Canada’s Ready for Liberal Leadership at Last
Voter apathy within the youth vote has been rampant for a long time in Canada but it’s great to see a political awakening that’s been taking place slowly due to the information access provided by the internet. There absolutely is systemic corruption within the halls of our government and moreover voters are choosing between a lesser of the two evils (or in this case 3). However not voting and allowing the misinformed to be tricked into voting for the political ideology that is not currently favored will slowly stack up regression. Progressive ideas are needed now more than ever at the forefront of our politics to refresh the political conversation with modern ideas rather than continuing to defend stale ones.
The 2015 Canadian Federal Election is a pivotal point in Canada’s history and it’s about time to get the ship back on course. There’s a time for conservatism, and that’s when everything is going great and the Nation is prosperous. However during critical upcoming times, many crucial challenges will arise that must be met with ambitious goals. Austerity is a growing concern, and it is time for some progressive ideas to manifest in some real world change rather than stagnating as a society like Canada was doomed to under Harper. Change is here my friends, don’t be scared of it, embrace it.
As encouraging as a Liberal majority is, I personally voted NDP; Simply because of Mulcair’s more aggressive stance against Bill C-51, as well as the TPP. Since voting I’ve learned more about JT’s nuanced positions on these issues, and gained more confidence in Trudeau’s stances towards them. Tom Mulcair only wanted to decriminalize cannabis unlike JT’s goal of legalization, but realistically that’s not the biggest priority concerning Canada (as a whole) at the moment.
An ideal outcome would have been 4 years of an NDP lead Federal Government, to eliminate the 2-party dog and pony show that’s continued to spin the county’s wheels without getting traction. So that the future would at least be a 3 way battle of ideas, rather than 2 polar opposites that settle on a middle ground for every debate. The Liberals tend to pander to the Conservatives too often rather than digging their heels in the sand and remaining in defense of their proposals. With the NDP thrown into the mix, the left will now have a louder voice, with more influence and fight back against the right wing. I would have liked to see the next few elections unfold with a short 4 year NDP lead government, followed by 8 years of Liberals at the helm. Then eventually changing back to the Conservatives for a short term of 4 years; continuing afterwards to revert back to the left by following it up with an 8 year NDP majority.
The Transition to a Liberal Government
Clearly most Canadians including many moderate Conservatives have come to realize Harper has overstayed his welcome at the helm of the country. Aside from some positive criminal justice reforms, he has not delivered on what he had promised (Although that may be a good thing in regards to some of his views on social issues). Harper scrapped plans for a national daycare program that was initiated by Paul Martin. He never reigned in the overly generous spending towards corporate subsidies. As any Conservative would, he has lowered tax burden in the cases of the childcare benefit and tax cuts to parents with children which is definitely an accomplishment, but as many Conservatives are also infamous for not recognizing the benefit of well developed social programs paid for by taxes which also lighten burdens on families.
However, after eight straight accidental deficits, attacks against Canadian rights and liberties, disregard for the environment, as well as a streak of grotesque security measures his administration has forced upon uninterested Canadians. Even his base is starting to question the direction his leadership is taking us. On top of that, he is the only Canadian Prime Minister to be found in contempt of Parliament, which happened in 2011 after his government refused to release costs of certain programs.
Nevertheless, many polls heading into the election showed a tight race between the Liberals and Conservatives. However, the end result was Harper being blown out of the water by a Liberal Majority. Canadians are clearly done with the regression brought upon by the Conservatives and proved that with record turnouts. Harper and his Cons were rightfully terrified of the youth vote as there was a 71% bump in voter turn out in advanced polls, compared to 2011. On top of the decrease in voter apathy amongst youth there were record turn outs of indigenous voters; Harper’s mortal enemies. Stephen, the tribe has awoken, and now they have spoken. You’ve been voted off the island.
