports
and workplace accommodation for people with disabilities.
It will lead by example in supporting the hiring, accommodation and
retention of Canadians with disabilities in the Government of Canada — the
nation's largest employer — and in federally regulated industries.
The government will also improve the fairness of the tax system for people
with disabilities, and their supporting families, based on the findings of the
Advisory Committee on Tax Measures, which will report this fall, and will
implement early actions in areas of priority.
Aboriginal Canadians have not fully shared in our nation's good fortune.
While some progress has been made, the conditions in far too many Aboriginal
communities can only be described as shameful. This offends our values. It is
in our collective interest to turn the corner. And we must start now.
Our goal is to see Aboriginal children get a better start in life as a
foundation for greater progress in acquiring the education and work-force
skills needed to succeed.
Our goal is to see real economic opportunities for Aboriginal individuals
To see Aboriginal Canadians participating fully in national life, on the
basis of historic rights and agreements — with greater economic self-reliance,
a better quality of life.
The Government of Canada will work with First Nations to improve governance
in their communities — to enhance transparency and accountability — because
this is the prerequisite to effective self-government and economic
development. Aboriginal leadership is committed to this end and rapid progress
In order to support governance capacity in Aboriginal communities and to
enhance effective dialogue, the Government will, in co-operation with First
Nations, establish an independent Centre for First Nations Government.
The Government will also focus on education and skills development, because
this is a prerequisite to individual opportunity and full participation. To
pursue this goal, the Government will work with provinces and territories and
Aboriginal partners in a renewed Aboriginal Human Resources Development
Too often, the needs of Aboriginal people off reserve are caught up in
jurisdictional wrangling. These issues cannot deter us. The Government of
Canada will work with its partners on practical solutions to help Aboriginal
people respond to the unique challenges they face. To this end, the Government
will expand the successful Urban Aboriginal Strategy with willing provinces
The Government will also engage other levels of government and Métis
leadership on the place of the Métis in its policies.
The Government is committed to a more coherent approach to Aboriginal
issues. To focus this effort, it has established a new Cabinet Committee on
Aboriginal Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister; a Parliamentary Secretary;
and an Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat in the Privy Council Office.
GREAT PLACES TO LIVE — A NEW DEAL FOR COMMUNITIES
Our communities, our towns, our cities are key to our social goals and our
economic competitiveness. Large and small, rural and urban, Canada's
communities are facing new challenges, often without sufficient resources or
the tools they need.
Canada depends on communities that can attract the best talent and compete
for investment as vibrant centres of commerce, learning, and culture. We want
communities that provide affordable housing, good transit, quality health
care, excellent schools, safe neighbourhoods, and abundant green spaces.
To this end, the Government of Canada is committed to a new deal for
A new deal that targets the infrastructure needed to support quality of
life and sustainable growth.
A new deal that helps our communities become more dynamic, more culturally
rich, more cohesive, and partners in strengthening Canada's social
A new deal that delivers reliable, predictable and long- term funding.
Therefore, the Government will work with provinces to share with
municipalities a portion of gas tax revenues or to determine other fiscal
mechanisms which achieve the same goals.
This will take time and the agreement of other governments. But the
Government of Canada is prepared now, as a down payment, to act in its own
jurisdiction by providing all municipalities with full relief from the portion
of the Goods and Services Tax they now pay.
Over the next decade, this will provide Canada's municipalities with
approximately $7 billion of stable new funding to help meet critical
The Government will also move to quickly commit funds within our existing
infrastructure programs, so that our partners can plan properly.
Together, these are real and ongoing investments in urban transit,
affordable housing, clean water, and good roads. Canada's municipalities asked
for this. The Government has acted.
Canada's municipalities can play a crucial role in helping the Government
meet its national priorities — for the integration of immigrants, for
opportunities for Aboriginal Canadians living in urban centres, for tackling
homelessness, and for emergency preparedness and response. The new deal means
that city hall has a real seat at the table of national change.
