Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Throne Speech cooperation?

For a while there, it looked as if the Conservatives might end up being even less interested in cooperation with the opposition parties than the Liberals were. In today's Throne Speech, though, there were some indications that there are a few places where Harper is willing to put forth bits of someone else's agenda to gain stronger support for bits of his. As this NDP press release points out, Layton was consulted beforehand, which resulted in the following wording being included:

On daycare:

In collaboration with the provinces and territories, employers and community non-profit organizations, [this government] will also encourage the creation of new child care spaces.
On health care:
The Government will support and enable innovative approaches to health care delivery consistent with the principles of a universally accessible and equitable public health care system embodied in the Canada Health Act.
On electoral reform:
Building on the work begun in the last Parliament, this Government will seek to involve parliamentarians and citizens in examining the challenges facing Canada's electoral system and democratic institutions.
On support for seniors and the environment:
[This government] will work to improve the security of seniors. It will take measures to achieve tangible improvements in our environment, including reductions in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Some of the wording is wimpy, but it's telling what was included and what was entirely left out (employment insurance reform and First Nations issues, which Layton also negotiated with Harper about). This may well be an indication of what's on the table and what's not. It looks like the Bloc Québécois may have gotten a few carrots, too--the most noteworthy being the line about the role for Quebec in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

I'm still not expecting anything good to come out of this Parliament apart from a timeout for the Liberals, but I'm not displeased.


KevinG said...

I'm not displeased either in that the words leave him somewhere near the centre of Canadian politics and we haven't herad boo from some of his more radical previous ( older than 3 years ) positions.

Still, a throne speech is just words and they're finely crafted not to bind the government too closely to an actual position and to leave a little hope for everyone.

Time will tell, but there was certainly nothing in the throne speech to get worked up about.

Anonymous said...

'Tis a throne speech Brian Mulroney would be proud of ....

Wait a bit, isn't he a key advisor to Harper?

And didn't he just about break up the country over his skewed deals with the provinces, trying to reduce the federal power in Canada?

Yup – Bustup Brian rides again.

All those who believe in a strong federal government will now face a fight with Harper trying in surreptitious ways to introduce his stealth agenda of a massive shift of financial and other powers from Canada to the provincial premiers.

This fight is going to be intense. Let's hope there are leaders in Quebec, the NDP and LPC who will stand up for Canada.