Lofty promises are falling short
By Greg Waldock, Staff Writer
I’ll admit, I voted for NDP this election. I figured Mulcair’s luxurious beard would bring facial hair back into Canadian politics. Despite this, I wasn’t too disappointed when Justin Trudeau ended up winning the majority. It was a heavily anti-Harper election and everyone on the left won by that metric. And like a lot of Orange voters, I eventually settled down and became more okay with a Trudeau government, especially after his cabinet selections. However, the honeymoon period wore off and now he has to be judged by his own merit, not by Harper’s. It’s been a bit of a letdown so far.
Electoral reform was one of Trudeau’s loudest promises in his campaign. It seemed noble and self-sacrificial: under a proportional representation system, the Liberals would almost certainly lose their majority. They claimed to stick with the idea of it being for the greater good of Canadians. But now, major Liberal party members are openly backing away from the idea, and Trudeau himself has been nearly silent on it. This was one of the first major disappointments for people who voted for him as an anti-Harper, and it doesn’t look like it’ll ever become a major issue in Parliament under his leadership.
There are other points of disappointment, though. He lost a lot of support after First Nations groups called on him to make decisive and practical action to improve the quality of life in reservations, to allow First Nations more autonomy, and to tackle the prejudices still present in Canadian politics and society. He’s approached almost none of these issues. A few legitimately good cabinet choices, a few small words about the Highway of Tears, and more funding for the Truth and Reconciliation program that started under the Conservative government are the only real actions that have been taken. No real legislation on nepotism and financial mishandling on the part of chiefs, little humanitarian aid for Manitoba reserves, and most significantly for us in British Columbia, not fully respecting First Nations here about pipelines and reserves.
The pipelines have been big for years, and finally reached some sort of conclusion just last week. Northern Gateway was shut down, but the Trans Mountain twinning will continue as planned. That very week, Justin gave a personal and surprisingly glowing statement about Fidel Castro’s death. Coupled together, these statements have made the end of November the worst time for his reputation so far.
Fortunately, he has years to improve and fulfill at least some of his promises. Unfortunately, he’s looking like yet another career politician with a government unprepared for the storm of radical right wing politics blowing in from the south.