And the government will help communities to help themselves.
One of the best ways to do this is to get behind the remarkable people who
are applying entrepreneurial skills, not for profit, but rather to enhance the
social and environmental conditions in our communities right across Canada.
These new approaches to community development — sometimes referred to as
the ``social economy'' — are producing more and more success stories about a
turnaround in individual lives and distressed neighbourhoods — communities
working to combat homelessness, address poverty and clean up the environment.
The Government of Canada wants to support those engaged in this
entrepreneurial social movement. It will increase their access to resources
and tools. The government will, for example, work to widen the scope of
programs currently available to small and medium-sized enterprises to include
The voluntary sector and the millions of Canadian volunteers are essential
contributors to the quality, fairness and vitality of our communities. The
government will continue to advance the Voluntary Sector Initiative, to
strengthen the capacity and voice of philanthropic and charitable
organizations and to mobilize volunteers.
Another defining characteristic of our communities and of our reputation
around the world is the vitality and excellence of our cultural life. Canada's
artists and cultural enterprises are among our best ambassadors, as well as
being an increasingly dynamic element of the knowledge economy. Their work
holds a mirror on our society and builds a legacy for future generations.
The government will work with parliamentarians to modernize our arts and
culture policies and federal cultural institutions to bring to bear the new
technological possibilities of the digital age and to reflect Canada's
regional diversity and multiculturalism.
Linguistic duality is at the heart of our identity. It is our image in the
world. It opens doors for us.
The government will nurture this asset, which benefits all Canadians. It
will ensure that minority language communities have the tools that enable
their members to fully contribute to the development of Canadian society.
BUILDING A 21ST CENTURY ECONOMY
A strong economy, built to succeed in the 21st century, is the
pre-condition to fulfilling our aspirations, as a nation and as individuals.
A nation's social and economic goals are inseparable. A stronger economy
requires stronger social foundations. And if we want to build a fairer, more
equitable society, we need a stronger economy.
Where do we want to be a decade from now?
We want a Canada that is a world leader in developing and applying the
pathbreaking technologies of the 21st century — biotechnology, environmental
technology, information and communications technologies, health technologies,
and nanotechnology. Applying these capabilities to all sectors to build
globally competitive firms, from start-ups to multinationals. And creating
high- quality jobs that will meet the ambitions of young Canadians — and keep
them in this country, working to build an even greater Canada.
We foresee a Canada that is a magnet for capital and entrepreneurs from
around the world.
A Canada where the increasing number of women entrepreneurs have every
opportunity to succeed and contribute a vital new dimension to our economy.
A Canada built on innovation with world-class research universities, smart
regulation and innovative financing, all combining to make Canada a global
leader in the commercialization of bright ideas.
A Canada where the benefits of the 21st century economy are being reaped
from coast to coast to coast — on our farms, in our fishing, forest, and
mining industries, and in our rural communities where modern communications
are helping to surmount the barrier of distance.
This will be achieved primarily through the efforts of Canadians
themselves. But government has an essential enabling role.
A sound macroeconomic environment is fundamental. To ensure that the
hard-won gains of the past decade are never squandered, the Government of
Canada is unalterably committed to fiscal prudence, as evidenced by annual
balanced budgets and steady reduction in the debt relative to the size of the
economy. This government will not spend itself into deficit.
Canada is a trading nation. And a 21st century economy is an economy open
to the world. Canadian goods, services, capital, people, and knowledge must be
able to reach international markets.
There are growing opportunities for Canadian exporters and investors to
complement our enormously successful relationship with the United States by
building closer economic ties with other regions of the world. In particular,
more attention will be focused on such newly emerging economic giants as
China, India, and Brazil.
Investing in people will be Canada's most important economic investment.
The Government's goal is to ensure that a lack of financial resources will
not be allowed to deny, to those with the motivation and capacity, the
opportunity to learn and aspire to excellence in pursuing a skilled trade, a
community college diploma, or university degree.
