Ten months into Trudeau’s mandate and the Prime Minister continues to be treated as a celebrity to be swooned over. There have been countless shirtless encounters and selfies this summer (all of which have made bold headlines) but in terms of policy or any sort of political content, there has not been a whole lot the media has reported on.
In the meantime, Canada has become the second largest arms dealer in the Middle East, promises on post-secondary education, Indigenous rights, electoral reform, stopping corporate cronyism, and marijuana legalization are on the back burner. Members of the Prime Minister’s office have even threatened journalists. Sometimes it seems that the only serious attempt to correct the damage that was done under the previous Conservative government has been to put a fresh coat of paint on the government’s public relations machine.
Progressives have to talk more about the political issues and how those responsible (i.e. our celebrity Prime Minister) are doing little, if anything at all, to help communities get back on their feet. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in order to restore the funding Harper’s Conservatives cut from women’s organizations, to address climate change, to preserve and restore the environment, to put funding back into public services, to reverse dangerous anti-union and anti-worker policies, to repeal the racists and xenophobic immigration agenda that Harper cemented … the list goes on.
Closer attention needs to be paid to the federal government. If not, more and more things will pass by without notice or consequence for those in power. Canadians wanted a different, more progressive government. What we have now is a prettier more hip version of regressive right-wing politics.
Trudeau smiles for cameras, happy to leave Harper policies in place
While Trudeau gives speeches telling workers and families that a new era in Ottawa is well underway, little of substance has changed.
The Trudeau government has:
- failed to remove Harper-appointees from Canada Post (nearly causing a strike) - done nothing to help Hamilton steelworkers still fighting for pensions they have spent their lives earning - enabled further abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker program - continued to deny employment insurance to millions of Canadians - refused to introduce a $15 federal minimum wage - proceeded with pushing through the devastating Trans-Pacific Partnership - failed to meaningfully include indigenous and locally affected communities when assessing the environmental impacts of pipelines and other infrastructure projects - happily sold millions of dollars in weapons to oppressive governments - continued to use Conservative Bill C-51 to spy on and violate the rights of Canadians
If Trudeau is serious about shifting the political landscape in Canada, these are just some of the places he should start – and it’s up to progressive Canadians and those in the labour movement to make him realize that the status quo just isn’t good enough.