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UPDATE: Highlights from the Speech from the Throne

Brent Patterson on Parliament Hill

Yesterday’s Speech from the Throne included references to the Harper government’s agenda in the areas of trade, energy and water.

We will monitor these commitments, provide critical commentary through our website and media work, and campaign actively against those measures that harm the public interest.

The Harper government says it will:

TRADE
– “implement free trade agreements with Peru and the European Free Trade Association and ask Parliament to ratify new agreements with Colombia, Jordan and Panama”

– “aggressively diversify opportunities for Canadian business through bilateral trade agreements”

– “continue trade negotiations with the European Union, India, the Republic of Korea, the Caribbean Community and other countries of the Americas”

– “build upon the recent agreement that gives Canadian companies permanent access to state and local government procurement in the United States”

ENERGY
– “untangle the daunting maze of regulations that needlessly complicates (oil and gas) project approvals”

– “ensure that unnecessary regulation does not inhibit the growth of Canada’s uranium mining industry by unduly restricting foreign investment”

– “reform the northern regulatory regime to ensure that the region’s resource potential can be developed where commercially viable”

– “provide funding to help developing economies reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change”

– “continue to take steps to fight climate change by leading the world in clean electricity generation”

– “work to reduce emissions through the Canada-U.S. Clean Energy Dialogue launched last year with President Obama’s administration”

WATER
– “introduce new legislative measures to further this goal (of making safe drinking water and effective waste-water treatment on-reserve a national priority)”

– “bolster its Action Plan on Clean Water”

– “advocate greater investment in maternal and child health in developing countries”

OTHER
– “open Canada’s doors further to venture capital and to foreign investment in key sectors, including the satellite and telecommunications industries…”

– “take steps to endorse this aspirational document (the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights) in a manner fully consistent with Canada’s Constitution and laws”

The full Speech from the Throne is at http://www.speech.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?id=1388.

Our media release from earlier this week, ‘Council of Canadians calls on returning MPs to prioritize fair trade, water, and climate justice’, can be read at http://canadians.org/media/trade/2010/01-Mar-10.html.

Vue Weekly in Edmonton reports that, “the Council of Canadians makes its recommendations to legislators on an environmental level. With the threats on an environmental and trade basis the Council is calling for a national water strategy as well as greater attention to a Buy Canadian strategy that would require renegotiations of international trade deals currently short changing Canada’s resources and economy.” That article is at http://www.vueweekly.com/article.php?id=14448.