Justin Trudeau’s first 100 days

From free-falling oil to terrorism, the Liberal government has already had its share of woes

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau gives his victory speech after Canada's federal election in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015.  Jim Young / Reuters

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau gives his victory speech after Canada’s federal election in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. Jim Young / Reuters

There have been times, as the Justin Trudeau era in Canadian politics approaches its 100th day, that the new Prime Minister has resembled Wile E. Coyote in the old Warner Brothers cartoons: two metres out from the edge of a cliff, eyes locked on a tantalizing prize just out of reach, suspended in mid-air, managing somehow not to falagl. Not yet.

That wee milestone, by the way, falls on Wednesday, Jan. 27: One hundred days since Trudeau’s Liberals won 184 seats in the election of Oct. 19, 2015, a victory that gave the Liberals a solid majority in the House of Commons. (If you count, instead, from the sunny November day when Trudeau and his cabinet strode up the highway to Rideau Hall to swear in the new government, then the 100-day mark won’t come until Feb. 12. But already some patterns have been set, so why wait?)

Related: Inside Trudeau’s ‘turbo-Zen’ army 

Like the cartoon coyote, Trudeau has had some luck defying gravity. He has so far had to face the House of Commons only briefly and without sustaining serious damage. Reviews by overseas observers of his early forays into international summitry have been good. Poll support for the Liberals is strong: 17 points ahead of the second-place Conservatives in a nationwide Nanos poll Jan. 14; 30 points up on the second-place NDP in a CROP poll of Quebecers.

But there is trouble all around. Canadian CF-18 fighters are in near-daily bombing runs against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria, even though Trudeau has said they should not be there. The Alberta economy is in its worst shape in a generation, dragging the value of the loonie and much of Canada’s economic health down with it. Trade deals and pipeline projects are causing conflict among people who would otherwise be natural Trudeau allies, like Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who supports the Energy East project, and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who wants it stopped.

Trudeau: ‘It’s about substance’

In Trudeau’s entourage, there is relief at a decent start, and the certainty that their luck won’t hold out forever.

“I think we underestimated the reserve of pent-up animosity, frustration, whatever you want to call it, with Mr. [Stephen] Harper,” one senior cabinet minister said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The tonal change alone has generated a lot of goodwill. You walk through the front door, if you’re the PM, instead of sneaking in the back. You come down the stairs, say hello to people. It won’t be eternal, it won’t work miracles, but people appreciate the difference.”

Events both planned and surprising last week showed the busy pace Trudeau continues to set for himself—and some of the storm clouds gathering around the government. At a Fairmont[UPDATE: The resort has not been a Fairmont property since 2012. Sorry for my mistake – pw] resort hotel in St. Andrews, N.B., Trudeau’s young and largely inexperienced cabinet wrapped up a three-day retreat devoted entirely to professional development. Sir Michael Barber, an international management consultant who served as chief adviser on delivery to former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair, led three days of seminars on “deliverology,” his term for a set of mechanisms designed to ensure that governments actually meet the goals they set for themselves.

Governments often frustrate their own supporters by talking about change without delivering any. Trudeau is determined not to do that. The St. Andrews retreat was boot camp.

On the first evening, Barber described his philosophy of government in general terms. The next day was devoted to workshops on three actual Trudeau priorities: greenhouse-gas reduction, infrastructure funding, and the celebrations surrounding the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017. Sitting at tables of five or six, ministers brainstormed objectives they wanted to reach in each area, mechanisms for reaching those goals, and ways to measure progress or the lack of it. On the third day, Barber discussed how ministers could incorporate these techniques into their own office and ministries.

But during a break from the brainstorming on Monday, Trudeau was reminded that the world doesn’t always wait for plans. Six Quebecers had been murdered in Burkina Faso by al-Qaeda terrorists. Trudeau telephoned their families, a day later than Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard had done. When the Prime Minister called Yves Richard, whose wife Maude Carrier was one of the victims, the conversation took a nasty turn. Speaking later to a radio host, Richard dismissed Trudeau’s condolences as “political babble” and bragged, “I hung up in his face, and it felt good.”

The next day Trudeau and a half-dozen cabinet ministers departed for the World Economic Forum in Davos. There would be beer and selfies with Bono and Kevin Spacey, and more staid meetings with top executives from Royal Dutch Shell, Microsoft, General Motors and Facebook. Did Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, give him the gears over threatening to pull those fighters out of Syria? Not the way Stoltenberg tells it. “Great meeting @JustinTrudeau,” he wrote on Twitter. “So many issues that we agree on, from security to the vital role of men as feminists.”

