If you were expecting a dazzling start to the 39th Parliament of Canada, full of surprises and political intrigue, you?re probably disappointed. For Members of Parliament in the new Conservative federal government, we simply rolled up our sleeves this week and went to work on enacting the initiatives and ideas that you, the voters, endorsed when you elected us on January 23rd. No fuss. No fanfare.
Indeed, this week?s Speech from the Throne was short, matter-of-fact and decidedly lacking in any jaw-dropping surprises. It was simply an affirmation of our new Conservative Government?s legislative and policy priorities ? exactly as we had outlined during the election campaign.
I realize this is very different from what Canadians have come to expect. The past several throne speeches, brought to you as full-blown publicity events orchestrated by the Liberal Party of Canada, have dangled a long and unlimited array of tempting little policy treats designed to impress every voter everywhere in everyway.
Every issue was a ?number one priority? for Paul Martin, meaning his first throne speech took former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson almost one hour to deliver. Ms. Clarkson must have watched enviously as her successor Michaelle Jean breezed through the no-frills Conservative Speech from the Throne in just 20 minutes on Tuesday.
So what was in it? Nothing that regular readers of this column and those who read my campaign literature haven?t seen before. The Speech from the Throne outlined the Conservative government?s five priorities that Canadians from every part of the country supported.
First and foremost, we will improve Canadians? faith in public institutions by making government accountable and effective. The Federal Accountability Act will be the first piece of legislation the new Conservative government will introduce.
Next up, we will make good on our commitment to help ALL families by cutting the GST to 6% immediately, eventually slashing it to 5%.
Canadians have waited long enough. Our government will negotiate Patient Wait Time Guarantees with the provinces. Canadians have a right to expect that the health care they need will be there when they need it.
The Speech from the Throne also reaffirmed our commitment to a child care strategy that works for ALL families, not just those who live near a government-funded daycare centre. We will provide financial assistance to every family with children under six years old. We will also introduce incentives for businesses, non-profit and community-based organizations to add 125,000 new childcare spaces.
And, we will take real action that acknowledges Canadians have the right to feel safe in their homes, on their streets and in their communities. The old Liberal government was too focused on the wellbeing of criminals and not enough on the safety of good, honest, law-abiding Canadians. The new Conservative government is cracking down on crime. No more Liberal-style ?hug a thug?.
So if you?re into surprises, my apologies. In the coming weeks, you will not get many ? other than the biggest surprise of all: a federal government that actually does what it said it would do!