Nfld. & Labrador

5 promises government makes in the speech from the throne

The Newfoundland and Labrador government delivered its speech from the throne Tuesday afternoon, but what stands out as new? CBC's Peter Cowan takes a look at some key points.
The speech from the throne Tuesday at the House of Assembly highlighted what the provincial government is committing to. Here are some key points. (CBC)

The throne speech read by Lt.-Gov. Frank Fagan Tuesday in the House of Assembly isn't short on plans. The 53-minute speech goes over at least 22 committees, strategies, task forces and plans.

That seems like a lot until you realize many are reannouncements of work already underway.

So what's new and what's a reannoucement? Here's what stands out.

1. Education overhaul

The kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum is getting an overhaul with almost all areas under review. The speech promises "modern learning technologies and relevant resources and contexts and focusing on learning skills that address the needs of a new generation of students."

In particular, math performance is under scrutiny with a group of "education leaders" looking at this province's low marks on math. After all, even the finance minister has joked his math skills aren't up to par. This plan even has sub plans with a "multi-year K-12 infrastructure development plan" in which government will look at what schools need to close and where to build new schools as the population shifts.

2. Population growth strategy

After years of study and consultations, the province seems prepared to finally release their plan to grow the province's population. In the speech, government hints the plan will focus on getting immigrants to move here, and keeping them here when they do come. It's also promising to make it easier for people to find job opportunities.

3. Aboriginal input on education

Government wants to include more aboriginal heritage in the school curriculum. It's promising an Aboriginal education advisory committee to provide input on how to do that.

The idea is to "showcase the richness of our diverse Inuit, Innu and Mi'kmaq heritage."

4. More money from minerals

It's not just low oil prices. The market for iron ore is also hurting, leading to mine closures and job cuts in western Labrador. There's already a task force looking at minimizing the short term impact of the downturn, but the new angle is a minerals strategy that is under development which will "figure out how to maximize the value of resource development in this province."

5. Family violence intervention court

What's old is new again with government promising to bring back the court it cut just two years ago. After defending the $500,000 savings by cutting the project, government is not only promising to resurrect the court, but it also expanding it. It won't just be St. John's this time; the throne speech says the court "will have a broader provincial reach." This is a big win for the NDP, which hammered government over this issue with protests and petitions.

About the Author

Peter Cowan

CBC News

Peter Cowan is a St. John's-based reporter with CBC News.

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