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gestures as he speaks during a panel"The Canadian Opportunity"at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016.  (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

While he was in Davos, Trudeau announced by news release that he was replacing his clerk of the Privy Council, the top civil servant in the bureaucracy. Janice Charette, who had held the job for barely 15 months, was out, without warning. Michael Wernick, a former deputy minister of Aboriginal affairs who had never met Trudeau before last Oct. 19, was the new guy. Wernick had some advance notice, sources say, but not a lot: he rushed off to attend the cabinet retreat in New Brunswick with the PM at the last minute.

Related: Because it’s 2016: Talking gender parity in Davos 

Is Wernick a placeholder while some handpicked successor is groomed? Maybe. Any clerk serves at the boss’s pleasure. Matthew Mendelsohn, a former provincial deputy minister from Ontario who is well-liked by the Trudeau crew, has moved to Ottawa to take up the “deliverology” role in the civil service that Michael Barber pioneered in the U.K. Some observers suspect he’ll be Trudeau’s real right hand when he’s ready. In the meantime, Wernick’s role has not been limited in time or scope. He has a mandate from the PM to make any changes he deems necessary as the bureaucracy revs into overdrive after a decade of uneasy doldrums under the Harper Conservatives.

The abrupt switch from Charette to Wernick has put noses out of joint among Parliament Hill lifers who are certain they know the proper form in such matters. In this, it resembles Trudeau’s astonishing decision, almost exactly two years earlier, to expel every senator from the Liberal caucus. Then as now, the people directly affected were not told of his plan until he executed it. This is a Prime Minister who can deliver surprising change quickly, at least within a kilometre of the Peace Tower.

He will soon need to expand his blast radius. “So far we’ve basically been implementing fairly non-controversial parts of our platform,” the senior cabinet minister said. “There’s been no internal debate.” But politics will come crashing back, “and the budget will probably be the cold shower.”

The big problem is the utter—and apparently sustained—collapse of resource revenues. Its effects are felt in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Saskatchewan, but its epicentre is Alberta. Trudeau sent Gerald Butts, his principal secretary and most trusted factotum, to Calgary and Edmonton two weeks ago to gauge the scale of the damage. Butts met with senior oil and gas executives. He visited Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s chief of staff, Brian Topp, and the province’s top bureaucrat, Richard Dicerni. And he met with social service agencies, including the YWCA, to estimate the human cost of layoffs that already outnumber the worst of the job losses after the 2008 market crash.

Related reading: Life at $20 a barrel

Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaks during an announcement in Ottawa, Monday, December 7, 2015. Adrian Wyld/CP

Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaks during an announcement in Ottawa, Monday, December 7, 2015. Adrian Wyld/CP

Trudeau’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau was also in Alberta at the same time, harvesting an impressive number of bad reviews in the opinion columns of Edmonton and Calgary newspapers for public comments that said nearly nothing about a federal plan to address the calamity in Alberta. But Morneau is new to politics, and one would be wise to put more stock in his presence than his remarks. The March budget is quickly turning into a massive first-aid kit for Canada’s resource-producing regions.

“We’ve got to come up with an infrastructure policy that’s a vote of confidence in the future of the Alberta economy,” one Trudeau adviser said. “All budgets are tricky communications exercises. But in this case we’ve got to communicate the opportunity that’s available to us and the confidence we have in the future of the economy—while responding to a very grave situation in commodity-producing provinces.”

To tee up the budget, Trudeau and several ministers will transform a little-noticed West Coast clean-technology conference into a domestic sequel to Davos. The Globe Series conferences, devoted to environmentally friendly businesses, have been happening in Vancouver every two years for a quarter-century. The Harper government came close to ignoring them. Trudeau, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, and Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains will head a large federal delegation at this year’s Globe Series conference March 2-4. Several sources say Trudeau will also host a first ministers meeting in Vancouver during the conference. The goal is to showcase government initiatives in innovation and the environment, and frankly to rely on a lot of visiting global talent to help determine what those initiatives should be.

Beyond that, Trudeau is considering a Team Canada trade mission to China and India, an echo of his predecessor Jean Chrétien’s frequent trips to both destinations, and a sign of renewed focus on emerging markets.

