Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Speech From The Throne

No real surprises in today's Speech from the Throne marking the official opening of Canada's 39th Parliament; it began with the usual platitudes and stayed focussed on the five planks in the Tory election platform: the Accountability Act, the GST cut, the child care plan, the crackdown on crime and the health care waiting times guarantee.

I'm surprised, however, to see the plan to give Quebec a seat at UNESCO get such billing in the speech. The average Joe at Tim Horton's doesn't know or care what UNESCO does, or whether Quebec gets a seat at it or not, but the eggheads and pundits will be mulling this announcement over for weeks.

These two paragraphs would never have made it into a Liberal throne speech without inducing apoplexy among its writers:

The Government will work cooperatively with our friends and allies and constructively with the international community to advance common values and interests. In support of this goal, it will build stronger multilateral and bilateral relationships, starting with Canada's relationship with the United States, our best friend and largest trading partner.

More broadly, this Government is committed to supporting Canada's core values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human rights around the world. In this regard, the Government will support a more robust diplomatic role for Canada, a stronger military and a more effective use of Canadian aid dollars.

At least the Conservatives understand this paradox: the weaker our ability to defend our sovereignty and advance our national interests, the more dependent we become on the goodwill of the United States to do the same.

All in all, a remarkable rhetorical start. Let's hope it turns to results.

Source: Official Website of the Prime Minister

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