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    ************************************************** ******************
    This Message Is Reprinted Under The FAIR USE
    Doctrine Of International Copyright Law:
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    Throne Speech Transcript


    The Canadian Press
    Published: Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    A transcript of the speech from the throne, delivered by Gov. Gen. Michaelle
    Jean on Tuesday:
    As the representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, I am honoured to
    welcome the newly elected members of the House of Commons on the occasion of the
    opening of the First Session of the 39th Parliament of Canada. Canadians
    rejoice in the coming 80th birthday of Her Majesty later this month, and in her
    more than 50 years of service as Queen of Canada.
    Since my appointment as Governor General of Canada, I have had the privilege
    of meeting women and men who each and every day, and each in their own way,
    reaffirm their attachment to this vast land that we share and where people
    from around the world have found a home. Women and men of ideas, conviction and
    action who have an abiding sense of responsibility, solidarity and commitment
    to their neighbourhoods, to their communities and to their country. And I am
    moved to see just how strong and vibrant a country we are.
    I have been particularly struck by the words of our young people and by their
    wealth of ideas. Young people who are looking to carve out their place and
    be heard. The new generation of aboriginal entrepreneurs who are creating new
    opportunities. Young people in our Canadian Forces who, through their
    extraordinary efforts, offer a promise of hope for the oppressed. More than ever,
    our young people represent not only the promise of a brighter future, but also
    the vitality of our present.
    I have met with people from our two great linguistic communities and I can
    attest that our linguistic duality is a tremendous asset for the country.
    Similarly, Canadian artists from all disciplines have confirmed to me just how
    important creative expression is to the health of a democratic society.
    And I have heard from Canadians who feel they often lack a voice. Women who
    are victims of violence. Families newly arrived in Canada who seek to
    contribute to our society and our country's collective well-being.
    Listening to citizens from all walks of life has strengthened my already deep
    conviction that we are living in a country where everything is possible,
    where each of us is free to follow his or her dreams but also has a duty to help
    build our country and prepare it for the challenges that lie ahead.
    On Jan. 23, the Canadian people elected a new government. The government is
    honoured by the responsibility it has been given for managing the affairs of
    our great country.
    Canada is uniquely blessed in the strength and diversity of its people and
    regions. Through hard work, foresight and good fortune, we have come together
    to make our vast country one of the most successful the world has ever seen.
    The distance we have travelled is remarkable. A country once perceived to be
    at the edge of the world is now at the leading edge of science, business, the
    arts and sport. Whether it is on the podium in Turin, on the rugged hills of
    Afghanistan, or in the bustling markets of Asia, Canadians demonstrate time
    and time again that they are leaders.
    The government is proud of what Canadians have accomplished so far, and is
    inspired by the country's bright prospects. It believes in the capacity of
    Canadians to seize the enormous opportunities before them and build an even
    stronger Canada, striving for excellence, anchored by enduring values, and
    infused with growing confidence that they can make a difference at home and in the
    In support of building a stronger Canada, the government's agenda will be
    clear and focused. It will clean up government, provide real support to ordinary
    working families and strengthen our federation as well as our role in the
    Canadians have chosen change. They want a government that treats their tax
    dollars with respect. A government that puts ordinary working people and their
    families first. A government that is accountable.
    This government has been given a mandate to lead the change demanded by the
    Canadian people.
    Leading change in a minority Parliament means working together. To this end,
    the government will look for shared goals and common ideas that will help
    Canadians build a stronger Canada.
    It is time to turn a new leaf.
    No aspect of responsible government is more fundamental than having the trust
    of citizens. Canadians' faith in the institutions and practices of
    government has been eroded. This new government trusts in the Canadian people, and its
    goal is that Canadians will once again trust in their government. It is time
    for accountability.
    To restore this trust, the first piece of legislation the government will
    bring forward will be the Federal Accountability Act.
    This omnibus legislation and the associated Accountability Action Plan will
    change the current system of oversight and management by strengthening the
    rules and institutions that ensure transparency and accountability to Canadians.
    The legislation will ban institutional and large personal donations to
    political parties; it will ensure that positions of public trust cannot be used as
    stepping stones to private lobbying; and it will provide real protection for
    whistle-blowers who show great courage in coming forward to do what is
    The government will strengthen the capacity and independence of officers of
    Parliament, including the auditor general, to hold the government to account.
    It will increase the transparency of appointments, contracts and auditing
    within government departments and Crown corporations.
    Effective checks and balances are important, but they are not enough. The
    trust of citizens must be earned every day. The government will work to earn
    that trust.
    This government believes that Canadians pay too much in tax. The government's
    tax plan will, over time, reduce the tax burden on all Canadians.
    To this end, the government will reduce the goods-and-services tax by one per
    cent. Cutting the GST will help all Canadians deal with the rising cost of
    living, put money back in people's pockets and help stimulate the economy.
    Cutting the GST is the best way to lower taxes for all Canadians, including
    low-income Canadians who need it most.
    The government will continue with a responsible approach to lowering taxes
    for the benefit of Canadians and the Canadian economy, including a further
    reduction of the GST to five per cent.
    Canadians have always taken pride in our low crime rates. Safe streets have
    long characterized Canada's communities, from villages to towns to cities.
    Safe communities allow families and businesses to prosper.
    Unfortunately, our safe streets and healthy communities are increasingly
    under threat of gun, gang and drug violence.
    This government will tackle crime. It will propose changes to the Criminal