And he will keep working through the ramifications of decisions he has already made. Kicking all those senators out of the Liberal caucus means there is no government representative in Parliament’s upper house. The Liberals have offered to send a cabinet minister from the House of Commons into the Senate, once a week, to take questions from senators on government policy. It’s procedurally tricky—the Senate would have to sit as a “committee of the whole” to welcome this outsider in their midst—but such hurdles will very soon be the least of Trudeau’s problems.

Lester Pearson. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Lester Pearson. (Winnipeg Free Press)

The practice of counting out from election day to an arbitrary deadline was invented, and immediately doomed, by advisers to Lester Pearson when he led the Liberal opposition in 1963. Pearson’s opponent, the Progressive Conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, had earned a reputation as a ditherer, especially on whether Canada should arm with nuclear warheads in the depths of the Cold War.

Somebody suggested Pearson promise “sixty days of decision.” He did, and he won.

Pearson’s problem was that he was not much better at deciding things than Diefenbaker was, and his sixty days were a mess. On the 59th day his finance minister, Walter Gordon, submitted his resignation. (Pearson declined to accept it.)

In his memoirs, Pearson recounts that a year after his sixty days were up, he welcomed the British prime minister, Harold Wilson, for lunch at 24 Sussex Drive. The big fancy promises had only gotten him in trouble, Pearson lamented. Wilson “disagreed,” Pearson wrote.

“He pointed out that you can make no decisions unless you are the government and that it was, as he saw it, our unqualified, confident stand that won the election for us. Present difficulties, he asserted, were a small price to pay.”

Trudeau resisted the urge to put any timeline on his promises. As the trouble gets deeper and the headaches pile up, he will perhaps console himself with Wilson’s advice to Pearson: Win first. Worry later. This young Prime Minister has hundreds of days to worry ahead of him.


Justin Trudeau’s first 100 days

  1. It is a good benchmark.. 100 days.. Trudeau is losing ground daily and appears to misunderstand that in today’s political world, technology has made it impossible to take your time. The new general public want instant results like Junior enjoys offering selfies as instant point of memory for the moment. The wheels are starting to wobble. He has yet to make any decisions of real substance. As for the economy, its looking like 1981 again [ lived it] , the question is this his Dad running the country, or will he do better?

    • GA,

      any decisions made that require REAL substance, will not be made by Justin Trudeau. Justin may be the front man who makes the announcement, but like all of his stated policies to date, he didn’t come up with any of them himself.

      Trudeau is just the useful idiot carrying the Party banner.

      • So who are these unnamed decision-makers? We know in Harper’s case it was oil executives, and he was their public ventriloquist dummy. Who takes this role for Trudeau, I’m curious…

    • Ah is it just me or does Justin appear to be a real person or an extremely advanced hybrid mechanical clone ? His eyes and body language kind of betray an eerie scenario of politician-bots sent here to distract us from the simple fact that human governments can’t even solve the basic issue’s like, poverty, crime, injustice, etc. Look closely at Rona too. I tell you the first clue is their hair….very distracting ! I’ve got a funny feeling Justin and Rona are going to shed their skin and pull out some ray guns and do a Mars Attacks barbecue in Question Period…

    • Really, you want a government that makes every decision instantly? Spur of the moment stuff? No thought about consequences of careless actions?
      And I do wish people would get over the selfies meme. It is so tired. Anyway, it’s not Trudeau taking selfies, it’s other people wanting to take selfies with Trudeau.

  2. Paul Notes:

    “Trudeau sent Gerald Butts, his principal secretary and most trusted factotum, to Calgary and Edmonton two weeks ago to gauge the scale of the damage. Butts met with senior oil and gas executives.”

    yes, the same Gerry Butts who spent most of his life opposing the development of any natural resources, and has opposed every pipeline when he was with the Sierra club.

    I don’t think Gerry is going to be in much of a hurry to help out the oil industry.

    • Harper put on the dark shades and cranked up the tunes while he floored the gas pedal (almost literally) driving the economy off into a pretty big ditch. It will take a bit more than just tromping on the pedal some more to get things back on track. Certainly, measures to increase the flow of fossil fuels into an already oversupplied market are to no avail – unless one believes the old saying ‘we lose money on every unit but we make up for it with volume’; the future is not so bright either with Iran soon to come online, Turkey to increase exports of Russian oil and Saudi Arabia abdicating the role of defacto regulator of supply. Alberta will not be a 100 day or even 700 day fix: one curiosity is not how little advantage Alberta took of boom times nor that they continue to build their most expensive real estate in a flood-way but that they let their agricultural economy go to pot. Once again, Harper should get a nod, having ramped up rail transport of fossil fuels at the expense of agricultural products. According to Rona Ambrose, top Libs should be spending all of their time in Alberta but she too should go there to apologize for the mess the CPC created.