To advance this objective, the Government of Canada will work with
provinces and territories to modernize the Canada Student Loans Program to
help overcome financial barriers to post-secondary education and training. It
will update and improve grants and loans to increase access for middle- and
low-income families and their children and to reflect the rising cost of
Loan limits will be increased, in recognition of the rising cost of
Eligible expenses will be broadened to include the new essentials, such as
Family income thresholds will be raised to improve access for middle income
families, squeezed by rising costs.
Measures will be taken to improve loan terms for part- time students.
But the answer to improved access must go beyond simply more generous
loans, because a growing debt load poses its own limits, both psychologically
The Government will therefore provide a new grant for low-income students,
to cover a portion of the tuition cost of the first year of post-secondary
More is also needed to encourage greater savings by families for their
children's education, starting from the earliest years of life. The Registered
Education Savings Plan and associated savings grant have been extraordinarily
successful stimulants, but participation by lower income families — often
those who could most benefit — has been disappointingly low. The Government
will therefore create new incentives that truly work to encourage low-income
families to begin investing, right from the birth of their children, for their
To meet the challenges of the new economy, Canada's workers must have the
opportunity to upgrade their skills, to improve their literacy, to learn on
the job, to move onto the path of lifelong learning.
The Government will therefore refine and enhance its programs to encourage
skills upgrading, in concert with sector councils, unions, and business.
The Government will also work with provinces to update labour market
programming to better reflect the realities of work in the 21st century, such
as the growth of self- employment and the need for continuous upgrading of
We will also deepen the pool of Canada's talent and skills by ensuring more
successful integration of new immigrants into the economy and into
communities. Immigrants have helped to build Canada from its inception and
will be key to our future prosperity. The Government will do its part to
ensure speedier recognition of foreign credentials and prior work experience.
It will also implement measures to inform prospective immigrants and encourage
the acquisition of necessary credentials before they arrive in Canada.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Canadian entrepreneurs have made great strides in building the innovative,
technology-enabled economy needed to succeed in the years ahead. The
Government of Canada has helped lay the foundation for even greater success
with very substantial investments in basic research — $13 billion since 1997.
These investments are ensuring a continued flow of basic knowledge and
highly trained people on which our future economic success depends.
Now we must do much more to ensure that our knowledge investment is
converted to commercial success. We need to do more to get our ideas and
innovations out of our minds and into the marketplace.
Our small, innovative firms face two key obstacles — access to adequate
early-stage financing; and the capacity to conduct the research and
development needed to commercialize their ideas and really grow their
The Government will help to overcome these obstacles — building, for
example, on the venture financing capabilities of the Business Development
The Government will create access to capital for the commercialization of
science in areas where we can be among the world leaders — in environment, in
health, in biotechnology, and in nanotechnology.
The Government will also build on the experience and nationwide reach of
the National Research Council to help small firms bridge the commercialization
gap by providing the research and expertise that small business cannot develop
on its own.
To help integrate and focus these efforts, Canada's new National Science
Advisor will re-engage universities, colleges, and enterprise in a truly
national science agenda.
REGIONAL AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
The 21st century economy promises opportunity for all parts of Canada. The
objective of the Government is to ensure that every region of the country has
the opportunity to move forward, socially and economically, on a rising tide
of progress. As we share opportunity, so too will we share prosperity.
The government therefore remains committed to supporting economic
development through the regional agencies where the focus must be on
strengthening the sinews of an economy for the 21st century, building on
The government will place increased emphasis on opportunities to add
greater value to natural resources through application of advanced technology
and knowhow; on opportunities to develop Canada's energy resources and be a
leader in environmental stewardship; and on opportunities to maximize the
potential of our vast coastal and offshore areas through a new Oceans Action
It will develop a northern strategy, ensuring that economic development
related to energy and mining is brought on stream in partnership with northern
Canadians, based on stewardship of our most fragile northern ecosystems.
