A year of Justin Trudeau

(By: Subi Anandarajah)

Justin Trudeau celebrated his one-year anniversary of taking office on Wednesday.

He became Canada’s 23rd prime minister when the Liberal Party of Canada won a majority government in 2015 during the 42nd general election.

Trudeau made several promises during his campaign that included creating an inclusive community that respects and encourages freedom and multiculturalism, and accommodating the middle class.

He also sought to establish a more democratic government that represents Canada’s diverse population. The first step he took in creating change was electing a cabinet that contained an equal amount of males and females.

Throughout the course of one year, he has made many notable changes, such as signing the Paris Climate Change Agreement, legalizing assisted suicide, re-opening the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base, raising student grants by 50 per cent, reaching an agreement with the other provinces and territories to reinforce the Canada Pension Plan, and appointing the first Newfoundland and Labrador judge to the Supreme Court of Canada, Malcolm Rowe.

Since he became prime minister, Trudeau has kept 34 promises out of 219, according to TrudeauMetre.ca, a citizen-based website with no political association.

Trudeau helped middle class families by lowering their taxes and increased the tax for wealthier families by one per cent, according to liberal.ca, the Liberal Party of Canada’s official website. In order to strengthen Canada’s national policy, he unmuzzled government scientists, restored the long-form consensus and established the Prime Minister’s Youth Council.

Recognizing the issues Indigenous people face, he ordered an inquiry into the missing persons and murder cases of Indigenous women, and invested a portion of $2.6 billion for primary and secondary education on reserves. As for the conflict between Iraq and Syria, he developed a new military strategy that revolves around on-ground training and humanitarian aid, and relocated 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada, although he took longer than the two months he promised.

However, alongside the promises he did keep, Trudeau has also broken 26 promises. Among those he failed to deliver, he was unable to rescind the MSM blood donation ban, establish a veto for Indigenous people over natural resource development occurring in their territories, invest $300 million more dollars toward youth jobs through the Youth Employment Strategy, invest an additional $50 million for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program’s annual funding, provide Employment Insurance premiums with a 12-month break, annually fund an additional $775 million toward job and skills training, and instantly execute the imported gun marking rules.
As with every government, Trudeau’s Liberal party has also had its share of scandals. In one case, Trudeau was criticized for funding $200,000 for two top members of his political staff, Katie Telford and Gerard Butts, to transfer from Toronto to Ottawa, according to the Toronto Star. He also faced scrutiny for his appointment of two nannies to his domestic staff, funded by the public. Regarding his cabinet, Health Minister Jane Philpott apologized and promised to repay $3,700 for spending a huge sum of money on a limo company owned by a Liberal party supporter. Similar to Philpott, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna was criticized for paying $6,600 to employ a professional photographer at the 2015 COP21 climate summit in Paris, according to CBC News.

Despite its scandals, the Liberal party has achieved significant accomplishments in the past year. However, Trudeau has a lot more work to complete with 64 promises in progress and 95 more he has not had the chance to put into action.

Trudeau and his party continue to work on delivering an open and ethical government that will unite Canadians. Some promises he and his party are currently progressing through include legalizing marijuana, amending the Access to Information Act, banning Partisan government ads, lowering the cost of prescription medications and making them more accessible, increasing the accessibility of government data, providing a $15 million increase in funding to the Public Health Agency of Canada for the year of 2016-2017, reversing Stephen Harper’s $150 million funding cuts for CBC, and reforming the electoral system.

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