Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday January 10, 2018
Some questions for Mr. Trudeau
Later Wednesday morning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau drops by McMaster University for the second in a series of town hall meetings. It’s the sort of thing Trudeau is good at. His charisma, empathy and accessible style stand him in good stead.
The Liberals under Trudeau continue to enjoy strong support. The latest Nanos Research has the Liberals at 40.9 per cent, the Conservatives at 30.7, the NDP at 19.5 and the Greens at 4.8. Even more impressive is that 45.6 per cent of respondents prefer Trudeau as PM, compared to Conservative Andrew Scheer (20.3 per cent) and Jagmeet Singh (9 per cent). Even after the Aga Khan holiday scandal, Bill Morneau’s travails and numerous broken promises, Trudeau enjoys a level of support most politicians would envy.
Journalists don’t get to ask questions of the PM at today’s event. But here are some we’d like to see him answer. Feel free to borrow.
Entitlement: Trudeau, and his Finance Minister Bill Morneau, are seen by a growing number of Canadians as elitist and privileged. They owe no apologies for their accidents of birth. But even though measures like the child tax credit are unquestionably helping middle class families, there is a sense that Trudeau, especially, is more of a tourist in the lives of working class Canadians. How can the PM assure working Canadians that he is truly in their corner when he doesn’t have the life experience?
Pensions: Stories, many of them heartbreaking, continue to pour in about the hardships being experienced by Sears Canada retirees who have seen incomes cut and benefits lost. U.S. Steel retirees are still in limbo and at risk. Why won’t Trudeau commit to rewriting obsolete bankruptcy protection legislation to give pensioners more clout?
Democratic reform: Trudeau promised electoral reform but broke that promise and now says he thinks a proportional representation system would be “damaging to our stability, to our electoral system.” How can that be? How did reform go from being needed to being a threat? And are we stuck with the status quo forever?
Poverty: The government deserves credit for its $40 billion national housing strategy. But why does the investment not kick in until after the next election? Even more seriously, where is the government’s promised plan to fight poverty, promised in 2016? In his mandate letter, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos was given this direction: ‘Lead the development of a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy that would set targets to reduce poverty and measure and publicly report on our progress, in collaboration with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. Our strategy will align with and support existing provincial and municipal poverty reduction strategies.’ Nice words, but where’s the action to back them up?
If Trudeau could give credible answers to even two of these four questions, he’d offer assurance to the growing number of Canadians who fear his leadership is long on style and charisma, but short on substance. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)