Originally published for the Prince Arthur Herald Justin Trudeau has banished all 32 Liberal Senators from the Liberal caucus, yet he's managed to ...
Trudeau professes to be capable of both meaningfully combatting climate change and supporting oil sands expansion. Yet he recently went so far as to proclaim that "the opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States and elsewhere is not scientific." Leaving oil in the ground is precisely what must happen. The longer Trudeau loudly supports the oil industry without a similarly strong signal that he is committed to meaningful action on climate change, the harder it will be, should he win, to enact the bold policies the scientific community is actually calling for.
The only way to earn the backing of Canada's eastern provinces for Senate reform would be to rip open Canada's fundamental law once more, putting everything back on the table and possibly plunging the country into yet another national unity crisis. This could set Canada back by years, if not decades.
Despite what may be the best of intentions, Justin Trudeau has not reformed the Senate.It's hard to see how turning 32 "Liberal Senators" into 32 "Senate Liberals" (as they are now called) really changes much. The real leadership that Trudeau has shown, which lies in the substance of Trudeau's forward proposals -- the one that truly would reform the Senate into the future -- has barely been mentioned. It's what Justin Trudeau has proposed for the future that would truly change the Senate, it's makeup, and its value to the Canadian people.
What's all this junk about getting some expert panel to appoint the Senators? Ol' Pepall thinks that sounds like the "Guardian Council in Tehran," and he's not in favour of turning Canada into a fundamentalist Islamic theocracy, which I think we can all agree is the real crux of this issue.
I'll leave it to others to sort through the constitutional implications of what Justin Trudeau did this week. But I want to comment on what Justin's move did for his "brand", because that's my expertise. Trudeau's naysayers attack him as vacuous. He's a nice guy -- but where's the beef? Well, Trudeau just showed substance and leadership.
Justin Trudeau thinks Canada's Senate has become irreparably corrupted through "extreme patronage and partisanship," and is trying to set a good example by opting-out of at least half of that equation. It's an exceedingly open question if Canadians even want the sort of reformed, "effective" Senate Trudeau's promising amid such great fanfare. The closer you look at the whole plan, in fact, the closer Trudeau's fix begins to resemble the classic solution in search of a problem.
Justin Trudeau probably shocked his Senate caucus colleagues more than the voting public today when he announced he was removing Liberal senators from the Liberal caucus, thereby limiting the caucus to elected members of parliament. Eventually the dust will settle and the real reason for this move will become evident, but for now Trudeau is in the limelight and he will have the Conservatives scrambling and perhaps the NDP as well. The truth is no one including Trudeau knows and we will only find that out down the road and closer to the next election.
The Tories can't even mention Justin Trudeau and his plan to legalize pot without resorting to a plea to 'think of the children!' They'll tell you pot can fry a developing brain, spoil an academic career or even turn your son or daughter into an addict. But prohibition isn't keeping pot away from teens. It is ruining young lives across the continent. As it so often with misguided legislation, it's the disadvantaged who suffer most.
Canada's short-term economic prospects are good, but the outlook, both medium and long-term, is another story. That's because Canada's biggest competitive disadvantage are its politicians. Most function like trust fund brats, lacking the mindset or skills to steward or protect the national endowment. Here's my political wish list for 2014
The Canadian press has been offering no shortage of year-in-review columns as of late. What's my pick for top story of 2013, you ask? I don't know if I have a headline per se, but I do have a theme: the decline of Brand Canada. If there's one thing Justin Trudeau, Rob Ford, and the Senate scandal have in common, after all, it's that they all prove, in different ways, that Canada is not nearly as serious, respectable, and mature of a country as we often like to believe.
Trudeau has been completely unable to define the Liberal Party or Trudeau brand under his leadership. On second thought, in Trudeau's first eight months as Liberal leader, he has said a lot. He just hasn't said the right things to make him worthy of leading this country.
2013 is almost done. Canadians and their political leaders will hopefully find the time to enjoy their families. Maybe they will return in a better frame of mind in the New Year, but then again do we really think that is possible?
There are a few conclusions you could draw from the recent revelation that Justin Trudeau has the worst Question Period attendance record of any federal party leader. We're supposed to either swoon with refreshed delight that he doesn't take the Ottawa rat race as seriously as it takes itself, or furrow our brows in anger that he's not taking it nearly seriously enough. I would imagine most of us can find speckles of truth in both perspectives.
Though Chong's clear intent with this bill is to give more power to the MPs and reduce the power of the Prime Minister and other other party leaders, I believe that possible consequences of this bill are that certain MPs may gain the power to reopen the abortion debate with the goal of criminalizing abortion.
The Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act (Reforms), already dubbed "The Reform Act," was only introduced in the Hous...