Hopefully new PM can maintain momentum

I hope engagement and debate continues, but I worry that the adoration lavished on Justin Trudeau at this point will create disillusionment.

I’m as excited about our new prime minister as much as the next Canadian, but to be honest, the fawning over Justin Trudeau is making me embarrassed for you.

I went from intrigued to cringing when national media reported Trudeau getting mobbed by public service workers after a news conference from Foreign Affairs on U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to kill the Keystone pipeline. Cheering and selfies with the new prime minister naturally followed, as did booing of reporters who asked questions bureaucrats apparently didn’t like. The public service is supposed to be non-partisan, yet keeping up appearances was difficult that day.

Perhaps I’m just that cynical, waiting for the other shoe to drop on Trudeau. He can’t be that nice, can he? As a source in the Ottawa Citizen’s account of the event suggested, it’s early days – wait a few weeks to see if the euphoria continues. Because while Trudeau appointed a gender-balanced cabinet and re-instated the long-form census, a few stickier decisions are looming that will test the Trudeau government’s commitment to its election promises.

Case in point: electoral reform. Although the Liberal Party won with nearly 40 per cent of the popular vote, that still leaves more than half the population unrepresented in Ottawa. The Conservatives, who were so vilified by the left during the campaign, managed to score more than 30 per cent of the vote – a significant number of voters who wanted to choose Stephen Harper and his party for another four-year term. Like the left complained it was under-represented in Ottawa during a decade of Tory rule, so can the Conservatives have the right to lament relegation to the sidelines.

Trudeau promised electoral reform, to create a new way to fight elections that allows for broader representation among voters. Now that the Liberals are no longer facing a minority situation in the House of Commons, it remains to be seen whether Trudeau will give his opponents a greater opportunity to defeat his party in the future.

The challenge to act on electoral promises also hinges on dozens of factors other than simply will or ideology. After former U.S. vice-president Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth was released, the world was jumping on all sorts of bandwagons to reduce carbon footprints, invest in green energy and generally accept that humans were having a grave effect on Earth’s climate. Then the financial crisis of 2008 hit and citizens were more concerned with feeding their families and saving their mortgages than they were about electric vehicles.

Obama killed the Keystone pipeline, but Northern Gateway still remains a possibility, along with an increase in oil tankers on the West Coast. Environmental organizations believe Trudeau will not support an increase in tanker traffic and he did commit to cancelling Gateway. As Alberta, lately the country’s economic driver, continues to struggle amid cheap world oil prices, will the Liberals be able to stick to its environmental promises while people lose their homes and livelihoods? Perhaps the commitment to invest in green energy will fill the gap.

Canada’s 42nd election saw some of the highest engagement and debate among voters that I’ve covered in my nearly 14-year career as well as my 18 years as a voter. I hope that continues, but I worry that the adoration lavished on Trudeau at this point will create disillusionment if and when his government is unable to fulfill all 184 promises made during the election. Keeping those promises might not be in the best interest of the country in three years’ time. Governments must evolve, negotiate and compromise when it’s necessary. Hopefully Trudeau’s fan base understands that.

If you want to be part of the non-partisan team keeping track of Trudeau’s election promises, visit www.trudeametre.ca.


Just Posted

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Nanaimo is the first city in Canada to subscribe to the Chonolog environment photo-monitoring system, which allow residents to contribute photos of habitat restoration projects that are converted to time lapse sequences showing environmental changes. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)
Nanaimo residents invited to be citizen scientists by sharing habitat restoration photos

Nanaimo first city in Canada to sign up for Chronolog environment photo monitoring service

An event on the lawn of the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Tuesday to remember the 215 children whose remains were confirmed buried in unmarked graves outside a Kamloops residential school. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Canada’s racist systems cannot ever be forgiven

Teen letter writer from Nunavut calls for truth and reconciliation

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

A section of proposed Harbourfront Walkway between White Eagle Terrace and Battersea Road. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s proposed walkway extension project estimated at $25-30 million

City asking for feedback on concepts to connect Departure Bay Beach and ferry terminal

City of Nanaimo council has approved amendments for an animal control bylaw requested by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The bylaw includes language related to quail. (Wikipedia Commons photo)
Province asks for tweaks to Nanaimo’s animal responsibility bylaw

Ministry concerned bylaw wording could create municipal and provincial jurisdictional overlaps

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo hospital district seeks help from other districts for $1-billion project

Funding for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital patient tower discussed by committee

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Most Read