Politics

Payette reminds parliamentarians they share a 'space-time continuum'

A typical throne speech is mostly about domestic policy — as in Earth-bound. But when your governor general used to be an astronaut, the text can get a little ... otherworldly.
Governor General Julie Payette waves as she waits to deliver the throne speech in the Senate chamber December 5, 2019 in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

A typical throne speech is mostly about domestic policy — as in Earth-bound. But when your governor general used to be an astronaut, the text can get a little ... otherworldly.

When senators, Supreme Court justices and assorted dignitaries assembled in the Senate chamber today to hear Gov. Gen. Julie Payette deliver her first speech from the throne, they probably weren't expecting to be reminded that they share "the same space-time continuum," party affiliation notwithstanding.

"We share the same planet. We know that we are inextricably bound to the same space-time continuum and on board the same planetary spaceship," Payette said in the speech's preamble. "If we put our brains and smarts and altruistic capabilities together, we can do a lot of good."

Throne speeches are written largely by the Prime Minister's Office and are meant to list the government's plans and priorities. But Queen's representatives often like to personalize.

The PMO tells CBC that the first 11 paragraphs of the speech's text — including the space references — were drafted in the Governor General's office itself.

Before being named to the post, Payette was best known to Canadians as as chief astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency from 2000 to 2007. She completed two spaceflights — serving as lead capsule commander on one space mission — and logged more than 25 days in zero-G.

The space talk went over poorly with at least one member of the Official Opposition. Conservative MP Michelle Rempel said that space travel got more attention in the speech than residents of Alberta and Saskatchewan struggling with a downturn in the energy economy.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now