Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The 2007 Speech from the Throne: A Slurpees and Murder Anniversary Liveblogging Extravaganza Special (or, I Like Long Titles)

5:28 PM

All right! I'm almost all set up; I'm home from work, dial-up is dialed up, and any second now my little brother will save his game of Beautiful Katamari so I can put on the CBC and spend an hour and a half enjoying myself more than anybody should.

5:33 PM

Hoo, damn. It might just be this TV, but Peter Mansbridge is looking orange today. Mansbridge must be some kinda wizard to get a tan that deep in the middle of October.

5:35 PM

Boy, the advertised 'pomp and pageantry' of the Governor General's entrance is... kind of underwhelming. Clearly she thinks so too, because she's looking pretty bored; then again, I'd imagine she has other things on her mind.

5:36 PM




5:40 PM

Damn, the Guard Commander has two swords? That's awesome! If any invading army forgets their guns at home and attacks our country exclusively with fists and short knives, we will be ready! (And two swords means double the attack power!)

Ha ha ha ha ha Mansbridge has already whipped out the CGI calendar to show the two most likely election dates. Awesome.

5:44 PM

Oh, boy, Coyne and Hebert. Is this honestly what I tuned in for? And are we sure they aren't actually fraternal twins who were mistakenly split up at birth?

5:48 PM

. . . what the hell is going on with the collar on Chantale Hebert's shirt? Did she actually dress herself this morning? I wish I had a screencap of this, because I don't think anybody would believe me if I tried to describe it.


Uh-oh, eighteen minutes in and we've already heard the first mention of the likelihood of Dion stepping down if anything goes wrong. That can't be good for him.

Nice shot of the external stone heads; I don't know why Red Arremer is right next to the King of Clubs, but architecture was funny back in the day.

5:50 PM

Does anybody else ever want to see somebody get clocked upside the head by the ceremonial Black Rod? Wouldn't that be awesome? Or am I alone on this one?

And if that's the Usher of the Black Rod who'll be running the messages back and forth all night, shouldn't they give the guy comfier shoes? Or give the position to somebody who looks less than seventy years old?

'Terry Christopher', Mansbridge announces as his name; he looks like Mr. Green from Clue, but that might still be me fixating on the idea of him cracking some skulls with his ebony cane.

And now we get to watch him walk through the building for a while! HE'LL BE FACING THE SAMOAN BULLDOZER UMAGA THAT MATCH IS NEXT

5:54 PM

(Knock three times on the ceiling if you waaa--)

I was previously unaware that the French for 'Governor General' is, in fact, 'Governor General'. Well, that'll learn me.

This may sound odd coming from a guy who got a Double Honours in History and Political Studies, but -- what's with the pointy triangle hats and the ornate ribbon bows on the backs of suits? Is this how we have to dress to keep being friends with the Queen?

6:02 PM

Oh, god, I would have felt so bad for the Usher if he'd gotten lost. But that wouldn't have stopped me from laughing too hard to type anymore.

Aww, we'll have to wait until tomorrow to hear Dion's reaction? Not cool, guys. Well, maybe they'll cut to him during the speech and get a good shot of him grimacing his Muppet grimace or something. And wow, everybody's speculating on how long he might last as leader. Somebody should get a pool going.

6:03 PM

Speech starts.

Nice shot of the token woman included in the military delegation. Long preamble about our military history and reputation to start.

Ever notice how many statements in this thing are half-truths and straight-up lies? Like when they say "Our society is a caring society, committed to the welfare of our Aboriginal peoples" and you almost nod and gloss it over before you doubletake?

6:10 PM

Aww, the Arctic, here we go. Let's see what's up here.

Canadians see the North as a symbol of our boundless potential and imagination? Really, now? Most of us don't just associate it with the word 'cold' and with Farley Mowat eating mice?

A promise is made to put a "world-class research station" up in the Arctic, which they briefly pretend will do important environmental research before giving up and admitting that it would only be there to made seabed maps that favour us and not them foreigners.

6:12 PM

"Canada is back as a credible player on the international stage." Sure, and I can transform myself into a My Little Pony just by thinking about it really hard.

If you're wondering how we'll return to prominence as a credible player on the international stage, it'll happen through... modernizing the reserve registration system? Er. Sure!

The notion is put forward that Canada should stay in Afghanistan until 2011, and that a Parliamentary vote should be held by February 2009; how likely are we to actually have a sitting parliament during that time?

6:18 PM

Of course you realize that they know they can promise whatever they want about Haiti because nobody will ever call them on it. Haiti captures the passion and imagination of the Canadian public about as well as Bryan McCabe defended the net in overtime last night. (Yeah, that's right! Ice burn! Suck it, McCabe!)

6:22 PM

Ha ha ha they still want to try and democratize the Senate. Good luck with that, guys. Clearly the average Canadian clamors for major governmental changes like these, which is why we dumped the Queen back in 1997 and declared Bert Raccoon our new symbolic ruling figure.

