Parliament reconvened last week.
As usual, the session began with a Speech from the Throne delivered this time by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada.
Her speech began in Inuktitut before switching to English and then French. What a difference such a change makes! Not to everyone’s liking – BQ Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet seemed to be miffed by the inclusion of a third language. But using an indigenous language simply recognizes times have changed and we need to change with them.
The theme of the speech can be summed up in the title: “Building a Resilient Economy: A cleaner and healthier future for our kids.” For the government, this means growing an economy that works for everyone, fighting climate change, moving forward on the path to reconciliation, and making sure our communities are safe, healthy, and inclusive.
All of these are “motherhood and apple pie” statements. It is hard to argue against ensuring our communities are safe and healthy. Despite years of denial by many, it is time to finally get to work on doing something to mitigate climate change. Actually, it is decades late but better now than not at all. And one could make the same statement about reconciliation.
That said, the opposition parties see it as their job to criticize the government and its agenda. Over the past week, this has ranged from pointing out that all of these were promised the last time around but the government failed to deliver to suggesting the government’s priorities are completely wrong for this country at this point in time.
Where are we at? In the middle of a pandemic radically altering our economic model. Supply chains are dysfunctional. The stock markets teetering on the latest pronouncements from the World Health Organization. Working from home has become a new normal. And we are all wearing masks in public.
At the same time, British Columbia has spent the last six months bearing the brunt of climate change and seeing what the future holds if we don’t change our ways.
Right now we need much more than “motherhood and apple pie”. Perhaps it is time for all Parliamentarians to work together for our country’s future. Just a thought.
Todd Whitcombe is a UNBC chemistry professor.