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Expand its National Anti-Drug Strategy to address the growing problem of prescription § drug abuse;

Close loopholes that allow for the feeding of addiction under the guise of treatment;

§ Act on the opportunities presented by social finance and the successful National Call for § Concepts for Social Finance;

Build on the successful Housing First approach and its renewed Homelessness § Partnering Strategy to help house vulnerable Canadians;

Protect Canada’s rich natural heritage by unveiling a new National Conservation Plan to § further increase protected areas, focusing on stronger marine and coastal conservation;

Complete, by 2015, its work to protect wilderness lands in Nááts’ihch’oh, Bathurst Island § and the Mealy Mountains;

Work with communities, non-profit organizations, and businesses to create and protect § more green space in our urban and suburban areas;

Take further action to improve air quality nationwide; and § Build on its record as the first government to achieve an absolute reduction in § greenhouse gas emissions by working with provinces to reduce emissions from the oil and gas sectors while ensuring Canadian companies remain competitive.

Since before Confederation, Canada has relied on railways for the movement of goods and passengers. It is no different today. New economic opportunities still require rail to link Canadian goods to waiting markets.

Our Government has already amended the Railway Safety Act to further enhance the § safety of rail transportation.

As efforts to clean up and rebuild Lac-Mégantic demonstrate, railway companies must be § able to bear the cost of their actions. Our Government will require shippers and railways to carry additional insurance so they are held accountable.

And we will take targeted action to increase the safety of the transportation of § dangerous goods.

–  –  –

Building community resilience can mitigate the worst impacts of natural disasters and § other emergencies before they happen. Our Government will work with provinces and territories to develop a National Disaster Mitigation Program, focused on reducing the impact of natural disasters.


3. Putting Canada First Supporting Our Armed Forces Government has no higher obligation than the protection of national sovereignty and the security of citizens. And Canadians know that you cannot earn respect by projecting weakness.

Serious countries have serious capabilities.

Look at the paintings that adorn this room—scenes of the Great War. They remind us of this, and of the profound sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform. These heroes are the pride of our country and the backbone of our history.

After a decade of darkness, our Government has been living up to our promise to give the Canadian military the tools it needs to get the job done. Soldier for soldier, sailor for sailor, airman for airman, the Canadian Armed Forces are once again the best in the world.

No longer does Canada have to hitch a ride with our allies. Our serving men and women can now carry out their vital missions. The Royal Canadian Air Force is flying new heavy-lift C-17 and C-130J transport aircraft, and operating Chinook helicopters. New tanks, artillery and other equipment have proven their worth in combat. Canadian workers at Canadian shipyards will build new ships for the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard. And our Government will complete our plan to replace Canada’s fleet of fighter jets.

Building on these successes, our Government will renew our Canada First Defence Strategy.

Now and in the future, Canada’s Armed Forces will defend Canada and protect our borders;

maintain sovereignty over our Northern lands and waters; fight alongside our allies to defend our interests; and respond to emergencies within Canada and around the world.

To be effective, our military must have more teeth and less tail. Our Government will:

Put front-line capability before back-office bureaucracy;

§ Respond to emerging threats to our sovereignty and economy posed by terrorism and § cyber-attacks, while ensuring Canadians’ fundamental privacy rights are protected;

Incorporate a strong role for our military reserves, who are an essential link between the § Armed Forces and Canadian communities; and Assist employers of reservists who are required to deploy on missions vital to the security § of all Canadians.

As our Government takes these steps, it will always keep faith with those who have defended Canada with pride. Our veterans have stood up for us; we will stand by them. Our Government has made unprecedented investments to support our veterans.

–  –  –

Canada’s Northern Sovereignty We are a northern country. We are a northern people. Canada’s greatest dreams are to be found in our highest latitudes. They are the dreams of a North confident and prosperous, the True North, strong and free.

Our Government is securing our Northern sovereignty; promoting prosperity for Northerners;

protecting our Arctic environmental heritage; and giving the people of the North a greater say in their own affairs.

Our Government has made great strides by:

–  –  –

But the eyes of the world increasingly look enviously to our North. Our Government will not rest.

18 Our Government will fulfill Prime Minister Diefenbaker’s historic vision by completing § the Dempster Highway to the Arctic Ocean, linking Canada from sea to sea to sea.

Our Government has established the Canadian High Arctic Research Station.

§ This world-class science and technology research facility will open in time for the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

With the arrival of our Government’s new Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships, Canada’s first § deep water Arctic port at Nanisivik will be operational.

Our Government recognizes that the future prosperity of the North requires responsible § development of its abundant natural resources. Northerners must benefit from this treasure. Our Government will work alongside Inuit, First Nations, territorial governments and industry to ensure that Northerners are well trained to take their full place in this new economy.

Our Government will also continue to defend the seal hunt, an important source of food § and income for coastal and Inuit communities.

The story of the North is the story of Canada. In order to tell that story for Canada’s § 150th year, our Government will continue efforts to solve one of the most enduring mysteries of our past. We will work with renewed determination and an expanded team of partners to discover the fate of Sir John Franklin’s lost Arctic expedition.

Promoting Canadian Values Canada stands for what is right and good in the world. This is the true character of Canadians— honourable in our dealings, faithful to our commitments, loyal to our friends. Confident partners, courageous warriors and compassionate neighbours.