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  • #2
    Code to provide tougher sentences for violent and repeat offenders,
    particularly those involved in weapons-related crimes. It will help prevent crime by
    putting more police on the street and improving the security of our borders.
    It is equally important that we prevent criminal behaviour before it has a
    chance to take root. To this end, the government will work with the provinces
    and territories to help communities provide hope and opportunity for our
    youth, and end the cycle of violence that can lead to broken communities and
    broken lives.
    Strong families ensure a bright future for Canada. The most important
    investment we can make as a country is to help families raise their children.
    This government understands that no two Canadian families are exactly alike.
    Each has its own circumstances and needs. Parents must be able to choose the
    child care that is best for them. The government will help Canadian parents,
    as they seek to balance work and family life, by supporting their child-care
    choices through direct financial support.
    In collaboration with the provinces and territories, employers and community
    non-profit organizations, it will also encourage the creation of new child
    care spaces.
    Canadians have paid their taxes to support our system of public health
    insurance. But all too often, they find themselves waiting too long for critical
    procedures. That is not good enough. It is time Canadians received the health
    care they have paid for.
    The government will engage the provinces and territories on a patient wait
    times guarantee for medically necessary services. This guarantee will make sure
    that all Canadians receive essential medical treatment within clinically acc
    eptable waiting times.
    A health system that is timely and sustainable will require innovation. The
    government will support and enable innovative approaches to health care
    delivery consistent with the principles of a universally accessible and equitable
    public health-care system embodied in the Canada Health Act.
    One of Canada's greatest strengths is our federal system of government. The
    founders of our country had the foresight to build a flexible federal system
    that would accommodate our diversity and build upon the unique strengths of
    the different parts of our federation.
    To remain strong and effective, our federation must keep pace with the
    evolving needs of Canadian society. Building on the work begun in the last
    Parliament, this government will seek to involve parliamentarians and citizens in
    examining the challenges facing Canada's electoral system and democratic
    institutions. At the same time, it will explore means to ensure that the Senate
    better reflects both the democratic values of Canadians and the needs of
    Canada's regions.
    All too often, the strength of our federation is compromised by
    jurisdictional squabbles that obscure accountabilities and prevent governments from
    working together in the best interests of Canadians.
    This new government will take a new approach. It is committed to building a
    better federation in which governments come together to help Canadians realize
    their potential. To this end, the government will respond to concerns about
    the fiscal imbalance and will work to ensure fiscal arrangements in which all
    governments have access to the resources they need to meet their
    The government is committed to an open federalism that recognizes the unique
    place of a strong, vibrant Quebec in a united Canada. It will work with the
    government and legislature of Quebec in a spirit of mutual respect and
    collaboration to advance the aspirations of Quebecers. In the international
    community, Canada is stronger when we speak with one voice, but that voice must
    belong to all of us. In a more interdependent world, decisions on international
    issues increasingly affect not only countries, but also individuals,
    communities and regions.
    This is why the government will facilitate provincial participation in the
    development of Canadian positions that affect areas of provincial
    responsibility. The government recognizes the special cultural responsibilities of the
    government of Quebec and will therefore invite Quebec to play a role in the
    United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. By harnessing
    the diversity of experience and expertise found within our federation, we can
