«SEIZING SAISIR CANADA’SOPPORTUNITY INLE UNCERTAIN WORLD LE MOMENT POUR AN CANADA MOMENT UN MONDE INCERTAIN PROSPÉRITÉ AND PROSPERITY ET ...»
CANADA’SOPPORTUNITY INLE UNCERTAIN WORLD
LE MOMENT POUR AN CANADA
MOMENT UN MONDE INCERTAIN
PROSPERITY ET OPPORTUNITÉ DANS
Discours du the Throne
October 16, 2013
Le 16 octobre 2013
PROSPERITY AND OPPORTUNITY IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLDSpeech from the Throne to Open the Second Session of the Forty-First Parliament of Canada October 16, 2013 Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication Canada. Governor General.
Seizing Canada’s moment: prosperity and opportunity in an uncertain world: speech from the Throne, October 16, 2013.
41st Parliament, 2nd session (2013) Electronic serial in PDF format.
Mode of access: World Wide Web: www.speech.gc.ca Title on added t.p.: Saisir le moment pour le Canada : prospérité et opportunité dans un monde incertain : discours du Trône, le 16 octobre 2013.
Cat. no. SO1-1/2013E-PDF ISSN 1493-3551
1. Speech from the Throne–Canada–Periodicals.
2. Canada–Politics and government–Periodicals. I. Title. II. Title: Saisir le moment pour le Canada : prospérité et opportunité dans un monde incertain : discours du Trône, le 16 octobre 2013.
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2013 Photo Credit: © National Capital Commission Honourable Senators, Members of the House of Commons, Ladies and gentlemen, Let us begin this day together by honouring in silent reflection those whose lives were tragically taken at Lac-Mégantic.
I come before you today as one proud Canadian among a vast nation of these, sincere in congratulation on this opening day of the Second Session of the Forty-first Parliament of Canada. I bear the happy wishes and deep affection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, whose family has this year been blessed with the birth of Prince George.
Parliamentarians, you gather today with the high confidence and higher expectation of Canadians. Remember that our nation has embraced a unique set of indelible qualities that must guide your deliberations in this Parliament.
Consider this: we are inclusive. We are 35 million people gathered from every part of the world.
We welcome the contribution of all those who inhabit this land—from the first of us to the latest among us. This year, we celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation. This extraordinary document is part of the legal foundation of our country. It recognized the rights of Aboriginal people in Canada for the first time and established the basis of their relations with the Crown.
Consider this: we are honourable. People of peace, we use our military power sparingly; but when we do so we do so with full conviction, gathering our forces as men and women who believe that the freedoms we enjoy cannot be taken from us. This clarity focuses our might in terrible times. And wherever and whenever we unleash that might, we raise our grateful voices and our prayers to honour those who have stood in harm’s way for us.
Consider this: we are selfless. Our survival has been sustained by humility and acceptance of our mutual interdependence. Giving lies in our very nature, certain in our hearts that none but the gift passed from an open hand will multiply as those we help better themselves, those they love and, at length, the country they call home.
Consider this: we are smart. We deplore self-satisfaction, yearning rather for self-improvement.
We love learning and cherish our right to it. We are united, prosperous and free precisely because we ensure that Canadians have opportunities to learn, excel, advance, and thus to contribute.
Consider this: we are caring. Our abiding concern for the common good of our neighbours—in each community—makes us responsive. We do not abandon our fellows to scrape by in times of distress or natural disaster. Inspired by our common bond, we come swiftly and resiliently to the aid of those in need.
Today, as we contemplate our 150th anniversary, the eyes and ears and expectations of Canadians turn toward this Parliament, in trust that those who stand here in their place will relentlessly advance and uphold ideas that are inclusive, honourable, selfless, smart and caring at every turn without fail.
Let us not disappoint. And with that spirit and direction, let us turn now to the present.
Two and a half years ago, Canadians gave our Government a strong mandate: a mandate to protect jobs and our economy; a mandate to keep taxes low; a mandate to make our families and communities safe.
Despite ongoing uncertainty and instability from beyond our shores, our Government remains focused on these priorities. We made tough choices—the right choices for Canadian families.
The results are clear: more Canadians have good jobs than ever before; families are paying lower taxes; our financial house is in order.
As the world looks to recovery, a rare opportunity now lies before us as Canadians: the opportunity to build on our ingenuity, our immense natural wealth, and our values and stability;
the opportunity to secure the future, for our generation, and our children’s generation. It is the opportunity to lead the world in security and prosperity—not for the sake of doing so, but so that Canadian families who work hard, pay their taxes and play by the rules can get ahead.
This is Canada’s moment; together we will seize it.
And as we do, we draw inspiration from our founders, leaders of courage and audacity.
Nearly 150 years ago, they looked beyond narrow self-interest. They faced down incredible challenges—geographic, military, and economic. They were undaunted. They dared to seize the moment that history offered. Pioneers, then few in number, reached across a vast continent.
They forged an independent country where none would have otherwise existed.
In the words of Thomas D’Arcy McGee:
“I see in the not remote distance one great nationality bound, like the shield of Achilles, by the blue rim of ocean. I see it quartered into many communities, each disposing of its internal affairs, but all bound together by free institutions...” 2 With hard work, sacrifice and common sense, those Canadian men and women built this country. In so doing, they founded a constitutional democracy, among the most enduring history has known. As we look to the 150th anniversary of our Confederation, we are reminded that ours is a rich inheritance: a legacy of freedom; the birthright of all humanity and the courage to uphold it; the rule of law, and the institutions to protect it; respect for human dignity and diversity.