  3. The biggest accomplishments Trudeau made in the first 100 days in office was, not having any scandals, that in it self is an accomplishment from the previous government, and second, Trudeau has taken the country off of Caffeine, and finally put it on Valium, cooling his jets and not driving the public nuts about terror attacks and division, the rest is all inside the bubble that most of the MSM will continue to squawk about for the next 4 years. It took 9 years and scandal after scandal to put a chink in Harpers Amour, and a whole lot of division between the country to put the cherry on the cake. I suggest to some of the MSM, take a valium, or even a toke eventually when it becomes legal and enjoy the ride. In the meantime with all the flip flopping that’s presently taking place in the conservative party, maybe there could be an implosion going on inside the party, but the MSM are too busy going after Trudeau.

    • Just to add, Trudeau is driving the conservative establishment NUTZ! Now that is a story.

    • Going after Trudeau? This piece was one big comforting head pat to the Trudeau government, telling them they’re beautiful and talented and everything is going to be OK.

    • You seem to be reading only a select reports. Not sure what your definition of scandal is but given you say it was scandal after scandal the previous 9 years it must be fairly loose. Seamus O’Regan’s behaviour would probably be considered scandalous just to mention one. I imagine a bit of digging would find a lot more. :)

    • You’ve got to be kidding!! All the man child has done in his first hundred days is take hundreds of selfies. Have you noticed when he has prepared something to say he sounds like O’Toole delivering Hamlet and when he has to speak off the cuff, he can’t get more than two words out without saying “ah”. If he fulfills all of the financial promises he made during the campaign, and has added to since, Greece will look like a financially well run country compared to Canada. And if he’s anywhere as good as his father, we’ll be back to mortgage rates of 18%-that was Pierre’s only legacy.

      • Actually Jerome, Trudeau hasn’t taken any selfies, not one. It’s other people taking selfies with Trudeau.

  4. I realize that everything written by Wells is obviously going to have some degree of left-wing bias and love for Trudeau but I just had to laugh when he notes,

    “Then as now, the people directly affected were not told of his plan until he executed it. This is a Prime Minister who can deliver surprising change quickly”

    So when it’s a top-down decision from Trudeau with no discussion with those affected, it demonstrates his ability to “deliver change quickly” and yet when a similar decision was passed down by Harper, it would have been criticized as an example of Harper’s dictatorial tendencies.

    I hope Wells is enjoying his honeymoon with Junior, I just am curious how long the love-fest will continue.

    • Wells likes to mock people who think they can detect bias in his writing, as though the suggestion of bias is on its face ridiculous. I’m not ready to make such an accusation yet, but if a year from now he’s still writing columns with the apparent central point of excusing every misstep of the Trudeau government, or explaining why the missteps are actually secret successes while making frequent pissy comments about the Harper years, then I won’t be so reserved.

      • Strange that several rather significant things that have occurred within this first 100 days received no mention whatsoever – the failure to meet the much ballyhooed refugee target, the continued sorties by Canadian CF-18s despite the fervent promise to withdraw them and the meeting of defense ministers Canada was excluded from. I guess Mr. Wells doesn’t consider these things as significant in assessing the Dauphin’s first 100 days as who he picked as Privy Council clerk or the guest speaker at his cabinet retreat.

        Another thing increasingly emerging about our Prime Celebrity, but not referenced in Mr. Wells piece, is his propensity for the high life. From the two nanny thing to the taxpayer paid Christmas trip to the ultra-lux Caribbean resort to the Davos hob-nobbing to the glossy fashion mag spreads, it’s becoming abundantly clear Trudeau the Lesser is especially enjoying the “perks” of office. That this hasn’t already become a defining characteristic of his tenure by a media that descended in hordes to cover the Duffy trial says much about said media.