6:27 PM

Ah, there are the anticipated tax cut announcements. Nobody acts surprised.

What's funny is immediately after that the speech promises to beef up infrastructure nationwide and improve the social safety nets for families and homeless people; I can't wait to see how we build towards these goals by specifically taking in less money than before.

6:30 PM

Wow, the Conservatives are still going to keep pushing for the end of the CWB? What part of any of this went so right for them over the past couple of years that they want to keep trying?

I waS keen on hearing more about this, but the speech jumped immediately and haphazardly to aboriginal employment opportunities up north; I'm really starting to notice that this speech isn't written all that well. I mean, it's really all over the place. There's precious little cohesion to be found, and if I'd handed in something this scattershot my professors would have been justified in shooting me.

6:33 PM

"Jack Layton tells CBC News he will not support the speech." Well, that didn't take long! No surprise, of course, but still -- wouldn't you at least bother to stick around and hear the whole thing? Does anybody stay in their seat to hear the whole thing?

6:37 PM

"It is now widely understood that (...) Canada's emissions cannot be brought down to the levels within the Kyoto Protocol". Oh, snap! No you di-in't!

6:40 PM

See, now they just jumped straight from talking about environmental regulation to talking about Chinese imports. Weak segue, you guys. Who edited this thing? Is she reading this off the cocktail napkins they scribbled the speech on this morning?

6:42 PM

The speech finally ends; Mansbridge clocks the speech at thirty-nine minutes, which--hey, that does match my clock! Good to know I'm keeping up to date on these things.

Interview with Duceppe; the first words out of his mouth are "I cannot support this speech". Duceppe says pretty much everything you would expect, but he does make a good point -- not a lot was actually said about what actions are actually going to be taken about things. And he immediately shoots down the platform for federal-provincial relations, which is kind of funny because it was specifically supposed to appeal to Quebec.

6:45 PM

Interview with Layton immediately afterwards; Layton says pretty much everything you would expect, too. I like his quick soundbyte that "Harper is taking this country in entirely the wrong direction"; not a lot of ambiguity in that one!

"We're the only party that has voted against the government on every confidence vote so far." Yeah, Jack, but you kind of don't count. That's like me boasting I've never voted for the Bloc Quebecois.

6:48 PM

Oh, boy, Ignatieff. Yeah, now my night is complete.

He just tried to form some metaphor about a menu at a restaurant, but I seriously -- I'm not being cute with this -- I genuinely had no idea what he was talking about, because he trailed off halfway through it and only phrased it properly when he returned to it at the end of his interview.

Wow, you know what? Ignatieff is actually pretty brutal on the mic. How did we not notice this before? With his strained monotone and his long pauses to stop for a tense shrug, Ignatieff is only seconds away from actually being a Eugene Levy character. He's certainly got the eyebrows for it.

6:52 PM




God, I love Don Newman. "Mapping Arctic waters is not going to drive Canadians to the polls." True enough.

6:57 PM

Hey, wait a minute! Where the hell is Rex Murphy in all of this? I could have sworn they promised me Rex Murphy when I caught him on Newsworld last night. Dang, that's disappointing.

7:00 PM

Peter outlines what's next on the networks, signs off, and that's that. Dang. No Rex Murphy fix.

Well, that's the speech; we have to wait and see what amendments the Liberals pledge, and for that matter we'll have to wait to even get any comments out of Dion about the speech at all. Way to show leadership, dude. Going mute for twelve to twenty-four hours in the face of something you might disagree with doesn't exactly scream 'confident go-getter'.

There was enough inflammatory phrasing in this evening's speech that I can't imagine the Liberals playing along with it; I suspect they'll probably try and amend just about everything, which almost defeats the purpose of proposing amendments at all. that

Ignatieff is now sucking up all the screen time on Newsworld, and Dion remains nowhere to be seen; I don't know who benefits from the deputy leader conducting all the interviews while the actual leader plots behind the scenes, but let 'em have their fun.

I know much is made of the concept of election fatigue, but truthfully? I never get tired of elections, and given the nature of confidence motions (especially that all-encompassing crime bill; hoo, boy, that one won't float) we can never safely say that one isn't in the cards. We might have to have one of these things every six or nine months, until somebody finally does so badly that somebody else gets to run the show. I don't know about you, but I'll enjoy it!

Canadian politics! Whoo!


Keith said...

After seeing the highlights of the speech that's suppose to be highlighting our country's game plan. I'm more keen on paying attention to WTF is going on now.

What's with this arctic talk? Why was Kyoto a complete failure?

Anonymous said...

As usual, great liveblog of a generaly boring speech, and I really like Cdn politics and I'm saying that. I guess the event was fine, strange pomp and circumstance from people in old-timey hats is always oddly entertaining.

The GovGen should also be required to wear her bling at all times. In fact, all Order of Canada recipients should by law be required to wear that thing around their necks pimp-style everywhere they go.

Thanks for the Eugene Levy crack, its the best shot at Ignatief I've heard in a while.