Canada's Trudeau Sets Agenda in Motion in Ottawa Throne Speech

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has formally opened the new session of Parliament, setting into motion plans made during the country’s election campaign while acknowledging challenging economic times.

The Speech from the Throne, a ceremony in the Canadian parliament, was read out on behalf of Trudeau’s government by Governor General David Johnston on Friday.

The speech cited an "immediate priority" to cut taxes for middle-income earners and deliver on pledges to "provide more direct help to those who need it by giving less to those who do not," in part through expanded child benefit payments. It underscored his infrastructure pledges, expansion of unemployment benefits and commitment to work with provinces to "enhance" the Canada Pension Plan.

It made no mention of a tax increase on stock options or on those earning above C$200,000 annually, moves Trudeau is relying on to finance his election pledges. Instead, the government pledged to carry out its agenda "while pursuing a fiscal plan that is responsible, transparent and suited to challenging economic times."

Trudeau pledged "greater openness and transparency in government," Senate reform and to consult on election-law changes to end the so-called first-past-the-post electoral system.

The speech underscored his plan to "get handguns and assault weapons off our streets" and to "legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana."

Coming off an appearance by Trudeau at the Paris climate summit, he pledged to "provide leadership as Canada works toward putting a price on carbon and reducing carbon pollution" and introduce "new environmental assessment processes" for pipelines and other projects.

Abroad, Canada will "strengthen its relationship with allies, especially with our closest friend and partner, the United States" while rolling out a "leaner, more agile, better-equipped military," Trudeau’s government’s speech said.

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