        • Ah is it just me or does Justin appear to be a real person or an extremely advanced hybrid mechanical clone ? His eyes and body language kind of betray an eerie scenario of politician-bots sent here to distract us from the simple fact that human governments can’t even solve the basic issue’s like, poverty, crime, injustice, etc. Look closely at Rona too. I tell you the first clue is their hair….very distracting ! I’ve got a funny feeling Justin and Rona are going to shed their skin and pull out some ray guns and do a Mars Attacks barbecue in Question Period…

        • “Canadian CF-18 fighters are in near-daily bombing runs against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria, even though Trudeau has said they should not be there. ” This isn’t huge, I grant you, but it’s more than “no mention whatsoever.”

        • Taxpayers did not pay for his Christmas trip.

          • I presume you’re referring to his generous reimbursement of the fisc of the equivalent of economy air fares for his immediate family. Probably about 1% of the actual cost of he and his entourage.

          • You stated that we paid for the trip, and did not limit your comment to the fact that Trudeau had to take the government plane to the resort.

            Maybe try not to distort the facts.

            PS: Harper had to take the government plane when he flew too.

        • How is it distorting to assert taxpayers are paying when the PM and his retinue take a government jet for a little Caribbean down time? Did he dip into the trust fund his grandfather created by selling the demon fossil fuels and pay for everything himself? Sell the old man’s vintage mercedes that spews 10 times the carbon of a modern vehicle? Maybe Vogue paid for the whole thing.

          • It is distorting because you said we paid for the whole thing, when all we paid for was the plane. And there was no choice on that because he cannot fly commercial. Harper did the same.

    • Would you be so kind as to back up your assertion here?

      It would help if you could please find links to Wells criticizing Harper for all his decisions that created change.


  5. I am puzzled by stories of the Liberals popularity. On the street, in blogs and pretty much everywhere but the Toronto based national media there has been much concern about this government’s reckless spending and disregard for the economy. I believe an accurate, nation wide poll would show a drop in support since the election.

    • I think you mean “on blogs” only. People like us who read the comments sections of articles look for confirmation of our own beliefs and then *think* what we think is also “on the street” and “everywhere but the Toronto based national media”. (Wells is in Ottawa btw). The polls prove it. For non-politics-junkies, they don’t follow the minutiae of the government and are contented to await some decisions like what’s in the budget. Wait a week after budget day and then see what the distracted majority think…

    • You mean like this one, headlined “Justin Trudeau crushes Stephen Harper in new poll on Canadian PM’s popularity?” http://goo.gl/OOLpiO

      Hard to imagine his 57% approval rating has collapsed in the 10 days since this poll was released.

  6. Re Justin’s first 100 days: if I may: “never has so much been owed by so many………to just one guy with nice hair”.

    Do you still feel a tingle when he speaks.Mr.Wells?

  7. surely trudeau is more akin to the roadrunner that wile e. it is the conservatives that order from acme.

  8. It seems unlikely that during the election campaign anyone could have predicted many of the events of the last 100 days.

    Despite the advice from a few market gurus, the collapse of oil prices and the Canadian dollar weren’t on anyone’s near-term radar. But the likelihood that the federal finances had been somewhat misrepresented by the former government was, and the Trudeau team deserves credit for not pointing that out at every opportunity.

    There has been much criticism by journalists of issues like the timing of the withdrawal of our six CF-18’s which seems to totally ignore the inadvisability of providing ISIS with operational information, and press reports about how disappointed the allies are that they will be withdrawn seem to be more speculation than fact.

    As for stopping the Energy East project, Coderre is a crafty politician who is well experienced in the ways of federal politics, and it would make perfect sense to him to get national attention by appearing to be able to ‘stop’ the pipeline. He knows he can’t, but the national attention he got makes it more likely that he will get a good deal for his province.

    The first 100 days of press coverage of our new government has seemed to be more about speculation than facts, and has pretty much ignored the fact that after 9 years of being prevented and prohibited from questioning ministers and of getting talking points provided by kids in short pants in the PMO, reporters and journalists, including this one who said a few weeks ago that he got an interview with the PM that he wasn’t expecting, are now getting thoughtful and spontaneous answers to difficult questions. The answers may not satisfy the press, but with events unfolding at the rapid pace they are it seems disingenuous to expect specifics about hypotheticals.

    • “…are now getting thoughtful and spontaneous answers to difficult questions”

      There is not enough kleenex in my house to dry my eyes of the tears of laughter from this statement.

  9. Trudeau and the Liberal Government are soaring in all the polls and part of it may be just relief that the Harper government is no longer in power.

