When it comes to changing the proverbial channel, mid-term throne speeches typically are new paint on a pockmarked wall.
Wednesday's throne speech from Ottawa didn't disappoint in that aspect, offering plenty of brush strokes but little cover for what appears to be a tired, idea-strapped Conservative government.
Some of the proposals that Stephen Harper hopes to achieve in the final year-and-a-half of this mandate - if he sticks to the promise of waiting until 2015 before calling the next federal election - cover typical Tory talking points, like tariffs and balanced budgets.
Their attachment to both is a lot of smoke and mirrors, as earlier this year the government raised tariffs on a variety of foreign imports to the bane of Canadian consumers. And as far as balanced budgets are concerned, Prime Minister Harper's track record is looking more and more like Brian Mulroney's - not a flattering comparison.
But setting a new tone and providing a sketchy glimpse into the upcoming pearls from Parliament is what a throne speech is all about. And there seem to be some intriguing ideas, but little to get excited over.
While it's easy to endorse tougher cyberbullying legislation, more choice in cable channels and lower roaming charges for our cellphones - only in Canada? a pity - we can only wonder what items the Conservatives are bundling in with these promises that didn't make the Governor General's address.
The speech did, for a day at least, successfully muffle the ongoing woe that is the government's self-inflicted Senate scandal and the simmering debate over multiple pipeline decisions looming in our future. Stephen Harper is hoping that a few gimmicks keep Canadians from channel surfing come the next election.
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