What Trudeau says his government has achieved in 2017 so far, annotated

What Trudeau says his government has achieved in 2017 so far, annotated

From the politics of marijuana, to moving beyond talk on First Nations, big policy challenges remain

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Wednesday, April 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Wednesday, April 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Let’s take a look at what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his Liberal majority government got done in the first half of 2017. The quotes here are from Trudeau’s statement, released this afternoon as MPs headed home for Parliament’s summer break, and the brief comments provide links to stories, columns and expert analysis:

“Between February and June, I signed agreements with the leaders of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Assembly of First Nations, and the Métis National Council, establishing a process to advance shared priorities for Inuit, First Nations, and the Métis Nation.”

Agreements are  fine, but measurable progress is another matter. Critics like University of Victoria professors Rob Gillezeau and Jeffrey Ansloos point, for example, to the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s analysis that shows the federal government may not have allocated enough money to fulfill the Liberals’ key 2015 election promise to eliminate the gap between federal spending on First Nations students and kids attending provincially funded schools.

“In February, I welcomed the European Parliament’s approval of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union.”

The deal with Europe is an accomplishment, but hardly one the Liberals can claim as all their own. After all, the deal was mainly hammered out by the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper, who finalized an agreement in principal in 2013 and finished negotiations in 2014. What was left last year for then-trade minister Chrystia Freeland (before Trudeau promoted her to foreign minister) was coaxing the Europeans over the final, odd, obstacle of Wallonian resistance.

“In March, Minister [Bill] Morneau tabled one of the most forward-looking budgets in Canada’s history. With its strong focus on innovation and skills, Budget 2017 prepares Canadians for the changing economy and secures Canada’s place as a hub of innovation.”

It’s hard to guess how much Morneau’s second budget might fuel future Canadian prosperity. His long-term funding for innovative “superclusters,” his controversial Canada Infrastructure Bank plan—these and more Budget ’17 measures are decidedly long-term. No wonder Trudeau tends to highlight far more prominently the 2016 budget’s modest middle-bracket tax cut and big parental benefits boost. But can those measures resonate all the way to the 2019 election?

“In April, we introduced a bill to legalize, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis no later than July 2018.”

The legal and social importance of Trudeau’s marijuana policy is huge. But what about the politics of this landmark legislation? Trudeau’s approach is to highlight the get-tough parts, especially making it a separate crime to sell weed to kids. How will Canadian voters compute the Liberal stance? Is it possible to somehow cast legalizing marijuana as a pillar of a stern, law-and-order campaign message?

“On June 6, Minister Freeland outlined a new foreign policy for Canada, and underscored our commitment to a rules-based international order, progressive trade policies, gender equality, and fighting climate change.”

It’s perhaps a stretch to characterize Freeland’s speech to the House, although important, as a whole new foreign policy. In effect, she framed familiar Canadian policies in a dramatic new light: the sudden decline in U.S. leadership on the world stage under President Donald Trump—not that she mentioned his name. Still, Freeland’s rhetoric counterbalanced the Trudeau government’s assiduous courting of Trump’s inner circle.

“Minister [Harjit] Sajjan unveiled Canada’s new defence policy, which establishes a credible, realistic, and funded strategy for our military and, most importantly, will deliver the standard of service and care our women and men in uniform deserve.”

After laying out the plan to buy many new fighter jets, lots of new naval ships, and even drones, the defence minister’s policy can’t be faulted for lacking ambition. It extends to a whole whole new approach to countering threats from space and bolstering cyber security. But the question is about money. Sajjan’s plan calls for an additional $615 million to be spent in 2017-18, ramping up to $2.3 billion more in 2021-23. In other words, the big money will all come after the 2019 election. And politics, played against the state of the economy, has a way of deferring defence priorities.

“Earlier this week, Minister [Ralph] Goodale tabled legislation to create a new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and introduce changes to Bill C-51, which will strengthen security and better protect Canadians’ rights.”

Writing for Maclean’s, law professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach called Goodale’s Bill C-59 “the biggest overhaul in Canadian national security since the creation of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) in 1984.” Forcese and Roach were prominent critics of the Harper-era anti-terrorism law Goodale set out to reform, and they said he “gets a lot of things right.” In other words, Trudeau most seasoned minister let Liberals MPs head out for the summer break on a positive note.



What Trudeau says his government has achieved in 2017 so far, annotated

  1. The government hasn’t solved all Native issues that have been bedevilling us for our entire history so it is a failure. The government hasn’t purchased all ships, planes, hasn’t found the money to make defence spending 2% of GDP (where did that stupid number come from anyway?) so it is a failure. Signed a trade deal with Europe but big deal someone else did all the work anyway. The Government lays out a comprehensive approach to international relations in an effort to get us off this ad hoc, whimsy that has characterised our international dealings over the last 30 years and pfft – any idiot could do that in an afternoon – where’s the beef? The government announces long term plans on infrastructure banks and immediate changes to marijuana laws and yeah, big deal – how will that help them win the next election, says Geddes. Good grief. The day Geddes gets a job in government where he tries to reconcile all the competing priorities, is the day I will take his views seriously. This analysis is seriously ignorant stuff.

  2. Just another attempt at self-aggrandizement.

  3. No mention of achieving significantly higher deficits than promised.

  4. To all the cackling coming out of the Ottawa press bubble, this past week, and yes, you too CBC and CTV, about Trudeau and all the his inconsistencies of his first 2 years in government, and comparing him to Harper, need to give your heads a shake. The MSM will never take a PM down as long as you criticize him or her for the shortcomings in their vision for the country, charisma and popularity will always put these kind of stories and blogs you write, on the back pages of your papers, or in the far corner of videos to look at on your news site, Harper never had a character like this guy, he is using the the old adage that has worked for years, he is killing the world with kindness and making Canada look like a nation of inclusiveness, Trudeau has already filled a legacy before he even finishes his first term, he made our country look human again in the eyes of the world, instead of a pariah. He has advanced women’s issues in this country like no other politicians in today’s history, he has advanced gay rights everywhere he goes, these are still just small steps but important steps. Trudeau is now trying to advance Indigenous peoples rights back in the country and re-engage United nations to help bring back the rights of these people, now you MSM tell me, Where would the CPC and the Harper government be today on these issues, back to 1867, of course, so before the MSM label Trudeau as Harper, take a look at the difference in the each others character when it come to compassion and understanding for our own people, and i know its still all a work in progress, it is a start, that will also have road bumps, but lets see. I give Trudeau an ‘A’, especially for his compassion of our people, I am still pissed Trudeau hasn’t dropped the price of paying to get a pardon in this country(731 bones), the levy that Harper laid on people who may have went off track in early years of their lives, who were not criminals, but made a mistake, the ones that Harper labeled as CRIMINALS for ever, now if he can get this fixed up, he would have passed all the stuff that i elected him for, Trudeau even reversed the rocking chair retirement(Old age). He still gets an A, the kid stays in the picture.

    • I don’t see our country going into the tank yet, and until that happens, crowds won’t take to the streets to have this guy removed, no matter how much the MSM would like open a wound in the Trudeau brand, remember Obama went flat in the polls during his tenure, but left as one of the most popular presidents in american history, so wait for history to unfold, then judge.

  5. I give Justin an A+. His natural selfie ability and speed at which he’s able to lighten the treasuries load of cash…and send it to locations around the world. His legacy is assured. Watch for fun times when Parliament resumes. Sheer should be able to hold his own. Justin provides him with plenty of ammunition.