Throne Speech Notes on Security

SCOTT NEWARK  –  Nov 25, 2021

In accordance with Parliamentary tradition, with the House of Commons returning to sitting on November 22, the Governor General delivered the re-elected Liberal Governments Throne Speech on the following day. Throne Speeches traditionally lay out a general description of the Government’s intended policy agenda going forward although without necessarily details on the specific means by which these goals will be achieved, or the funding allocations provided for those purposes.

Those details will likely be revealed in the upcoming Ministerial Mandate Letters (now being made public), and the 2022-23 Budget, which is expected in March 2022.

The Throne Speech by newly appointed Governor General Mary Simon, the first Indigenous person to hold the position, was relatively brief and did include a significant focus on indigenous issues, which some commentators have suggested were her own remarks and not that of the Government. This kind of addition is not unprecedented, and indigenous issues are clearly a priority for this Government.

The following extracts from the Throne Speech are noted as being of potential relevance to FLS readers.

Already, the Government has mandated vaccination for federal and federally-regulated workers, and for everyone travelling within Canada by plane, train, or ship. It has also ensured a standardized Canadian proof of vaccination for domestic and international use. (p.9)

There is work to be done. On accessibility. On care in rural communities. On delayed procedures. On mental health and addiction treatment. On long-term care. On improving data collection across health systems to inform future decisions and get the best possible results. (p.10)

That is why the Government will continue increasing immigration levels and reducing wait times, while supporting family reunification and delivering a world-leading refugee resettlement program. (p.13)

As a country, we want to be leaders in producing the world’s cleanest steel, aluminum, building products, cars, and planes. Not only do we have the raw materials and energy to do that, most importantly, we have skilled, hard-working Canadians to power these industries. (p.14)

That means moving to cap and cut oil and gas sector emissions, while accelerating our path to a 100 percent net-zero electricity future. (p.15)

Investing in public transit and mandating the sale of zero emissions vehicles will help us breathe cleaner air. (p.15)

Protecting our land and oceans will address biodiversity loss. In this work, the Government will continue to strengthen its partnership with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, to protect nature and respect their traditional knowledge. (p.15)

And to address the realities communities across the country already face, the Government will also strengthen action to prevent and prepare for floods, wildfires, droughts, coastline erosion, and other extreme weather worsened by climate change. The Government will be there to build back in communities devastated by these events. This will include the development of Canada’s first-ever National Adaptation Strategy. (p.16)

The Government has taken important actions like introducing lifetime background checks.

The Government will now put forward measures like a mandatory buyback of banned assault-style weapons, and move forward with any province or territory that wants to ban handguns. (p.18)

During the pandemic, we have also seen an unacceptable rise in violence against women and girls.

The Government is committed to moving forward with a 10-year National Action Plan on gender-based violence, and will continue to support organizations providing critical services.

When someone in our country is targeted because of their gender, or who they love, or where they come from, the way they pray, the language they speak, or the colour of their skin, we are all diminished.

The Government will continue combatting hate and racism, including with a renewed Anti-Racism Strategy. (p.18)

Fighting systemic racism, sexism, discrimination, misconduct, and abuse, including in our core institutions, will remain a key priority.

The Government will also continue to reform the criminal justice system and policing.

This is the moment to rebuild for everyone. The Government will continue to invest in the empowerment of Black and racialized Canadians, and Indigenous Peoples. It will also continue to fight harmful content online, and stand up for LGBTQ2 communities while completing the ban on conversion therapy. (pp.19-20)

To support Canadian culture and creative industries, the Government will also reintroduce legislation to reform the Broadcasting Act and ensure web giants pay their fair share for the creation and promotion of Canadian content.(p.20)

Canada’s prosperity – and middle class jobs – depend on preserving and expanding open, rules-based trade and ensuring our supply chains are strong and resilient.

At home, the Government will continue to protect Canadians from threats to our communities, our society, and our democracy.

A changing world requires adapting and expanding diplomatic engagement. Canada will continue working with key allies and partners, while making deliberate efforts to deepen partnerships in the Indo-Pacific and across the Arctic.

Increasing Canada’s foreign assistance budget each year, and investing in sustainable, equitable, and feminist development that benefits the world’s most vulnerable and promotes gender equality will continue to be priorities. (pp.23-24)