    This may be surprising to Conservative posters who have swarmed pretty well every comment section of the media and follow Conservative bloggers.
    All these posters had been predicting that Trudeau would fall on his face in the International arena. instead his turns on the international stage have been a triumph.
    These online posters and most of the Conservative media-which is most of the media in Canada-made much of selfies as though that is what it was about and despite our previous PM having traveled around with his very own video crew paid for by the tax payer-the ludicrous 24/7.

    • “All these posters had been predicting that Trudeau would fall on his face in the International arena. instead his turns on the international stage have been a triumph.”

      Triumph is too mild a word to describe the international furor over Justie – Leo! Bono! Frank Underwood! Plus there’s his exquisite wife, who I understand is being considered for the Super Bowl halftime show.

      • That is more or less the coverage by perhaps the Rebel-or the Sun-but there were important meetings, It was the coverage that was sometimes light weight especially for the sector of the press that pandered to those who only wanted to hear about selfies..

        And thankfully Trudeau did not drag around his own vanity video crew like Harper’s 24/7 or force anyone to listen to him sing a Beatles medley like the one Harper forced on his hosts on his overblown Israeli junket….It seems odd for Conservative fans to attack Mrs Trudeau in such a nasty way after we were all subject to these out of tune warblings of Mr Harper for years and also when there were plenty of reasons why the media could have taken a run at Mrs Harper-but they rightly refrained .

        • If, as you insist, Harper had a 24/7 film crew is belayed following him around, it is curious they don’t seem to have produced a frame of video for public consumption. Harper was many things, but an extrovert obsessed with documenting his life for public consumption was not one.

          As for there being “plenty of reasons” for the media to “take…a run at Mrs. Harper” – one will suffice. We won’t, however, hold our breath.

          • Harper had a web site called 24/7 that was regularly featuring material shot by his film crew – notoriously, he posted a video that showed the faces of soldiers that the regular press had been warned it would be illegal to show. Surely you remember that brouhaha…

          • Wow. Just wow.

  10. Oil prices collapse. The Canadian Dollars collapses. ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism running amok.
    Canada’s economy in grim condition.
    Trudeau’s number one concern— climate change and greenhouse gas emissions!!
    Of course Trudeau is not to blame, it’s all George W. Bush’s fault.
    Fasten your seat-belts. This is only a foreshadow of worse things to come.
    Justin is so clueless, he makes Barack Obama seem like Winston Churchill.

    • You forgot about the celebration in 2017. So much to look forward to.

    • Currency value and oil values aren’t concerns of the PM. He has no power over this and can do very little to change the international market. Canada’s economy isn’t in grim condition, unless you mean that the oil industry is having difficult times because of low oil prices: Once again it is not the PM’s job to intervene, the programs are already there for those who loose their jobs.

      • While you are correct in saying that the value of the loonie and the price of oil is beyond the PM’s control, the issue is that he does not appear to be overly concerned about the country’s looming economic crisis. Make no mistake, our economic prospects are grim and attracting foreign investment is a real problem. Trudeau’s answer to this was to spout off some fluffy nonsense on the world stage about the Canadian workforce being “diverse and resourceful” which was undoubtedly met with eye rolls and restrained giggles. This man seems to think that he can govern with platitudes and the rest will sort itself out, but we’re not talking about BSing your way through a 10th grade English paper, we’re talking about running a country.

    • Ms. Lipson;

      What precisely do you expect a Canadian PM to do about a global oil price collapse that is ultimately determined by global demand (which has been steadily decreasing as a result of eco-awareness) and global supply (which is experiencing a glut) ?

      And ISIS and terrorism are hardly Canada-only problems that should be at the forefront of a Canadian PM’s agenda. OTOH, the current govt has chosen to focus on alleviating some of the human suffering that has been a consequence of The Shrub’s trumped-up “war on terrorism” that the previous Liberal PM refused to get sucked into. How many $billion$ and hundreds of Canadian lives have been sacrificed to that cause in the past decade and how much of a dent has it really made ?

      As for the Canadian economy being in “grim condition” … I don’t suppose that would have anything to do with a decade’s-worth of the Harper govt’s focus of putting all of Canada’s economic eggs into the petro-tar basket despite the rest of the world looking to cleaner energy alternatives while at the same time, condemning Canada for trying to foist “dirty” oil onto the global market ? I didn’t see the Harper govt doing a damned thing to help world-class tech leaders like Nortel and RIM when they were in trouble.

      But all of the above are trivial concerns in the greater scheme of things.