    present a strong, united and confident voice to the world.
    Canada's voice in the world must be supported by action, both at home and
    abroad. Advancing our interests in a complex and sometimes dangerous world
    requires confidence and the independent capacity to defend our country's
    sovereignty and the security of our citizens.
    The government will work cooperatively with our friends and allies and
    constructively with the international community to advance common values and
    interests. In support of this goal, it will build stronger multilateral and
    bilateral relationships, starting with Canada's relationship with the United
    States, our best friend and largest trading partner.
    More broadly, this government is committed to supporting Canada's core values
    of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human rights around the world. In
    this regard, the government will support a more robust diplomatic role for
    Canada, a stronger military and a more effective use of Canadian aid dollars.
    Just as it honours the past efforts of our veterans, the government stands
    firmly behind the vital role being played by our troops in Afghanistan today.
    The dedicated Canadians in Afghanistan deserve all of our support as they risk
    their lives to defend our national interests, combat global terrorism and
    help the Afghan people make a new start as a free, democratic and peaceful
    The government's clear and focused agenda reflects its commitment to
    Canadians. It will not try to do all things at once. Instead, the government will
    work diligently to make tangible improvements that contribute to stronger
    families and safer communities, and a stronger country.
    During this 39th Parliament, the government will be bringing forward fiscally
    responsible budgets and a legislative program that will achieve the results
    that Canadians expect from their elected representatives. In this work, it
    will rely on the support and counsel of a dedicated and professional public
    service. In turn, it will give the public service the leadership and tools it
    needs to excel in the service of Canadians. Recognizing the important role of
    parliamentarians, members of Parliament will be asked to conduct comprehensive
    reviews of key federal legislation, including the Canadian Environmental
    Protection Act, the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Bank Act. The government will act
    in Parliament to offer an apology for the Chinese Head Tax. Significant
    international treaties will be submitted for votes in Parliament.
    Over the course of its mandate, and starting with the clear priorities set
    out today, the government will work diligently to build a record of results. It
    will promote a more competitive, more productive Canadian economy. It will
    seek to improve opportunity for all Canadians, including aboriginal peoples
    and new immigrants. It will work to improve the security of seniors. It will
    take measures to achieve tangible improvements in our environment, including
    reductions in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
    This government recognizes the unique challenges faced by those who make
    their livelihood from our land and oceans in our vital natural resource and
    agriculture industries. It will take action to secure a prosperous future for
    Canadian agriculture, following years of neglect. It will respond to short-term
    needs, create separate and more effective farm income stabilization and
    disaster relief programs and work with producers and partners to achieve long-term
    competitiveness and sustainability.
    Together, the government's actions will ensure Canada's future success.
    With the efforts and contributions of members from both chambers, the
    government looks forward to making this Parliament work for the benefit of the
    Canadian people.
    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 members of the Senate and members of the House of Commons:
    May Divine Providence guide your deliberations.
    © The Canadian Press
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    • #3
      Attention News Editors:
      Métis Nation Disappointed with Harper Government's Throne Speech - National
      President urges Conservative Government to "Think Twice" before disregarding
      Canada's Commitment to the Kelowna Accord
      OTTAWA, April 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, Clément Chartier, President of the