Canada does not go along to get along. Our Government defends Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, the lone outpost of freedom and democracy in a dangerous region. And our Government stands opposed to those regimes that threaten their neighbours, slaughter their citizens, and imperil freedom. These regimes must ultimately be judged not by their words, but by their actions.

Canada seeks a world where freedom—including freedom of religion, the rule of law, democracy and human dignity are respected. Our Government will continue to promote these fundamental values around the world, including through the newly established Office of Religious Freedom.

And Canadians know that freedom and prosperity march together.

Our Government will help the world’s neediest by partnering with the private sector to § create economic growth in the developing world.

–  –  –

Canadians also know that free and healthy societies require the full participation of women.

Canada has taken a leadership role in addressing the health challenges facing women, infants and children in the world’s poorest countries. These efforts are saving millions of lives.

In particular, Canada recognizes the courageous and inspiring example set by § Malala Yousafzai in risking her life promoting education for young women. She faced down evil and oppression and now speaks boldly for those who are silenced. Recognizing her heroism, our Government will, on behalf of all Canadians, bestow honorary citizenship on this remarkable young woman.

–  –  –

It is the reality of our country that Canadians of very different origins live and work side by side, together. New Canadians work hard to learn our languages, our values, and our traditions, and in turn, are welcomed as equal members of the Canadian family. Our Government inherited a broken immigration system, and has worked hard to fix it.

Our Government has:

–  –  –

20 Our Government will reform the Immigrant Investor Program so that these investors § make a real contribution in exchange for the security and pathway to citizenship that Canada provides.

Canadians understand that citizenship should not be simply a passport of convenience.

Citizenship is a pledge of mutual responsibility and a shared commitment to values rooted in our history.

Our Government will not hesitate to uphold the fundamental rights of all Canadians § wherever they are threatened.

To strengthen and protect the value of Canadian citizenship, our Government § will introduce the first comprehensive reforms to the Citizenship Act in more than a generation.

2017: Anniversary of Confederation As we look confidently to the future, we draw great strength from our past. Beginning with our Aboriginal peoples, Canada’s story is one of risk, sacrifice, and rugged determination. From the founding of New France, to the fight for Canada in the War of 1812; from the visionary achievement of Confederation, to our victory at Vimy Ridge, Canadians have repeatedly triumphed over long odds to forge a great country, united and free.

It is a story we recall with wonder and recount with pride. A story of how different provinces founded a federation in which our distinct strengths advance our unity. A federation in which Canada’s two national languages position us uniquely in the world; where francophones thrive and celebrate a unique culture, in solidarity with fellow Canadians.

Our Government has recognized the Québécois as a nation within a united Canada. It will work with the Government of Québec to ensure our common prosperity. And our Government will continue to respect the division of jurisdiction at the heart of the Constitution adopted at Confederation.

Canada’s Confederation is worth celebrating.

As we approach our historic 150th anniversary in 2017, our Government will join with Canadians in honouring this momentous milestone by:

Marking the 150th anniversaries of the Charlottetown and Québec Conferences;

§ Celebrating the 200th birthdays of two of our greatest Fathers of Confederation, § Sir George-Étienne Cartier and Sir John A. Macdonald;

Commemorating the centennial of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of § the Second World War, and the enormous sacrifices made by Canadians and our Allies in both;

–  –  –

Working with Canadians to support community projects, local celebrations, and other § initiatives to commemorate this historic occasion.

The coming anniversary of Confederation is also a time to mark the contribution of Canada’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, who have had a defining role in shaping our country.

–  –  –

And our Government will continue to work in partnership with Aboriginal peoples to § create healthy, prosperous, self-sufficient communities.

The road to 2017 is a fitting time to strengthen our institutions and democratic processes.

The Government continues to believe the status quo in the Senate of Canada is § unacceptable. The Senate must be reformed or, as with its provincial counterparts, vanish. The Government will proceed upon receiving the advice of the Supreme Court.

And, the Government will propose changes to Canada’s elections laws to uphold the § integrity of our voting system. Legislation will be introduced in time for implementation prior to the next federal election.

22 Conclusion Honourable Members of the Senate and Members of the Commons, as the dawn of our Confederation approached in the 1860s, our founding Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald said of Canada’s future that he saw “a great nation—great in thought, great in action, great in hope, and great in position.” His vision has come to pass.

Today, Canada is a model for the world. Admired for our freedom. Respected for our principles.

Envied for our openness, compassion and peaceful pluralism.

As we approach the 150th anniversary of our great land, we look to the future. A future we will face true to our character, the character of a determined and enterprising people: Canadians, whose shops and small businesses spur the growth of our towns and cities; who work factory shifts and drive taxicabs to help their families get ahead; who take the same pride in raising their children as they do in being citizens of the best country on earth.

These are the quiet, unsung Canadians who are building our country.

It is from them that we draw the inspiration to face an uncertain and unstable world.

It is for them that we will seize the moment before us.

Members of the House of Commons, you will be asked to appropriate the funds required to carry out the services and expenditures authorized by Parliament.

Honourable Senators and Members of the House of Commons, you are the holders of a profound trust reposed in you by Canadians.

May you be equal to that trust in all things and may Divine Providence guide you in your deliberations.


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