We now know why Justin does this with his hands… and he does it a lot. It’s the sign for “I don’t know”. Believe me Canada, it’s true, this part time substitute teacher doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing.
For a few great months there was widespread euphoria among regular Canadians – a deep release of stress with knowing Harper the bad man was gone and a good man was in charge.
There were some early disappointments. The Liberals broke a promise to end the special tax treatment for CEO stock-option income. They approved a Conservative deal to ship $15 billion in armoured vehicles to the Saudis. Their “middle class tax cut” sounded like it would help you, but it turned out the biggest slice went to people earning from $89,000 to $200,000.
But early worries could be forgiven. They were missteps, perhaps beyond the young government’s control. Give them time.
Then came the lovely summer of self-content. A hot summer of parades and beach selfies celebrating the new national mood.
But now, since Labour Day – especially in the last two weeks – the nagging question is back. It’s now stronger, harder to ignore and daring to be said aloud.
Is Justin Trudeau going to betray us?
The worry isn’t a spending scandal in the Prime Minister’s Office or a Minister who may not be aware of where she was born.
The nagging worry is on the biggest issues that deeply matter to regular Canadians – climate change, health care, the economy. Justin Trudeau used to talk like an ally. He’s not acting like one.
Last week a former chair of the UN’s Climate Change Panel warned that last year’s Paris agreement is “absolutely inadequate, with the current pledges” to hold global warming to below 2C.
A recent report in the science journal Nature suggested our planet hasn’t been hotter in 120,000 years.
Yes, Harper’s carbon target – 622 megatons of emissions by 2020, down from about 750 mT in 2016 – isn’t enough. For our children and their children, Canada needs to be a climate leader, challenging other nations to work harder.
And it seemed the Liberals were our allies. Echoing these deep concerns, Liberal MPs used to attack Harper’s targets as “the weakest,” “catastrophic” and “inadequate.”
Yet two weeks ago, the Liberals adopted Harper’s targets as their own. Wow.
Then on health care. Many senior, young and working class Canadians have no health benefits. They rely on our universal health care system. So there was real worry when Harper announced a cut to the Canada Health Transfer formula and squeeze provincial health plans by $36 billion over the next decade.
And Liberal MPs seemed worried, too. They called Harper’s cut “unilateral,” “arbitrary,” “austerity,” “dictatorial” and one of his “attacks on our seniors and our most vulnerable.”
Yet last week, the Liberals adopted the Conservatives’ health care cut as their own. What happened?
They can’t fund health care. But they can fund a $3 billion a year tax cut with the biggest slice for people earning from $89,000 to $200,000 – their middle class. That’s just wrong.
There’s no plan for childcare or pharmacare to bring down high costs. No jobs plan for young and working class Canadians being left behind in this economy. No federal minimum wage boost for people who are really struggling.
Instead, Liberal ministers recite lines about helping their political base, the affluent middle class – you probably don’t fit the definition – as if only their concerns, worries and struggles matter.