      Métis National Council, expressed disappointment with the Harper Government's

      Throne Speech. The Throne Speech included no specific section on Aboriginal

      peoples and only mentioned Aboriginal people in passing in two parts.

      Moreover, the Throne Speech included no mention of the Harper Government's

      commitment to the Kelowna Accord which was agreed to by the Government of

      Canada, all provinces and territories and the leadership of the First Nation,

      Inuit and Métis peoples in November 2005.
      "I find the fact that the Throne Speech does not even mention a

      commitment to the objectives of the Kelowna Accord, which was a promise made

      by the Conservatives during the past election, very disconcerting. The Kelowna

      Accord and the financial commitments to support it was an agreement reached

      between the Crown and the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. While governments of

      the day may change, the honour of the Crown is a constant and it is

      disappointing for our people to see promises from the Crown can be completely

      ignored," said President Chartier.
      President Chartier added, "I am asking the Conservative Government to

      think twice before disregarding the Kelowna Accord. Minister Prentice, Federal

      Interlocutor for Métis, and, I, are currently co-chairing a Canada-Métis

      Nation Working Group on the Kelowna Accord. I remain committed to that process

      and I am hopeful the upcoming Federal Budget will include financial

      commitments to the Kelowna Accord's objectives. However, the Conservative

      Government must be very aware that our people will not accept the Crown

      ignoring its promises yet again."
      Yesterday, the historic Manitoba Métis Federation v. Canada trial started

      in Winnipeg. The case is about Canada not fulfilling its Treaty and

      constitutional promises to the Métis people in Manitoba in 1870. President

      Chartier concluded, "We are in court 136 years later in order to hold Canada

      to its promises and the honour of the Crown. Unfortunately, our history with

      government has more often than not, been corrupted by broken promises and

      sharp dealing. I sincerely hope that the Kelowna Accord does not become a part

      of that shameful legacy."

      For further information: Robert McDonald, Director of Public and Media

      Relations, (613) 295-9298;
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      • #4
        Attention News Editors:
        Assembly of First Nations Responds to Speech from the Throne
        OTTAWA, April 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief

        Phil Fontaine responded today to the Government of Canada's Speech from the

        Throne, and called on the government to address the critically important

        agreements reached on residential schools and at the First Ministers Meeting

        on Aboriginal Issues in Kelowna.
        "Our expectation was that there would be no specific mention of First

        Nations issues, given that we were not one of the government's five stated

        priorities, but we are still disappointed that there was no reference to our

        agenda, nor any reference to our historic agreements on residential schools or

        to close the gap in quality of life between First Nations and other

        Canadians," said the National Chief.
        The Speech from the Throne focused on the stated "top five" priorities of

        the new Conservative government. The National Chief nevertheless noted that

        First Nations will continue to work with government to ensure that First

        Nations issues also remain a priority.
        "I know that the Minister of Indian Affairs, the Honourable Jim Prentice,

        is committed to, as he says, 'putting the wheels on Kelowna'", stated the

        National Chief. "The First Ministers' agreements and the Agreement in

        Principle on Residential Schools are priorities for First Nations that will

        also benefit all Canadians in the long-term. The government has stated that it

        is willing to support the First Ministers and residential schools agreements

        in principle. Let's work together to put principle into practice."
        The National Chief stated that the Speech from the Throne sets the tone

        for the government, but he and First Nations across the country will be

        closely watching the upcoming federal budget to get a better sense of the

        government's commitment to collaborative approaches and concrete results.
        "The Federal Budget will provide details of the government's commitment

        to improving quality of life for First Nations," said the National Chief.

        "Other commitments from the previous government have been honoured. For

        example, farmers received over $700 million from this government - money that

        was promised by the previous government."
        National Chief Fontaine highlighted the government's intent to issue an

        apology regarding the Chinese head tax through Parliament as evidence of the

        government's willingness to address the institutionalized racism and

        discrimination of the past, and called on Prime Minister Harper to move

        forward with agreements on residential schools compensation and reconciliation

        as further evidence of that willingness.
        "We applaud the efforts by government and the Chinese-Canadian community

        to address this outstanding injustice from our past," said the National Chief.

