Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is back in Canada after traveling to Singapore and Papua New Guinea to observe the ASEAN conference and join the APEC summit.
Without doubt, listening to and seeing the global big-shots in international conferences can be important, even through far away. But not more important than listening to and seeing Canadians. That’s job number one – and Justin Trudeau is falling down on the job.
For an important few weeks in the 2015 election, it seemed like Justin Trudeau really got it. As he trudged up that escalator backward in that TV ad – with loosened tie and tired look – there was an emotional connection with those who aren’t in the middle class, who aren’t getting ahead and who are losing the opportunities, benefits and security we believed were essentially Canadian.
Now we have the Trudeau who just doesn’t get it. Insider Ottawa and elegant global cities are his reality. That’s sure not the reality Canadians live in.
It’s easy for him to put off building affordable housing until after the next election. It’s no big deal to him if he delays a public drug insurance plan for a few more years. He can hide from Sears workers who are losing their benefits and pensions. Or just give lip service to ending the education funding gap for Indigenous students.
Those aren’t his reality. Justin Trudeau’s children will get the best education. He doesn’t need to worry about the rent. He’s never lived from paycheque to paycheque. He doesn’t pay a child care bill or fret about his pension. He doesn’t pay for his prescriptions.
But millions of Canadians do. And Trudeau’s delays are keeping them stuck in that reality — when it doesn’t have to be this way. But we need a leader with Canadian’s priority at heart.
Trudeau does have priorities. When Trudeau wanted to buy a pipeline for $4.5 billion, it happened almost overnight. It’s just people’s priorities that must wait.
On day one, work should have been started to creates a national drug plan so every Canadian has pharmacare insurance. At the start, a post-Harper government should have been investing in affordable housing. A bill to protect pensions should have been passed long ago. A plan to encourage provincial childcare expansion is long overdue. And it is solely within the authority of the federal government to end a second-tier education system for Indigenous people. Instead it’s been delay, delay, delay.
And rather than act of people’s priorities, Trudeau continues the awful Ottawa politics of hoarding power for himself. Justin Trudeau didn’t reform our electoral system. He ran his own cash-for-access fundraising ring until public outrage shut it down. He has done nothing to make the House of Commons more democratic. He still brings those Harper-sized omnibus bills.
He has even written his own chapter in the playbook of usurping the people’s power, suspending democratic representation for Canadians in Burnaby South, where NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is nominated for by-election. Holding back an advocate for pharmacare, pension security and affordable housing is no benefit to the people of Burnaby South. But the delay benefits Justin Trudeau.
The game of infinite delay doesn’t hurt Justin Trudeau — but it should. The term of this Parliament is finite; the vote comes Monday, October 21, 2019. Canadians’ priorities need to be addressed by then — or Trudeau probably never will.