OTTAWA – The Trudeau government’s maiden throne speech was intended to be a short, concise work plan for the next year or so, focused on the Liberal regime’s immediate priorities. Hence, not every promise Justin Trudeau made during the recent election campaign was repeated in Friday’s speech.
That said, there were still some curious omissions. Here are five of the more notable ones:
1. Doctor assisted dying does not rate a mention. Yet government House leader Dominic LeBlanc says it’s a priority for the government to get a special joint parliamentary committee struck as early as next week to begin consultations aimed at drafting a law governing medically assisted death by next August.
Last February, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the ban on physician-assisted dying and gave the federal government one year to craft legislation that recognizes the right of clearly consenting adults who are enduring intolerable physical or mental suffering to seek medical help to end their lives. The previous government did little to advance the issue and the Trudeau government is now asking the court to give it a six-month extension.
2. The speech does not specifically reiterate Trudeau’s commitment to withdrawing Canadian fighter jets from the U.S.-led bombing campaign against Islamic radicals in Syria and Iraq. Nor does it repeat his promise to increase the number of Canadian soldiers on the ground to train Kurdish fighters and the Iraqi military.
The speech touches on those promises obliquely, saying only that the government will “continue to work with its allies in the fight against terrorism.”
3. It does not specifically reiterate Trudeau’s vow to repeal or amend controversial provisions in anti-terrorism legislation passed by the previous Conservative government. Among other things, Trudeau has promised to create a multi-party parliamentary oversight committee to monitor the activities of departments and agencies with responsibility for national security. He has also promised to amend the legislation so that it’s clear that legal protests or advocacy can’t be construed as terrorist activities.
In what is likely meant to be an indirect reference to those promises, the throne speech says only that “the government will continue to work to keep all Canadians safe, while at the same time protecting our cherished rights and freedoms.”
4. It makes no mention of Trudeau’s promise to restore door-to-door home mail delivery.
Shortly after the Oct. 19 election, Canada Post voluntarily put a temporary freeze on its plans to convert all home mail delivery to community mailboxes. Close to one million households have already been converted but another four million, including those in most big cities, are slated to make the switch over the next three years.
5. It makes no mention of Trudeau’s promise to reinstate 65 as the age at which Canadians are eligible to collect old age security and the guaranteed income supplement.
The previous Conservative government passed legislation to raise the age of eligibility to 67, a change to be phased in over six years, starting in 2023.