CFN – Throne Speeches come and Throne Speeches go, and the 2013 version has done both. When all is said and done, outside of the bubble that is Ottawa, who really cares about them? Worse yet, who even remembers what is in them?
Throne Speeches do signal the government’s intentions in a variety of areas. I suspect though that the public has become far too cynical about our federal politicians and the way Ottawa works for them to believe that all of those items will actually be done. Most will shrug their shoulders and adopt a wait and see attitude.
Fortunately for the Tories, the general public might recall one item from Harper’s latest version, namely the unbundling of cable channels. That is an item that most of us can relate to and we all have opinions on that subject. However for the rest of it, it was a lot of blah, blah, blah. Was it the long talked about reset button, probably not? Will it bury the Senate scandal and move it off the political agenda and out of the public’s mind, definitely not.
The Senate scandal which is something the public does care about received just a vague reference with a couple of lines about the status quo being unacceptable and the Senate needing to be reformed or it should vanish.
That is not enough to take the Senate scandal, which the government continues to wear on a daily basis off of the front pages. Nor will the Conservatives unusual move to have the Senate vote to suspend senators without pay over allegations, not convictions of wrong doing, do that for them. That move which in the case of Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy is so far based only on allegations that have yet to be proven in court, will keep the issue front and centre. It doesn’t serve to bullet-proof the government on this issue in parliament, the media or the eyes of the general public. With reports that there might be law suits over this issue, the scandal will stay right where it is now, front and centre in the public’s mind.
I don’t know about the rest of the public, but I wish we had seen a line in the speech that said the government will move to hold a referendum on the future of the Senate. A simple keep it or ditch it vote.
That would have been a throne speech to remember.
Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails. To sponsor this column please email firstname.lastname@example.org!