As we settle in to listen to the Speech from the Throne on Wednesday, it’s worth remembering a few things from the Conservative government’s last go-around. What they said they’d do in the 2011 Throne Speech didn’t always jive with what they did. Here are some of the highlights.
What they said: "Helping seniors make ends meet."
What they did: Cut public pensions by raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement from 65 to 67, affecting all Canadians born after April 1, 1958. The Harper government spun the surprise in the 2012 budget as necessary to deal with the coming demographic bulge of older Canadians. The Parliamentary Budget Officer set the record straight by confirming the programs were sustainable in the long-term.
What they said: "Addressing the barriers to social and economic participation."
What they did: Do meetings count? In January 2012, there was a Crown-First Nations gathering to address poverty and long-term economic prosperity of Canada’s aboriginal peoples. By year’s end, the Assembly of First Nations complained Ottawa had failed to uphold its commitments and responsibilities. The Idle No More protests were in full swing. Harper defused the growing unrest with yet another meeting. Fast-forward to today. The UN’s special envoy on the rights on indigenous peoples was just in town, pointing out a “crisis when it comes to the situation of indigenous peoples of the country.”
What they said: "Promoting integrity and accountability."
What they did: Presided over ethics scandal after ethics scandal. You know the names well: Peter Penashue, Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Dean Del Mastro. And don’t forgot about Nigel Wright, who served as Stephen Harper’s Chief of Staff until word got out that he had cut a personal cheque to Duffy to cover over $90,000 of questionable expense claims. Allegations of a cover-up in the Prime Minister’s Office continue to swirl.