Yesterday's Speech from the Throne matched expectations as the focus was unsurprisingly on the Conservatives' five priorities. There were, however, several noteworthy inclusions and omissions.
While there was no specific mention of copyright and the WIPO Treaties, Howard rightly points out that speech did say that "significant treaties will be submitted for votes in Parliament." What does that mean? My guess is that it means whatever you want it to mean. If you've been lobbying furiously to move forward on WIPO, you likely think that it foreshadows new copyright legislation. If you're opposed to WIPO-like reforms, you note that the context for this commitment came within the discussion of the role of parliamentarians. That reinforces that MPs, not trade negotiators, ultimately decide Canadian policy. Regardless, although it certainly opens the door to a future statute, it is a far cry from prior Throne Speeches that included more specific commitments.
It is also worth noting what was not included in the speech. The speech specifically mentions three statutes that will face parliamentary review this year. PIPEDA is not among them, despite the fact that there is a mandated review scheduled for the fall. This suggests that the privacy law review may not be a particular priority. Moreover, there is no mention of anti-spam legislation or lawful access, which could have been included within the law and order initiative nor of telecom reform, which could have been referenced under the pledge to "promote a more competitive, more productive economy."
All in all, the most important sentences may well be "the Government's clear and focused agenda reflects its commitment to Canadians. It will not try to do all things at once." It confirms that there are lots of issues that will take a back seat until the stated priorities are addressed.