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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:53, April 05, 2006
Canada's new Conservative government outlines priorities
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Canada's newly elected Conservative government outlined its priorities in a throne speech Tuesday, reiterating its election pledges to clean up the government, cut the tax and improve relations with the United States.

The throne speech, aimed to pronounce a newly elected government's working agenda, was read by Governor-General Michaelle Jean a day after the new session of parliament resumed Monday.

The Conservative Party led by Stephen Harper defeated the Liberals in the Jan. 23 election.

Largely repeating the Conservative's election platforms, the speech talked about its five priorities, comprising a Legislation to "clean up government," a one-point cut in the goods and services tax, direct financial support for parents in child care, tougher sentences for violent and repeat offenders, and establishing waiting-time for medical care.

As to Canada's role in the international arena, the speech emphasized that "Canada's voice in the world must be supported by action, both at home and abroad."

It described the United States as Canada's "best friend and biggest trading partner".

In promising a stronger military, it said, "the dedicated Canadians in Afghanistan deserve all our support as they risk their lives to defend our national interests, combat global terrorism and help the Afghan people make a new start as a free, democratic and peaceful country."

The Conservative government will also work on Senate reform and review some major legislation in addition to its five priorities.

There will also be special measures for Quebec and an apology for the head tax imposed on Chinese immigrants early in the 20th Century.

The opposition is to put forward an amendment and sub-amendment to the speech on Wednesday with votes scheduled for Thursday and next Monday.

The final vote on the speech is scheduled for April 24.

Voting on the throne speech is a vote of confidence in the government, but most observers say it is highly unlikely the opposition parties would vote to defeat the government at this early stage.

Source: Xinhua

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