At Home: Will Harper’s throne speech lead to an election?
In the few remaining hours before the Conservative throne speech on Tuesday, the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Québécois announced that they would not support the Conservatives? objectives for the 29th Canadian Parliament.
Immediately following the speech, in footage taken by CTV Newsnet, Members of Parliament in both parties further punctuated this initial statement amidst discussion that the Parliament could only persevere with the support of the Liberal Party.
While there was no shortage of NDP, Bloc Québécois, and Liberal Party members for the press to speak with, it seemed that the Conservatives had all abandoned Parliament Hill directly after the throne speech was delivered by Governor General Michaëlle Jean, solely to avoid giving their support or critique to Harper’s objectives.
The Conservatives are focusing on five priorities for the next term in Parliament: cutting GST, creating an accountable government, guaranteeing patient wait times in hospitals, childcare allowance, and what has been termed an ?omnibus? crime-tackling scheme. The speech also mentioned that Harper will seek to extend the mission in Afghanistan until 2011 based upon the outcome of a vote.
In all, critics from each of the Opposition parties have been accusing Harper of generalizations in his plans for government, and arguing that no specific targets have been laid out. They also claim that key Opposition objectives have been ignored, such as the campaign (backed by the Bloc) to salvage Kyoto protocols and the NDP’s call to end the Canadian mission in Afghanistan.
In the weeks running up to the throne speech, Liberal Party leader Stéphane Dion had made clear his position concerning the vote of confidence, and that was to support the minority Parliament and keep Canadians from an election. Yesterday a posting on the Liberal Party of Canada’s official website showed that Dion and his party intended to do just that:
Canadians can count on the Official Opposition to do everything it can to make this Parliament work. To that end, we will not make the government fall on its Throne Speech, which would cause a third general election in four years?something Canadians have clearly shown they do not want.
On the strength of full or Liberal support, the vote of confidence will succeed and Harper will continue as the head of his minority Conservative government. Whether or not the notably distraught Party can present an entirely united front on this matter remains to be seen.
In Foreign News: Blackbeard’s cannon claimed to have been found in North Carolina waters
It’s one of those stories that we all actually enjoyed hearing in history class: the strength and courage of Blackbeard the pirate, doomed by his own bravado into wrecking his ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, in the Beaufort Inlet in June of 1718. For anyone interested in the fate of this famous ship, it might be important to note that a cannon that is hoped to be from the Queen Anne’s Revenge has been excavated from waters near Beaufort, North Carolina.
Archaeologists have been exploring the Beaufort Inlet waters intensively for several months now looking for clues to the life of the pirate whose real name was Edward Teach, but scientists have scavenged the waters for the last ten years with this in mind.
With this cannon being dragged from the waters, cleaned, and thoroughly analyzed, however, researchers and pirate enthusiasts alike are thrilled anew at the prospect of dredging up even more valuable items from the maritime dig site.
It remains to be seen whether or not this cannon actually belonged to the Queen Anne’s Revenge or had any relationship whatsoever to Blackbeard. However, given the context of many other finds in the area–cannons, guns, and crude weapons designed to shred sails–archaeologists are upbeat about the prospect of this being directly related to the famous pirate and his last battle. The cannon is on display at the North Carolina Maritime Museum.