A letter to Prime Minister Trudeau

Dear PM

The Right Hon. Justin Trudeau
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

Congratulations on your win and the historic outcome of the October 19 federal election.

I was extremely pleased to see voter turnout increase so dramatically and for Canadians to choose so clearly a more hopeful and caring future while rejecting the Harper agenda.

During the election, the Council of Canadians put forward issues dear to the hearts of our over 100,000 supporters – such as challenging trade deals that put profits before people, exposing the drinking water crisis in First Nations communities, condemning the assault on civil society and charities, fighting climate change and pipelines, and highlighting the need to protect and strengthen our public health care system.

And now, just as you have rightly stated that it is the role of journalists to ask difficult questions of government, our role as a civil society organization is to hold your government accountable to your promises of a new way of doing things and a more open and democratic government.

We look forward to your government fulfilling its promises to hold a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, negotiate a new Health Accord with the provinces, institute electoral reform and fix the “Fair” Elections Act, end the war on charities, repeal anti-union legislation, repeal parts of Bill C-51, welcome more refugees to Canada, protect the Great Lakes, and ban oil tankers off the West Coast, among others.

You also have a clear mandate from the Canadian people for swift and meaningful action on climate change at the Paris climate talks this December. This includes both fully committing to a 100 per cent clean economy by 2050 and not approving any new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction and emissions for decades to come.

There will be other areas where we may not agree.

That is likely to include trade, where your government has been supportive of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its European counterpart, CETA, both of which contain the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism that allows corporations to sue governments for environmental regulations or other policies that reduce their profits; water, where you have expressed support for expensive and undemocratic public-private partnerships for our water utilities; and climate, where you have been supportive of pipelines such as Energy East that would increase our greenhouse gas emissions.

I look forward to your Throne Speech on December 4 and to meetings with your ministers and MPs on key issues of concern to our supporters. Our commitment is to the common good and the public interest, and we welcome the hope that exists now of civility returning to the relationship between government and the people.

With hope and resolve,

Maude Barlow
National Chairperson
The Council of Canadians