As Peter Mansbridge so deftly pointed out, we're back where we were 68 days ago with a Speech from the Throne and a new parliamentary session. However, the nearly eight and a half minute speech delivered by Governor General Michaelle Jean was definitely different in tone from the one last fall. Don Newman just said that the government is scrambling from suffering a "near death experience."
There were not a lot of details in the speech, and honestly what details could it unveil that haven't been leaked by Conservative MPs cross-country in the last couple of days. The promise in the speech was that tomorrow's budget will be, at least partially, focused on helping people at risk; meaning low income earners, seniors and Aboriginal Canadians. And further they will provide "stimulus" while avoiding "long term high deficits."
Well on the surface, the speech seemed to say the right things. All I know is that Harper sat there looking like a kid who was just told that wrestling is fake. Michael Ignatieff says that while he liked the tone of this throne speech better, there's a problem with trust, and the question about what language Canadians can believe when hearing from the Prime Minister. "Canadians face a difficult year, perhaps several difficult years," read Jean. "Our government will do what is necessary to stimulate the economy and invest when necessary for our long term prosperity."
So what's going to happen? Well, Jack Layton said that he has no intention of supporting the Conservatives, on anything, ever. It seems that things have not changed much, NDP members are already saying that they haven't heard anything that will change their minds. And Giles Duceppe, who was first at the microphones, went off crazier than usual. So probably no support there either. So the onus is going to be on Ignatieff, whose shoes I think being in, is not nearly an enviable decision.
The speech ended with these words: "May divine providence be your guide and inspiration." Lord help us if we're leaving this to the gods of fate. Or maybe this is the best move that Harper could have made.
See you at 4 pm tomorrow.