The Immediate Changes & Long Term Agenda
During Canada’s transition to a Liberal majority government, here are some things to take into consideration in terms of what kind of changes will come to Canada, as well as what the long term future for the country may look like. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government pledges to immediately make child care benefits larger and even tax free for those with a total family income under C$150,000 annually. They intend to have corporate taxes remain the same and not increased to keep industry competitive (The NDP would have raised these taxes). Many small businesses will be paying less in taxes to aid innovative entrepreneur’s way entrance into the marketplace. The GST will remain the same.
The Party has also doubled down on their pledge towards battling climate change by prognosticating progressive ideas and plans of action for combating Canada’s, as well as the worldwide contribution of carbon emissions. Protecting the environment is an imminent concern of the Liberal party and they plan to help lead the way to a sustainable future.
While there are fair reasons why Trudeau would not yet raise corporate tax, it would be encouraging to see Canadian citizens eventually apply pressure on the Liberal party to raise it after the promised 3 year C$10 billion annual budget deficit they plan to run, in an effort to stimulate the economy with things such as investing in infrastructure and manufacturing. After the economy has seen growth, increasing corporate tax would be a viable option rather than cutting social programs in order to balance the budget. Furthermore, the Liberal party plans to repeal income splitting.
A few other things the Liberal party immediately pushed for was to remove the ban that prohibits gay men from donating blood. As well as a motion to have medical marijuana dispensaries placed in every major Canadian city in an effort to stimulate the economy.
The Liberal Party’s Promise of Transparency
In an interview with Peter Mansbridge just prior to the election, Trudeau made a shocking admission. In that he recognizes that his father, the former Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau was the one who “kicked off” the initiate to bring more power inwards to the Prime Minister’s office, absorbing it from other positions, in an effort to aggregate power. Trudeau pledges to be the one to reverse this trend in a 180 degree turn in the effort, to rather have a government that works in cooperation with the collective consciousness of Canada, rather than assimilating power and influence.
He feels it leads to a disconnection from the Provinces and Municipalities by taking things on as a small collective rather than a Nation working together towards prosperity. He would rather distribute power and influence among his MPs. Justin Trudeau proactively started a full disclosure assurance within the Liberal Party after becoming its leader two years ago. This way all expenses by his party would be posted online at Liberal.ca and other relevant government websites. Eventually, other parties followed suit in making statements, since the claims of non-transparency being a major criticism of the Conservatives has been a major talking point heading into the election. Even the Parliament of Canada started posting their expenses online.
During the Peter Mansbridge interview hosted by CBC, Mansbridge gave Trudeau a very straight forward series of questions about what the differences would be from the new government and the last Liberal party government. He asked him to convince Canadians that the Liberal party has changed, and not just its leader. Justin would go on to claim there was too much internal fighting and indecision over the new ideas and policies being formulated. This was followed by factioning within the party that lead to indifference amongst the party members. They lost sight of the fact that serving Canadians is the paramount description of their job’s responsibility. The Liberal leader believes they now have not only built an ambitious platform, but that they have also developed modern strategies to work communally and progress as a nation of leaders, rather than just a leader directing a Nation.
Record Numbers of Indigenous Votes
One of the major reasons for the success of the Liberal party was record numbers of First Nations voters. This is the 42nd Canadian election campaign and the 18th for the First Nations amidst the “freedom to vote era.” Many promises were made to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, this election season. This election has also seen the most indigenous candidates running for office as well as the most elected, a total of ten. There may even be the potential for more than one as a Cabinet Minister.
Trudeau’s major promises to First Nations thus far:
* Launch an official Nation-wide search for the missing and murdered First Nations women and girls.
* Provide sustainable access to clean drinking water for dozens of remote First Nations communities across Canada.
* To review all Harper-era legislation on First Nations and amend or repeal them accordingly to policy that is more favorable for indigenous people.
In regards to Justin Trudeau’s stance on Bill C-51, the security legislation that is widely criticized as “over the edge” and “derivative of unwarranted paranoia,” Trudeau had this to say:
“Mr. Harper wants us to be fearful that there might be a terrorist hiding behind any given tree. Mr. Mulcair wants us to be fearful for [losing] our rights and freedoms. I’ve said, no. We’re going to do these both together, and we’re going to do it in a responsible way.”