The government is dedicated to Canada's farm economy and to taking the
steps necessary to safeguard access to international markets and to ensure
that farmers are not left to bear alone the consequences of circumstances
beyond their control. It is also committed to fostering a technologically
advanced agricultural sector with the supporting infrastructure of
transportation and applied science to make the competitiveness of Canadian
farmers and the safety of our food second to none in world markets.
Safeguarding our natural environment — in the here and now, and for
generations to come — is one of the great responsibilities of citizens and
governments in the 21st century.
The tide of global population and the imperatives of economic development —
no longer restricted to the small minority of rich countries — make
sustainable development a challenge of national and global magnitude.
Canadians, as stewards of vast geography and abundant resources, feel a
keen sense of responsibility to help the world meet the environmental
And in so doing, to show how this challenge can be turned to advantage
through leadership in ``green technologies''; through more energy-efficient
transportation and housing; and through non-polluting industrial processes.
All of which will stimulate innovation, new market opportunities, and cleaner
This spirit will animate Canada's approach to climate change.
Halting the increasingly damaging impact of human activity on climate is a
project of global scale and decades duration.
The Government of Canada will respect its commitments to the Kyoto accord
on climate change in a way that produces long-term and enduring results while
maintaining a strong and growing economy. It will do so by developing an
equitable national plan, in partnership with provincial and territorial
governments and other stakeholders.
We have begun, and we will persevere. And we will go beyond Kyoto to
strengthen our environmental stewardship.
First, the Government will begin by putting its own house in order. It will
undertake a 10-year, $3.5 billion program to clean up contaminated sites for
which the Government is responsible. And the Government of Canada will augment
this with a $500 million program of similar duration to do its part in the
remediation of certain other sites, notably the Sydney tar ponds.
Second, the Government will intensify its commitment to clean air and clean
water. We will engage the United States on trans-boundary issues and the
provinces to achieve more stringent national guidelines on air and water
quality. And we are committing the resources needed to ensure safe drinking
water in First Nations' communities.
Third, building on recommendations of the National Roundtable on the
Environment and the Economy, the Government will start incorporating key
indicators on clean water, clean air, and emissions reduction into its
Fourth, the Government will increase the resources to support innovative
environmental technologies and further encourage their commercialization.
Fifth, we will engage Canadians directly. Our One Tonne Challenge aims to
raise awareness and provide Canadians with information on how their individual
consumption choices contribute to the emissions that drive climate change. The
objective — the challenge — is to reduce emissions by 1,000 kilograms per
person, per year. Because environmental stewardship must be everybody's
CANADA'S ROLE IN THE WORLD
Canadians are uniquely positioned for the new global realities — open to
the world, comfortable with the interdependence of nations, aware of our
Canadians want their country to play a distinctive and independent role in
making the world more secure, more peaceful, more co-operative, more open.
They want to see Canada's place of pride and influence in the world restored.
What kind of world do we want to see a decade from now?
We want to see the benefits of global interdependence spread more fairly
throughout the world.
We want agreement on new rules governing international actions when a
government fails to protect its own people from tyranny and oppression.
We want to see multilateral institutions that work. No one nation can
manage the consequences of global interdependence on its own.
We want to see greater collaboration among nations to ensure that economic
policies go hand in hand with stronger social programs to alleviate hunger,
poverty, and disease, and to help to raise the standards of living in
Canada can contribute to achieving these goals.
We can play a distinctive role based on our values — the rule of law,
liberty, democracy, equality of opportunity, and fairness. As others have
said: the world needs more Canada.
Canada can make a difference and we can more than carry our weight. We need
to work better, to work smarter, in diplomacy, in development, in defence and
in international trade — all of which have become profoundly interdependent
and are increasingly touching Canadians in their daily lives.
To guide us forward in this, the government has launched an integrated
review of its international policies — the first such review in a decade of
The review will be completed this autumn and then considered by a
parliamentary committee, where Canadians will have the opportunity to make
their views known.
Some things, however, need not wait for the review — because they are
urgently needed, or because the right course of action is already clear.
