Oct. 19 marked the one-year anniversary of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party coming into power and establishing a majority government. The Liberals were poised to push through and create the real change that they had promised throughout the election cycle, but did they actually take steps to accomplish it?
Trudeau arguably had one of the most progressive platforms of the 2015 federal election but some are finding that his first year has been lackluster in fulfilling their promises, as there have been mixed results on the campaigns that the government has pursued thus far in their tenure.
Social issues were a large portion of Trudeau’s platform. Trudeau, a self-proclaimed feminist, ran on a promise of gender parity within his cabinet. After being elected, he exercised the prime ministerial powers of appointing the cabinet by filling it with a 50/50 split between men and women.
The Liberals also made the promise that they would eliminate the discriminatory blood ban that excludes the LGBTQ community from donating blood. Since 2013, the restriction by Canadian Blood Services was that men who had had sex with other men could not give blood if they have had sexual contact with another man in the past five years.
Under Trudeau’s leadership, the requirements are now eased to only exclude those who have had sexual contact with another man within a period of one year. Some may see this as a great move by the Liberals, but in reality it is a half step at the very most. The fact is that this restriction is still highly discriminatory, which does not bode well for the first sitting Prime Minister to ever to attend a pride parade.
Perhaps one of the greatest sources of contention from the Liberal’s platform was that of the “modest” deficits. The theory behind Trudeau’s stance is that the investment into the economy would then, in return, pay back what was spent through the growth it would create.
The Liberals estimated the deficits to be less than $10 billion a year for the first three years. Post-election, the hysteria surrounding the issue died down but was heightened once again after the release of the federal budget.
The release reported that the budgetary balance is expected to show a deficit of $5.4 billion in 2015–16 and $29.4 billion in 2016–17. This suggests a deficit at least three times as big as promised during the election.
Lastly, of the three largest parties running in the federal election, the Liberals were the most vocal about the legalization of marijuana. In September 2015, Trudeau vocalized the stance of he and his party, saying, “The Liberal Party is committed to legalizing and regulating marijuana.”
Since the election, the most movement we have seen has been the commission that Bill Blair — the parliamentary secretary to Trudeau’s justice minister — is leading to determine the direction for weed in Canada.
The issue with this is that the timeline is very loose. Meanwhile, the issues of criminalized pot continues. In fact, the New Democratic Party leader Tom Mulcair has constantly grilled Prime Minister Trudeau on the lack of action and on not immediately decriminalizing.
Trudeau has the ability to be very productive in the House of Commons as he is the head of the party, government and the cabinet all while having a majority of the seats. Trudeau has not capitalized on his opportunities as much as some progressives would like, seemingly taking small steps on issues that are seen to need bold or complete steps.
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