He went on to say:
“We’re in a very polarizing political context right now, but that shouldn’t prevent us from developing responsible, measured positions. And that’s exactly what it is. The Liberal party will protect security, and protect our freedoms at the same time.”
Furthermore in an interview with the Founder of Vice Media Shane Smith before the election Justin
Trudeau had this to say about balancing security measures while protecting civil liberties:
“There are measures that are going to keep Canadians safer in this piece of legislation, but it’s not the type of legislation we would have brought forward. We’re going to be proposing amendments, and in a few months from now, we will offer it in our election platform and we will fix it if we get elected.”
The Trans-Pacific Partnership
On the matter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trudeau takes the stance of wanting to thoroughly examine the TPP instead of throwing it out of the realm of possibility so quickly simply due to the hysteria surrounding the trade deal. Trudeau has consistently doubled down with reassurance that trading with foreign partners is a vital part of our economy and that he will takes steps to keep Canada relevant in the global trading markets. He has said that he wanted to be in the discussions regarding a major business deal that includes many allies and major trading markets, and that he will not disqualify the trade deal right away.
The Liberal party is essentially looking to remain cautious, but vigilant. They also seek to open up the debates, they are looking to engage Canadians and discuss their thoughts and opinions on the subject. At the very least this is encouraging compared to any stance the Conservative government planned on taking. The Libs want to hear out the pros and cons through a collective discussion including all those of whom it may affect. Trudeau has even called for a discussion of the subject in The House of Commons.
Trudeau does however dodge the question over his personal opinion on the bill as a whole as it currently stands by doubling down on the obvious sentiment that trade is a very important part of Canada’s economy. He continued by stating that as the future unfolds, Canada must act accordingly and responsibly to be successful combating new challenges the country faces now as well as in the long term.
Canada’s Redefined Role in the Battle Against Terrorism
The Liberal party will continue to aid the global community with efforts to deteriorate the threat that is ISIL, but at the same time wishes to redefine Canada’s role by going back to its humanitarian roots rather than attacking the threat outright with full scale interventionism. The Liberal party intends to take a more measured approach and take steps to help stabilize the region. Such as aiding and training of governments, and potentially even moderate rebel factions that are enemies of ISIL and are within close proximity of ISIL controlled territory.
Although Trudeau’s government does not believe Canadian boots on the ground is as necessary as media hysteria might lead one to believe and are acting upon that sentiment. The party will be discontinuing airstrikes in the Middle East and has already begun withdrawing their planes from the region. Canadian combat missions in Syria and Iraq are now over and they will be more focused on humanitarian causes as well as aiding their foreign allies. The Liberal party has pledged to bring 25,000 refugees into Canada by the end of the year (NDP 10,000 and CON 10,000 over 4 years).
Trudeau’s Liberal Party has made the following statement in regards to their aims of ending marijuana prohibition:
“We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana. Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent young people from using marijuana.”
Canada could not only set a precedent within legalization, they may help pave a way to making it easier for other countries eager to jump on that bandwagon, to follow suit. And in turn shift the consciousness of the global community on this issue that has been mishandled for far too long. The thing is, legalization is not just a matter of adjusting Canadian legislature, but it also brings into account several treaties which they would be in violation of if they were to legalize and regulate the industry. The United States are not currently in violation of these treaties since it is only legalized at the State level, and not the Federal level.
There is a global drug policy summit meeting amongst UN representatives upcoming in 2016 and if Canada legalizes cannabis before then; thus backing away from the Political Declaration on Global Drug Control agreed to at the UN General Assembly Special Sessions on drugs in 1998 at which member states signed on to. It may shake up the global climate on this issue. The meeting in 2016 was brought forward from the original set date in 2019, and this upcoming conference may lead to sparks of change on global drug policy. Another ‘pilot light’ looking to be set ablaze and help ignite that flame in the race to end cannabis prohibition is Mexico. On your mark, get set. Go!