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From the Throne
What is a Speech from the Throne?
This section will examine the following topics:
- The purpose of a Throne Speech
- Quick facts on a Throne Speech
Purpose of a Throne Speech
Every year the Governor General of Canada gives a speech from the throne.
The speech's purpose is to outline the government’s main objectives for
the following year and beyond. The Throne Speech is just a sketch of government
objectives. It does not always provide details or particular policies
and programs for accomplishing these objectives. Further, it is not binding
and the government does not always follow through on the promises that
it makes in the Throne Speech.
Quick Facts on a Throne Speech
- The Throne Speech is delivered from the Senate chamber in the Canadian
Parliament buildings in Ottawa. The throne speech must be delivered
in the Senate because the Governor General and Senators are not allowed
to enter the House of Commons.
- While it is the Governor General (the Queen’s representative) who
gives the speech, it is actually written by the Prime Minister of Canada.
- It is called the Speech from the Throne because the Governor General
delivers it while seated on a throne of oak and scarlet velour.
- Prior to the Throne Speech, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod
enters the House of Commons and requests the presence of the Members
of Parliament (MP's) in the Senate chamber. The Usher (accompanied by
the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons and the parliamentary mace)
then leads the MP's to the front entrance of the Senate Chamber.
- During the Throne Speech, MPs do not enter the Senate chamber proper.
Instead, they listen to the speech at the front the Senate's front entrance.
The Prime Minister is the only MP in the Senate chamber proper during
- When the Throne Speech is finished, opposition party MP's give interviews
(or scrums) in which they criticize the speech and the government’s