Speech from the Throne explained, from the garter to the toga

Speech from the Thr & ocirc; ne explained & eacute ;, de la garteri & egrave; re

MISE & Agrave; DAY

OTTAWA | The 44 e Parliament was able to kick off this week with the Speech from the Throne, a bombastic ceremony straight out of Westminster without which the House of Commons cannot begin its activities. In the National Assembly of Quebec, it is called the opening speech, because monarchical customs have been partially purged. But at the federal level, we remain very attached to the British tradition. The Journal presents you a small guide to decode this event repeated almost identically for centuries. & nbsp;

The Governor General

Governor General Mary Simon is the representative of the Queen of England in Canada, who remains our Head of State. The Prime Minister is the head of government. The Deputy Queen reads the government's Speech from the Throne. This is a digest of the government's objectives for the parliamentary session that begins. The sovereign's representative is only invited to include introductory remarks. & Nbsp;

The necklace

The Governor General wears the collar of the Chancellor of the Order of Canada around her neck, recognizing the service of Canadians who have changed the face of the country. Ms. Simon was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1992 and was promoted to the rank of Officer in 2006. She was recently invested with the title of Extraordinary Companion of the Order. & Nbsp;

The Senate

The Speech from the Throne has been read in the Senate Chamber since Canada became a country in 1867. It is read in the Senate because the Sovereign does not have the right to enter the House of Commons. In February 2019, the Senate temporarily moved to the Senate Building, a former train station dating from 1912, pending renovation of its permanent location, the Center Block, which is expected to last at least 10 years. & Nbsp;


The Queen's Representative and her husband, Whit Fraser, sit on Senate thrones made from walnut, part of which comes from a tree in Queen Elizabeth II's Great Windsor Park. These thrones symbolize the presence of the monarch in the upper chamber. They are adorned with maple leaves, the monogram of Queen Elizabeth II, the lion forming part of the coat of arms of Canada, and the fleurs-de-lis and rose, symbols of the Ancien Régime of New France and the English Regime. . & nbsp;

The bailiff

The Usher of the Black Rod, now John Gregory Peters, was until 1997 referred to as the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, which has earned the office lots of jokes and caricatures. Her name had to be changed when Mary C. McLaren became the first woman to play this role. Disappeared in Quebec since 1968, this function originated in England in the mid-14th century with the creation of the Order of the Garter. Originally, his role was to guide the knights on parades and to keep the door closed when their order of women's undergarment met, hence his name “usher” which comes from medieval Latin “ussarius”, c 'that is to say “porter”. & nbsp;

The bailiff's outfit

He wears a black frock coat, black knee-length breeches, silk stockings, black shoes with silver buckles, a sword in a black scabbard, a tricorn hat very fashionable in the 18th century, a wig bag. hanged on the back and his staff in his right hand. & nbsp; & nbsp;

The staff

His cock measuring about three feet was originally made of ebony. But, a sign of less prosperous times, it was replaced by yellow birch painted black in 1967, then by black rosewood in 1976. It is the symbol of the royal authority conferred on it by its role as personal servant and Queen's Messenger to Parliament. The head of the staff is adorned with an 18-karat gold lion, emblem of English royalty. The lion holds a shield surmounted by a crown. The whole is surrounded by a garter bearing the motto of this prestigious order below: “Honi be it who badly thinks about it”. & Nbsp;

The judge

< p>This character is not Santa Claus, but Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner in formal attire: a scarlet gown trimmed with Canadian white mink. When he sits at court, he wears a black silk robe. Here he represents the judiciary. & Nbsp;

The procession

The usher leads the deputies to the Senate Chamber to listen to the speech. Due to the ongoing renovations, they had to travel by electric minibus to cover the two street corners that separate the parliament from the temporary Senate building. The usher then escorts them back to the House of Commons where their first task is to respond to the speech. & Nbsp;

The Speaker of the Senate

The Usher kicks off the ceremony by guiding the Speaker of the Senate, George J. Furey, into the Upper House. The Speaker of the Senate then orders him to go to the House of Commons to summon the Members of Parliament. & Nbsp;

In numbers & nbsp; & nbsp;

    < li dir = "auto"> 150 Speeches from the Throne since Confederation in 1867 & nbsp;
  • 2 were read by the Queen of England
  • 854 words on average in the first 10 speeches, compared to 6,781 in 2020 and 3,200 in 2021 & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp;

The Chamber of the Commons & nbsp;

Traditionally, members of Parliament are not welcoming to the man with the rod. They prevent her from entering the House of Commons by shutting the door in her face to signify their independence from the sovereign. The usher knocks on the door of the House of Commons three times with the base of his staff to convey his message. He must clearly identify himself for MPs to accept him, since in 1631 King Charles I stormed into the Commons in London with 400 men. There, he arrested five deputies who considered him a tyrant traitor to the nation, because he particularly wanted to raise taxes to increase his own income. & Nbsp;

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