From the Ed­i­tor / L. Ian Mac­Don­ald

Policy - - In This Issue - From the Ed­i­tor / L. Ian Mac­Don­ald

Mid-Term Re­port Card

Wel­come to our special MidTerm Re­port Card on the Trudeau gov­ern­ment, two years since it as­sumed of­fice in Novem­ber 2015.

Look­ing back at the 2015 elec­tion, it’s clear that Justin Trudeau’s re­mark­able skills as a re­tail cam­paigner, and his per­sonal brand name recog­ni­tion, vaulted the Lib­er­als from a dis­tant third place in the House to a ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ment, an un­prece­dented achieve­ment. The Lib­er­als also came from a dis­tant third place in the cam­paign—an An­gus Reid In­sti­tute poll four weeks into the elec­tion at the end of Au­gust had the NDP lead­ing at 36 per cent, the Con­ser­va­tives at 32 per cent, with the Lib­er­als in third place at 23 per cent. On Oc­to­ber 19, elec­tion day, the Lib­er­als swept to power with 39.5 per cent, to 31.9 per cent for the Con­ser­va­tives and 19.7 per cent for the NDP. Two years on, a Reid poll in mid- Oc­to­ber found the Lib­er­als and Con­ser­va­tives in a 35-35 dead heat, with the NDP at 18 per cent— mi­nor­ity ter­ri­tory.

From the “Sunny Ways” he pro­claimed in quot­ing Sir Wil­frid Lau­rier on elec­tion night, Trudeau has dis­cov­ered that “to govern is to choose”, which means bro­ken prom­ises on ev­ery­thing from fis­cal frame­works to elec­toral re­form, dif­fi­cult choices be­tween en­ergy and the en­vi­ron­ment, and a re-brand­ing of Canadian for­eign and de­fence pol­icy, not to men­tion the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion agenda with In­dige­nous peo­ples, the re­newal of fed­eral-pro­vin­cial re­la­tions and the swirling con­tro­versy over small busi­ness tax re­form.

We’ve got it cov­ered.

We be­gin with Colin Robertson’s sur­vey of Trudeau’s prom­ise of a “con­struc­tive and com­pas­sion­ate” for­eign pol­icy of re-en­gage­ment on the world stage. “Canada is back,” Trudeau de­clared at the out­set of his gov­ern­ment. Robertson sees “a back to the fu­ture evo­ca­tion of Pear­so­nian for­eign pol­icy,” fol­lowed by a re-set in man­ag­ing Canada-U.S. re­la­tions and the NAFTA re-ne­go­ti­a­tion after the sur­prise elec­tion of Don­ald Trump to the White House last Novem­ber.

David Perry of the Canadian Global Af­fairs In­sti­tute pro­vides sur­gi­cal in­sights into the gov­ern­ment’s de­fence and pro­cure­ment poli­cies. On the whole, he finds the Lib­er­als are de­liv­er­ing on their cam­paign prom­ises, with peace­keep­ing de­ploy­ments a no­table ex­cep­tion.

Robin Sears con­sid­ers Mur­ray Sin­clair’s land­mark Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion re­port as a first step on the road to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with Canada’s In­dige­nous peo­ples. Ge­off Norquay writes that Pierre Trudeau’s ap­proach to man­ag­ing the fed­er­a­tion—first min­is­ters’ meet­ings—is back, a very dif­fer­ent way of run­ning fed-prov re­la­tions than the ex­ec­u­tive fed­er­al­ism pre­ferred by Stephen Harper.

The le­gal­iza­tion of marijuana was one prom­i­nent cam­paign prom­ise the Trudeau gov­ern­ment is in the process of keep­ing. Jaime Watt looks at a leg­isla­tive work in progress. Among bro­ken prom­ises is Trudeau’s cam­paign vow that the 2015 elec­tion would be “the last” un­der the first-past-the­p­ost sys­tem. NDP demo­cratic re­form critic Nathan Cullen of­fers a scathing re­view of the gov­ern­ment’s wrecked elec­toral re­form process.

Kevin Page, the for­mer Par­lia­men­tary Bud­get Of­fi­cer and now Pres­i­dent of the In­sti­tute of Fis­cal Stud­ies and Democ­racy, writes that there’s a dif- fer­ence be­tween cut­ting taxes and tax re­form. From the busi­ness com­mu­nity, Canadian Cham­ber of Com­merce Pres­i­dent Per­rin Beatty writes that any tax re­form must im­prove Canada’s com­pet­i­tive­ness in the global econ­omy.

Tom Ax­wor­thy leads off Canada and the World with an elo­quent trib­ute to Al­lan J. MacEachen, Mas­ter of the House, fa­ther of Medi­care and mas­ter­mind be­hind the Trudeau restora­tion in 1980.

NDP strate­gist Brad Lav­i­gne shares his thoughts on the ar­rival of Jag­meet Singh as the party’s new national leader, and sees him as a po­ten­tial game changer.

For­eign Af­fairs hand Jeremy Kins­man, a for­mer am­bas­sador to Rus­sia, looks at the 100th an­niver­sary of the Soviet rev­o­lu­tion and of­fers a pen­e­trat­ing anal­y­sis of its ef­fects to this day—from Lenin to Putin.

Our As­so­ciate Ed­i­tor Lisa Van Dusen con­sid­ers the Trump ef­fect, and the chal­lenges the mer­cu­rial pres­i­dent poses to Justin Trudeau and his gov­ern­ment in man­ag­ing Canada-U.S. re­la­tions.

With the hol­i­day sea­son fast ap­proach­ing, we of­fer four timely book re­views. Ge­off Norquay has high praise for Ed Whit­comb’s Ri­vals for Power, which ex­am­ines the con­tentious re­la­tion­ship be­tween Ottawa and the prov­inces. Su­san Dela­court en­joyed What Hap­pened, Hil­lary Clin­ton’s post-mortem on her failed bid for the White House. An­thony Wil­son-Smith was im­pressed with Wil­liam Taub­man’s Gor­bachev: His Life and Times, and fi­nally James Baxter’s favourite read of the sea­son was Al Franken: Gi­ant of the Se­nate.


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