Canada’s Parliament Returns

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canada began the newest session of Parliament yesterday with the traditional Speech from the throne, delivered by Governor General Julie Payette. In it, a host of promises were offered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Creation of more than a million new jobs. Elimination of systemic racism. Putting more women into the workplace. Drastic reduction in greenhouse gases. More money for the unemployed. More money for seniors. More money for the disabled. The speech offers a variety of benefits for keeping Trudeau in place, with little explanation as to how those benefits will be enacted.

The speech mirrors statements Trudeau has been making since the explosion of the WE charity scandal. Reactions to the speech from political opponents have not been favorable. Far from the solidarity shown in the middle of 2018 when MPs of all stripes defended the Prime Minister against attacks from President Trump, only Trudeau’s own Liberal Party is now standing behind him… a circumstance that bodes poorly for Justin Trudeau’s future.

The Canadian government is facing a potential call for a new election, which would threaten to cut short Trudeau’s term. The temporary cessation of Parliament negated their ability to call for a confidence vote during the height of the scandal and bought the Prime Minister time to personally lobby opposition party members while shoring up support from his base. In order to prevent new elections being called, Trudeau needs to gain support from the Conservatives, Bloc Quebecois or the NDP (New Democratic Party).

His efforts in those directions have as yet been fruitless. The Conservatives have stated clearly that they will not support the agenda put forth in the throne speech, many goals of which are in stark opposition to their own. Bloc has let more room for agreement, but not much: they have said they will not support the speech unless federal control over Quebec policies is eased and there is a significant transfer of money into the Quebec health care system, neither of which seems likely under Trudeau. The NDP offers the greatest chance at reconciliation for the Prime Minister, but it has two hard demands: paid sick leave for all workers across Canada and an extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit – a direct payout to working Canadians – for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

While Trudeau may be willing to cede those last two points, it is difficult to see how he will do so, as much of the money he has allocated to his Liberal Party programs would need to be diverted.

Justin Trudeau is facing a difficult few weeks, and there will likely be considerable political fireworks just north of the United States border to coincide with the tumult of the U.S. general election.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.