UPDATE: Speech from the Throne delivered in Ottawa
The federal government says it will introduce legislation requiring balanced budgets during normal economic times, and ``concrete timelines'' for restoring balance after an economic crisis.
The measure is included in the speech from the throne being delivered today by Gov. Gen. David Johnston.
The government says it also intends to introduce a new cyberbullying law, ensure the most dangerous criminals remain behind bars for life, reduce wireless roaming costs and require television channels to be ``unbundled.''
The speech also says Canada ``will soon complete'' negotiations for a long-awaited comprehensive free-trade deal with the European Union, billed as having the potential to create some 80,000 new Canadian jobs.
The government is also promising to confer honorary Canadian citizenship on Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen and Nobel Peace Prize nominee who survived a Taliban attack on her school bus in October 2012.
Other measures include a plan to restrain government hiring, reform spending systems and ensure public service pay and benefits are ``reasonable, responsible and in the public interest.''
True to Conservative form, the speech also includes a number of tough-on-crime measures, including an end to automatic early release for serious repeat offenders and a pledge to ensure ``a life sentence means a sentence for life'' for the most dangerous criminals.
It also includes a promise to reach out to offer more support to homeless veterans and to build on existing programs to put veterans in good jobs. The government also says it intends to re-dedicate the National War Memorial to the memory of all who fought for the country _ a nod to Canadian soldiers killed in more recent missions, such as the war in Afghanistan.
The speech promises in vague terms to ``address the issue'' of missing and murdered aboriginal women, and to work with First Nations to develop more robust and accountable on-reserve education systems.
It also says Canadians will be allowed to take beer and spirits across provincial boundaries for personal use, something that's currently prohibited under the federal Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act.
Highlights from the throne speech delivered Wednesday by Gov. Gen. David Johnston:
_ Legislation coming to require balanced budgets during normal economic times and strict timelines for restoring balance in the event of an crisis.
_ Negotiations will soon be complete in a long-awaited comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union.
_ The overall federal operating budget will be frozen.
_ Government hiring will be restrained, spending systems will be reformed and public service pay and benefits will be ``reasonable, responsible and in the public interest.''
_ Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist who was targeted by the Taliban over her efforts to promote education for girls, will be given honorary Canadian citizenship.
_ Canadians will be permitted to take beer and spirits across provincial boundaries for personal consumption.
_ The government will take steps to reduce cell phone roaming costs and will require TV providers to unbundle channels to allow consumers to pick and choose.
_ The government says it will renew efforts to address the issue of murdered and missing aboriginal women.
_ New tough-on-crime legislation will ensure that the worst criminals serve sentences for life and will end the practice of automatic early release for serious, repeat offenders.
_ The government will get tougher on drug policy and ``close loopholes that allow for the feeding of addiction under the guise of treatment.''
_ The government will reach out to offer more support to homeless veterans and build on a program to put veterans in good jobs.
_ The National War Memorial will be re-dedicated to the memory of all who fought for the country.