        "We have an Agreement in Principle on Residential Schools, which is a means to

        address one of the most widespread, pervasive and destructive examples of past

        discrimination. All that is required to implement this agreement is final

        approval by the federal government."

        The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing

        First Nations citizens in Canada.

        For further information: Don Kelly, AFN Communications Director, (613)

        241-6789 ext. 320 or cell (613) 292-2787; Ian McLeod, AFN Bilingual

        Communications Officer, (613) 241-6789 ext. 336 or cell (613) 859-4335
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        • #5
          Attention News Editors:
          Assembly of First Nations Calls on Government of Canada to Address First
          Nations Education Crisis
          OTTAWA, April 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief

          Phil Fontaine and AFN Regional Chief for British Columbia Shawn Atleo

          (A-in-Chut), chair of the Chiefs Committee on Education, today called on the

          Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs, to fast-track the

          modernization of the outdated Band Operated Formula (BOF) funding for First

          Nations education, and to lift the 2% cap on spending for First Nations

          programs and services, to promote and preserve on-reserve education.
          "The Band Operated Formula model was introduced almost 20 years ago, and

          we must ensure that subsequent funding models in the 21st century effectively

          support on-reserve education," stated Regional Chief Atleo. "The funding

          shortfall for BOF funding in this fiscal year will be $172 million. Even in

          school systems with adequate funding, that kind of shortfall would be

          staggering; for chronically under-funded and under-resourced First Nations

          schools, it will be crippling."
          In 1996, a 2% funding increase "cap" was instituted for funding to

          programs and services for First Nations. National Chief Fontaine called on the

          government of Canada to abolish the cap to address critical needs in education

          and other areas.
          "The 2% cap hasn't kept pace with inflation or First Nations population

          growth," stated the National Chief. "The cap has affected all programs and

          services for First Nations, but coupled with the BOF funding shortfalls,

          on-reserve education is facing an acute crisis. If the existing funding

          mechanisms continue, there will be a funding shortfall of over a billion

          dollars in education by 2011. The government of Canada must abolish the

          current 2% annual cap on First Nations funding and introduce appropriate

          fiscal escalators for core programs such as education as a first step to

          providing a sustainable funding base to First Nations communities."
          In 2000, the Auditor-General stated that at the current rate of progress,

          it will take 27 years for First Nations to reach parity in academic

          achievement with non-Aboriginal Canadians. The Auditor-General's report

          estimated that, even if existing education programs achieved their intended

          outcomes, it would take 27 years to close the First Nations education outcomes

          gap. By 2004, after four years of allegedly increased effort, the gap had not

          narrowed, but rather widened to 28 years.
          "Based on 2001 Statistics Canada findings, only 26% of First Nations

          between 18 and 29 living on reserve have a high school or post-secondary

          diploma, compared to 54% of the general population," stated Regional Chief

          Atleo. "First Nations know that we must be educated to contribute and be

          competitive in a modern economy. Educating First Nation citizens will benefit

          all of Canada and it is time for the government to recognize that in its

          National Chief Fontaine further called on the government to implement the

          agreements on education, infrastructure and other First Nations issues

          developed at the First Ministers Meeting on Aboriginal issues in Kelowna.
          "Education isn't a stand-alone issue," stated the National Chief.
          "Improved health, housing, infrastructure and the positive community identity

          developed through self-determination all contribute to the well-being of a

          community, which will permit our youth to pursue ever-greater educational

          opportunity and create a brighter future for all of us."

          The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing

          First Nations citizens in Canada.

          For further information: Don Kelly, AFN Communications Director,

          (613) 241-6789 ext. 320 or cell (613) 292-2787; Ian McLeod, AFN Bilingual

          Communications Officer, (613) 241-6789 ext. 336 or cell (613) 859-4335
          Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


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