Politics

6 things to watch for in today's throne speech

The Governor General is expected to flesh out several of the government's commitments on taxes, climate change, murdered and missing indigenous women, anti-terrorism legislation and assisted dying in today's speech from the throne.

Governor General to spell out Trudeau government's priorities

The Governor General will deliver the Speech from the Throne Friday, the CBC's James Fitz-Morris looks at where this tradition comes from and why we even do it. 1:34

Cue the Usher of Black Rod, tri-fold hats and the shiny mace. Today, Parliament goes ceremonial with the speech from the throne that will set out the government's agenda for the coming session.

Gov. Gen. David Johnston is expected to deliver a relatively short speech after 2:30 p.m. ET that will outline just how and what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government plans to do in the upcoming parliamentary session.

CBCnews.ca will have special coverage starting at 1:30 p.m. ET, with a live blog and video live streams of CBC News programming and events on Parliament Hill. (See more programming information below.)

Gov. Gen. David Johnston will read the throne speech in the Senate chamber, according to tradition. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

On Thursday, Trudeau chose Liberal George Furey to be the new Senate Speaker. Furey, who has a prominent role to play in the pomp of today's ceremony, replaces Conservative Leo Housakos, who had remained on the job in the weeks directly following the election.

The Liberals made dozens of promises during the election campaign, but here are some commitments to listen for when Johnston takes his seat in the upper house this afternoon for a speech that Trudeau said will be "efficient."

1. Taxes

The government has made it clear its No. 1 priority is to implement its election promise on middle-class tax cuts. Trudeau pledged to reduce taxes on income between $44,700 and $89,401 a year. The Liberals said they would fund this measure by hiking taxes on those making more than $200,000 a year.

Government House Leader Dominic LeBlanc said on CBC News Network's Power & Politics Thursday the government will also move next week to roll back the Conservatives' Tax-Free Savings Account annual contribution limits. Other tax-related commitments include increasing the guaranteed income supplement for single seniors on a low income by 10 per cent a year, as well as restoring eligibility for Old Age Security to 65.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is set to introduce ways and means motions next week to get the process started on these commitments.

2. Physician-assisted dying

The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday confirmed that the government has requested a six-month extension to the deadline to respond to the court's ruling on physician-assisted dying. The court originally gave the previous government until next February to figure out how to deal with the unanimous decision that said someone suffering from a grievous and irremediable medical condition has the right to ask a doctor to help end their life. The prime minister's mandate letter to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said Trudeau wants a process that included the provinces and territories, and Canadians may hear more about that today.

3. C-51

The Liberals promised to repeal what it called "problematic" elements of the Conservatives' controversial anti-terror legislation. The government hasn't expanded on what it intends to do in that regard but it has said it would, among other things, establish an all-party national security oversight committee, narrow the definition of "terrorist propaganda" so it does not affect lawful advocacy and ensure that the government reviews all appeals from Canadians who complain they are wrongly on the no-fly list.

4. Openness and transparency

Trudeau promised to make government, Parliament and public data more open. He pledged to make it easier and more affordable to obtain information and to publicize parliamentary expenses on a quarterly basis. The government is planning to introduce a prime minister's question period and parliamentary committees will elect their chairpersons and the heretofore secret work of the Board of Internal Economy will be opened up to the public.

5. Climate change

The government committed during the election to working with provinces and territories on carbon prices and emissions-reduction targets.To date, the Liberals haven't said what they will be because of the need to consult with provincial and territorial premiers.

6. Missing and murdered indigenous women and girls

The Liberal platform announced a Trudeau government would "immediately launch a national public inquiry" and pledged to spend $40 million over two years on the process. So far, there have been few details on a timeline and mandate for the inquiry or how many commissioners should take part, let alone who they might be.


Follow CBC News special coverage

Our TV special begins at 2 p.m. ET on CBC TV and CBC News Network and livestreamed on cbcnews.ca, hosted by Peter Mansbridge, with contributions from Rosemary Barton, Hannah Thibedeau and The National's At Issue panel.

CBC Radio One's special coverage runs from 3 to 4 p.m. ET, hosted by Susan Bonner and Chris Hall.

A special edition of Power & Politics will air on CBC News Network and cbcnews.ca from 1:30 - 2 p.m. ET, and will pick up again immediately following the special for an extended edition until 7 p.m. ET.

(CBC)

Clarifications

  • This story has been edited to make it clear that the Liberals' promised "middle-class tax cut" will apply to income between $44,700 and $89,401, and not just to people whose total income falls within that bracket.
    Dec 04, 2015 11:23 AM ET