It was in a speech on March 4, 1933, that Franklin D. Roosevelt mentioned for the first time the concept that he would deliver 100 days of action now that he was elected. Since then the 100 day mark has become a pretty common marker when looking at a newly elected politician's performance.
Plus over the years we have seen how the actions of a government in that 100 day time frame, tends to set the tone for its mandate. One can look back at the Harper Conservatives and the initial clashes with the media, the introduction of tight message control and the insistence that ministers and MPs toe the line to see to see how those early days gave a pretty good glimpse into their future.
Today, the Trudeau Liberals are 60 days into their mandate, just past the half way point of their first 100 days. What have we seen so far?
When a government takes action, there is always a cost involved.
There has been lots of glamour and glitz. Justin isn't called PM Selfie for nothing, but so what? In politics, if it works you use it. He is of a younger generation that has grown up on their cell phones; he is approachable and photogenic... I can't think of any politician, who wouldn't use those qualities to their advantage. So far it has helped Trudeau to set a new tone and the media are still wrapped up in the photo ops.
But it is substance that he has to worry about and as the year progresses Canadians will have different markers to measure him against -- broken promises being one of them. The other parties will be waiting to pounce if implementing his climate package costs jobs or if there are increases in food, gas, and travel costs and so on. These are items that matter to average Canadians struggling to get by. We still haven't seen his real deficit numbers. We don't know how he will pay to reduce those deficits over a four year period. Will there be tax increases, or programs cut? Where is their much talked about infrastructure program? Conservatives know how tough it was to get money out the door for such items. Will we see more shifting goal posts on this one?
When a government takes action, there is always a cost involved. When Canadians start looking at their bank balance each pay day they tend to forget photo ops.
Trudeau's constantly shifting timelines and numbers for the Syrian refugees will also cost him. Why, because Canadians don't like to be misled by their politicians. They will forgive a few rookie mistakes, but we are seeing a pattern emerge be it on refugees or the deficit numbers or when our fighter jets return home from the Middle East. While the media have covered the shifting numbers they haven't yet really gotten their teeth into what all of this will cost?
Trudeau's immigration minister is a disaster even at this early stage. Every time McCallum speaks it's a negative news story --- new numbers, new dates, and another taxpayer funded trip to a refugee camp for yet another photo op with smiling refugees.
Sixty odd days in and we still don't know when they will keep their promise to bring our CF-18s home. Nor do we know the size of the training force they are planning, what their exact mission will be or what the "Rules of Engagement" will be. The defence minister is lucky that Canadians are distracted post-holidays and of course there is no Question Period where the opposition parties can go directly after both Trudeau and his ministers.
However the one item that will cause him the greatest grief is still waiting on the horizon. Democratic reform and how our voting system will be changed will be coming up soon. How the Trudeau Liberals handle it will become the key marker for this mandate. At this very early stage we are already seeing signs of the arrogance that plagued former Liberal governments. For Trudeau's advisers to think that a few Liberal MPs with 39 per cent of the popular vote can dictate by a majority vote in the House of Commons, how we will vote in the future is a serious underestimation of Canadians voters. It is the one issue that crosses party lines and can galvanize a population into action. Everyone has an opinion on this subject, as it directly impacts their rights as a citizen.
Trudeau had better hope that the opposition parties agree to him only showing up one day a week in Question Period where he can be held accountable for his government's actions or at this early stage inaction would be a better description.
Confusion, inept issue management and arrogance are not the way this was supposed to play out for the Liberals. Remember Trudeau is all about "sunny ways" and that should bring him some sunny days. But even sunny days have storm clouds on the horizon. This will be a fun year to follow politics.
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