After seeing Al Jazeera's Canada’s COVID-19 recovery plan to dominate Trudeau throne speech

Justin Trudeau is set to unveil ‘broad’ plan that includes healthcare and job support when Parliament resumes Wednesday.

I found About the Speech from the Throne which says:

About the Speech from the Throne

The Speech from the Throne opens every new session of Parliament. The Speech introduces the government’s direction and goals, and outlines how it will work to achieve them. The Senate and the House of Commons cannot conduct public business until Canada’s Head of State or their representative reads the Speech.

Traditionally, the Governor General reads the Speech as The Queen’s representative in Canada. In 1957 and 1977, The Queen was in Canada and chose to read the Speech herself. It is called the Speech from the Throne because the Governor General reads the Speech from the seat—or the throne—in the Senate Chamber reserved for The Queen or her representative in Canada.

Members of the House of Commons, senators, Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, and other invited guests attend the reading of the Speech.

and then checked Speech from the Throne includes (embeds) a video of the speech from 2019 and also says:

On December 5th, 2019, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, delivered the Speech from the Throne to open the 43rd session of Parliament and outline the Government’s agenda.

who is indeed seated on a throne, with Trudeau beside, and the YouTube page links to a transcript: Moving Forward Together but a cursory reading finds no reference to the queen.


Does the speech reflect in any way more than traditionally or symbolically that the Governor General is speaking for the queen or at least reflecting in some way the views of the queen? Does this symbolize any real agreement or coordination between the queen as head of state, and the prime minister and governor general of Canada?

  • 1
    I'm afraid I also read your question as implying that you believe Trudeau himself will be the one to read the speech. One the face of it, @SJuan76's answer seems entirely right to me.
    – Dan Scally
    Sep 23 '20 at 8:06
  • @DanScally ya I wrote this but I grant that the title of the question is suboptimal I can't change it now though without SJuan76's permission. Until then, the title might be a frozen down-vote attractor
    – uhoh
    Sep 23 '20 at 8:14
  • This asnswer current sidesteps what #2 asks about, which is the "coordination between the queen as head of state, and the prime minister and governor general of Canada Hopefully someone will answer that. I can't edit the question and if I ask separately it will be duped.
    – uhoh
    Sep 23 '20 at 8:20
  • 1
    The Wikipedia article on this subject, in the section "Commonwealth realms" may answer parts of this question. In particular, one of the links from that article has an FAQ relating specifically to Canada, though the practice is very similar in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Sep 23 '20 at 8:34
  • 3
    @uhoh As far as I'm aware, it is stated bluntly. For example, with regard to the UK, here's the BBC's take on it ("It is written by ministers but delivered by the Queen"), and the UK government itself ("Although the Queen delivers the Speech, the content is written by the government and approved by the Cabinet"). Sep 23 '20 at 8:52

In Canada as in other UK-style governments, the Queen is the nominal head of state and all government is done in her name. However the actual decisions are taken by the elected government, headed by the Prime Minister. The Queen is constitutionally obliged to follow the policies of her elected government. In Canada specifically the Governor General acts as the Queen's representative.

The Throne Speech sets out the agenda of the government for the forthcoming session of parliament. As such its content is entirely dictated by the elected government. The Governor General, who gives the speech, is obliged to set out the policies the government decides. It is possible that the GG may have some small contribution as to the style or the exact wording, but fundamentally the content of the speech is decided by the government. An examination of past speeches will show that the phraseology reflects that of government statements rather than Governor General speeches.

The Queen makes no contribution to the speech, although if she were to be reading the speech (as has happened occasionally) she might have similar input as the GG.

  • 1
    I come from a faraway land ruled by small bird that tweets edicts electronically, this method looks better; thank you for your illuminating answer and assistance! :-)
    – uhoh
    Sep 23 '20 at 14:47

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