      Oil prices and economic indicators are cyclical — there will be good times and bad times — always have been and always will be. One notes that the $CDN and the economy were in pretty darned good shape when the previous Liberal govt was in power– $CDN above par and the deficit under control . It was under the Harper Con govt that both of these headed for the dumpster.

      OTOH, climate change (and its driving engine GHGE) are threatening the very existence of large portions of life on the entire planet and irretrievably so — enough of a concern that ALL of the world’s major powers have seen fit to put their heads together and try to do something about it.

      But you would prefer that our PM focus on the little stuff like oil prices .

      I would venture it is the person that you see in the mirror who is the “clueless” one on these matters.

  11. Just one minor critique.

    It’s only 100 days since the election. It is not 100 days since Trudeau took office as PM, or even 100 days since he was sworn in as MP for Papineau in the new Parliament. 100 days “in office” should be the benchmark, should it not?

    • As if a few more days or weeks will make one iota of difference.

  12. Prime Minister Kubaya, in his first 100 days, has approved the sale of a big part of the Canadian Internet backbone to a US company (Allstream), and approved the sale to an American company of Canadian aerospace/satellite company Com Dev.

    So one major technology company gone, and our Internet privacy to the Americans in the first 100 days.

    I wonder if he did it to get that State Dinner at the Whitehouse.

  13. Gave away $2.65 Billion to third world dictators…..aaaah…that’s all I got.

  14. Trudeau at least deserves some sympathy for having to listen to Rona Ambrose’s shrill dramatics during question period.

    The senate could be a problem: Trudeau somehow bought the notion that the senate should be an independent body for sober second thought while Harper had developed it into a mere appendage of the PMO even selecting senators on the basis of their ability to represent PMO (not even CPC) policy. Even now, the CPC is planning to use a senate majority to make up for the fact that they are a parliamentary minority – part of a long held conservative value that too much democracy is a bad thing. How Trudeau will stick-handle around this obstruction remains to be seen though one suspects that like his dad he might be good in the corners.

    • It’s not just a “long held conservative value”. The Liberal opposition used it’s majority in the Senate to try to block the introduction of the GST by the Mulroney PC government.


      As well “Liberal senators in 1988 blocked the free-trade agreement between Canada and the United States from passage, forcing Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to call an election on the issue.” Quote taken from below link.


      As long as there is a Senate that can be (ab)used by a non-government party, it will be (ab)used – doesn’t matter if it’s the CPC (PC) or LPC.

  15. Thanks for this article it provides good context for a rather arbitrary 100 day window. The lessons of previous PMs like Pearson and Chrétien may have helped but probably not as much as the lessons of his father. From the collective open swearing in to Rideau hall to his recent trips abroad I feel it is Justin that is the teacher. The action of the government appear measured so far. However It is the budget that will be the real test.
    As a public servant I am encouraged by the tone taken by the government in negotiations, its recent introduction of legislation to repeal labour unfriendly bills, and overall assertion of fact based decision making, Bill C377’s challenge in the UN called into question Canada’s international commitments. For me, the assurance provided by moving to repealing this act and the additional suspension of the punitive aspects of the Bill before Christmas reinforce hope we will be able to meet out international commitments. Similarly the repeal of court challenged division 20 of Bill C59 to remove collective agreement rights related to sick leave negotiations greatly improves the tone of collective bargaining.
    I look forward to a government that decides based on evidence that is both factual and reliable.
    I don’t discount the missteps so far but on the whole I am optimistic and much more motivated than I have been in a long while.

  16. I once held Paul Wells in high estimation. I stopped my McLean’s subscription and stopped contributing to its panel in 2011/2. To me, and as much I have enjoyed Paul’s Skype chats with fellow journalists, I always saw in him the poise of the Canadian political reporter – this applies as well to Andrew Coyne who too decided to stay from poise to bias. Paul’s performance at the Monk centre debate got me and I trust others thinking about his allegiance to the poised reporting. In this article – and more so the quoted closing remark – shows utter bias to Mr. Trudeau and his government who to date failed to deliver anything of value to the electorate. I truly feel betrayed!

  17. So, this ‘government’ has done something right? Do tell….

  18. We ought to give Trudeau advice and guideline showing the right path with constructing analysis and criticism rather than hounding him. This right path perceived by some may or may not be the right one under the circumstances faced by him or his cabinet.

  19. Perhaps Justin should watch Judge Judy,Uh is not an answer. He uses this far to often in his comments and sounds like he doesn’t know what he is talking about..

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