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Five epic fails by the Trudeau government

Just 15 months after they took office, the Trudeau government has failed in key areas of concern to us:

1- The Trudeau government has aggressively pushed for the ratification of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and has refused to formally withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), despite studies that show the deals would mean job loss and greater income inequality, both factors that have fueled the racist right and Donald Trump’s election win in the United States.

2- Rather than providing the funding needed for public health care through a 6 per cent escalator provision, the Trudeau government is banking on a 3 to 3.5 per cent increase in health care spending in 2017-18, basically the approach the Harper government had previously taken, meaning a cut of nearly $1.1 billion a year in federal payments to the provinces and a worsening of the risk of more privatization in the system.

3- Instead of responding to the crisis of climate change and moving toward a renewable energy future, the Trudeau government has approved the Enbridge Line 3 and Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipelines as well as backed the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, meaning 2.48 million barrels per day of export capacity and a massive expansion of the tar sands.

4- Rather than taking immediate action to protect the 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers delisted by the Harper government when it gutted the Navigable Waters Protection Act and omitted pipelines and powerlines from this oversight, the Trudeau government has dragged its feet with an online consultation and report process and in the meantime approved the 890,000 barrel per day TransMountain pipeline that would cross more than 1,300 waterways.

5- Breaking a key promise that could have meant an electoral system that would have been fairer, more democratic and more representative of the popular vote, the Trudeau government wasted time and money with public consultations and undertook a widely criticized survey to make the argument that there wasn’t popular support for a voting system that would have cost them their false majority in the House of Commons.

There are numerous other disappointments that could be listed – from adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples but failing to commit to its key provision of free, prior and informed consent; withdrawing CF-18s from Iraq and Syria, but leaving behind aircraft that help refuel the fighter-bombers from other countries; promoting public-private partnerships with global investment banks through its federal infrastructure bank; to approving two water-intensive and carbon-emitting liquefied natural gas terminals, not phasing out fossil fuel subsidies as promised, and extending a licence for deepwater oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

On the evening of the October 19, 2015 federal election, The Council of Canadians stated that it would acknowledge the positive policy moves by the new government and be critical of its actions that we disagreed with. Following ten years of Conservative government, we had hoped the Liberal scorecard would be on balance better.

A recent Nanos poll shows that Liberal current ballot support has slipped below 40 per cent, and we should be concerned that support for the Conservatives has now climbed into the 30 per cent range. It has been suggested we are only one election away from a Trump-like government in Canada given the Conservatives could choose Kellie Leitch or Kevin O’Leary as their new leader this May. The failures of the Liberal government and the cynicism that comes with Trudeau breaking key election promises runs the risk of pushing the voting public in a dangerous direction.

The next federal election will take place on October 21, 2019.

For the real change the Council of Canadians believes in, please read Maude Barlow’s vision for 2017.