There is a moral imperative to do all we can to make medical treatment
accessible to the untold millions suffering from deadly infectious diseases,
notably HIV-AIDS, particularly in the poorest countries of Africa. The
Government of Canada will therefore proceed with legislation to enable the
provision of generic drugs to developing countries.
Canada's obligation does not stop there. We are a knowledge-rich country.
We must apply more of our research and science to help address the most
pressing problems of developing countries.
The Government will continue its leadership in the creation of a new
international instrument on cultural diversity, participate actively in la
Francophonie, and promote and disseminate our cultural products and works
around the world.
And in 2010, the eyes of the world will be on Canada as Vancouver and
Whistler host the Winter Olympics, an opportunity to inspire Canadian pride
and achievement — and an opportunity to reinforce participation in sport by
Canadians, at the highest level and in our communities.
Our foreign policy objectives require a meaningful capacity to contribute
militarily in support of collective efforts to safeguard international peace
and security. Our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line for us
when they participate in operations abroad — as we were reminded tragically
only last week. All Canadians support them and their families. We must ensure
that they have the equipment and training to do the job.
To this end, the Government will make immediate investments in key capital
equipment, such as new armoured vehicles and replacements for the Sea King
There is no role more fundamental for government than the protection of its
That is why the Government has already established the Department of Public
Safety and Emergency Preparedness and appointed a National Security Advisor to
the Prime Minister. It has also established the Cabinet Committee on Security,
Public Health and Emergencies and the new Canada Border Services Agency.
Given the responsibility to address new threats, such as non-state
terrorism, and to ensure effective emergency management, the Government will
develop, with its domestic partners, Canada's first national security policy.
This will publicly set forth the principles that will guide the Government's
actions and serve as a blueprint for effectively securing Canada in a way that
strengthens the open nature of our society.
Canada and the United States are connected not only by the shared geography
of North America and by hugely beneficial trade and investment flows — the
largest bilateral economic relationship in the world — but also by ties of
friendship and family, by commonly held democratic values, and by shared
interests and responsibilities.
The Government is therefore committed to a new, more sophisticated approach
to this unique relationship.
To ensure a border that is open and effective in handling the volumes of
people, goods, and services flowing to and from our economies, the security
concerns of both sides must be respected.
Building on the success of the Smart Borders initiative, the Government
will engage with the United States to further strengthen North American
security while facilitating the flow of commerce and travellers. It will also
work toward infrastructure investments at key trade corridors to ensure that
we can facilitate the expanding trade between our countries.
Canada and Canadians are confidently positioned to achieve great things in
the years ahead.
We have set out measured steps consistent with our means. An ambitious
agenda for an ambitious country.
Members of the House of Commons:
You will be asked to appropriate the funds required to carry out the
services and expenditures authorized by Parliament.
Honourable Members of the Senate and
Members of the House of Commons:
As you carry out your duties and exercise your responsibilities, may you be
guided by Divine Providence.
The House of Commons withdrew.
Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to retire.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform
you that Her Excellency the Governor General has caused to be placed in my hands
a copy of her Speech delivered this day from the Throne to the two Houses of
Parliament. It is as follows —
Hon. Senators: Dispense.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this speech be
taken into consideration?
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I move:
That the Speech of Her Excellency the Governor General delivered this day
from the Throne to the two Houses of Parliament be taken into consideration at
the next sitting.
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government) moved:
That, pursuant to rule 85(1), the Honourable Senators Bacon, Carstairs,
Fairbairn, Kinsella, LeBreton, Losier- Cool, Rompkey, Stratton and Tkachuk be
appointed a Committee of Selection to nominate (a) a Senator to preside
as Speaker pro tempore and (b) the Senators to serve on the
several select committees during the present Session; and to report with all
convenient speed the names of the Senators so nominated.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I know this is a
debatable and votable motion. I have spoken to such matters in the past. I will
not do so today. I will wait for the report and review it closely, along with a
number of other independents.