Guided by these values, we Canadians—Aboriginal, French, English, people from all corners of the globe—strive together for our families and a brighter future. We are on the cusp of a moment that is uniquely Canada’s.
Just as our founders dared, so too must we.
We must seize this moment to secure prosperity, for Canadians now, and the generations to follow.
Creating jobs and securing economic growth is and will remain our Government’s top priority.
When disaster struck the world economy, our Government’s decisive and pragmatic leadership navigated Canada through the worst global recession in a generation.
Even before the recession hit, our Government was prepared. It maintained budget surpluses and paid down billions from the national debt. It lowered taxes for Canadians and job-creating businesses.
During the downturn, our Government’s Economic Action Plan took the steps necessary to safeguard our economy. It protected Canadian jobs. It invested in infrastructure and productivity. And it controlled spending, while maintaining growing transfers that support health care, education and retirement.
In spite of continuing risks from beyond our shores, our Government is leading the world by example. It secured the commitment of the world’s largest economies to put in place credible plans to achieve financial sustainability. And it set clear targets to bring our own deficit down.
Canada now leads the G-7—in job creation; in income growth; and in keeping debt levels low.
Canada is now among only a few countries in the world with a triple-A credit rating.
By taking decisive action, Canada has stayed strong where others have faltered. But we cannot be complacent. The global economy still faces significant risks from factors that we do not control. We must stay the course. And sound management remains our Government’s guide.
Canadian families know they cannot prosper by continually spending more than they earn.
Our Government is no different.
And it will go further. Our Government will enshrine in law its successful and prudent § approach. Our Government will introduce balanced-budget legislation. It will require balanced budgets during normal economic times, and concrete timelines for returning to balance in the event of an economic crisis.
Our Government has already set an ambitious debt-to-GDP target of 25 per cent § by 2021. And it will reduce that ratio to pre-recession levels by 2017.
4 Just as our Government manages debt, so too is it tackling spending. Every day, Canadian families make tough choices about how to spend their hard-earned money. Guided by this example, our Government will continue reducing the size and cost of government to ensure that taxpayers get value for money.
Our Government will freeze the overall federal operating budget, which will continue to § restrain hiring.
Our Government will make further targeted reductions to internal government § spending.
Our Government will reform the way the federal system manages spending.
§ Our Government will review federal assets; when it is in the best interest of Canadians, § they will be sold.
Our Government recognizes the value of a lean, competent and committed public § service. Public Service pay and benefit levels will be reasonable, responsible, and in the public interest.
Our Government has already reformed federal government pension plans, to ensure § that parliamentarians and public servants pay their fair share. It will reform disability and sick-day entitlements and work with employees to get them back to work as soon as possible.
Our Government will amend the Public Service Labour Relations Act to ensure that the § Public Service is affordable, modern and high-performing.
Our Government will increase performance accountability in the Public Service to § provide better service to Canadians, at a reduced cost, and to better recognize dedicated and effective employees.
And we will make government more efficient and responsive to Canadians—by, for § example, moving from 63 different email systems to one.
Jobs for Canadians Canadians want good, well-paying, stable jobs. And our country needs Canadians working.
Canadians know that businesses create jobs. So our Government lowered their tax burden and cut red tape.
Canada now has the best job creation record in the G-7—one million net new jobs since the depths of the recession. These are overwhelmingly full-time, well-paying, private sector jobs.
Canada has one of the best-educated workforces in the world. But there are too many people without jobs and too many jobs without people.
To address this job creation gap, our Government is implementing the Canada Job § Grant. It will increase employment by ensuring Canadians are able to fill job vacancies.
Our Government will take further steps to see that those traditionally under-represented § in the workforce, including people with disabilities, youth, and Aboriginal Canadians, find the job-training they need.
Our Government will work with provinces and territories on a new generation of labour § market agreements to more effectively connect Canadians with disabilities to employers and in-demand jobs.
Canada’s youth unemployment rate is already much lower than many advanced § countries. But it remains too high. Our Government will redirect federal investments in youth employment to provide real-life work experience in high-demand fields.
Our Government recognizes the tremendous potential of Canada’s First Nations, Métis § and Inuit populations to strengthen the growing Canadian economy. It will continue working with First Nations to develop stronger, more effective, and more accountable on-reserve education systems.
In a dynamic economy, workers must be able to use their skills, wherever in Canada § they choose to work. Provincial borders should not be employment barriers. Our Government will work with provinces and territories to improve credential recognition and enable the free movement of skilled workers.
Our Government will ensure that Canadians are aware of the opportunities offered by § the skilled trades, and will assist apprentices with the cost of their training.
Our Government will complete reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to § ensure that Canadians always have the first chance at available jobs.
From the days of the coureurs des bois and the Hudson’s Bay Company, Canada has been a trading nation. Today, with one in five Canadian jobs dependent on exports, our prosperity hinges on opening new markets for Canadian goods, services and investment.
6 This is why our Government launched the most ambitious trade agenda in Canadian history. In less than seven years, Canada has concluded new free-trade agreements with nine countries and our Government is negotiating further agreements involving more than 60 others.
The Government will soon complete negotiations on a comprehensive economic and § trade agreement with the European Union. This agreement has the potential to create 80,000 new Canadian jobs.