Canada: PM Justin Trudeau

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Canada: government & governance 2017
Canada-U.S. 2015-17
Canada: Liberal Party and Justin Trudeau 2015
Inside Trudeau’s inner circle
The unbelievable popularity of Canada’s Justin Trudeau (October 2016)

25 October
Reject Mohammed bin Salman — or get used to shaking hands with the devil
By Michael Harris
No matter what words a politician uses to pass as a human rights advocate, there is only one test: what they do when faced with difficult choices. So far, the prime minister has been underwhelming.
(iPolitics) Trudeau has at least raised the possibility of cancelling the arms deal between Canada and the “Bone Saw Kingdom.”
The Liberals inherited that $15-billion deal from the Conservatives, who saw nothing wrong with selling weapons to the most repressive regime on Earth. In fact, former PM Stephen Harper promised the Saudis in a letter that he would keep details of the contract secret. … The spin surrounding the arms deal left the impression that Canada was selling Jeeps to the Saudis. In fact, as Murray Brewster reported for the CBC, the deal included heavy assault vehicles, as well as a deeply embedded maintenance and training deal between the two countries that would place Canadian technicians on the ground in Riyadh.
Had Trudeau exercised more mature judgment coming into office, he would have walked away from Harper’s poisoned chalice — the same way he should have walked away from the disastrous Trans Mountain pipeline fiasco.
But having raised the possibility of cancelling export permits for Canadian armoured vehicles headed for Prince Salman’s bloody dictatorship (absolute monarchy is the euphemism), Trudeau is now complaining how difficult it would be to pull the plug on the sale. He’s even talking about how frustrated he is.
On the environment, he offered real change in Paris, and delivered real disappointment in Canada. On electoral reform, Trudeau waxed eloquent and then blamed other parties for his embrace of the status quo. On open government, he promised access to ministers’ offices under freedom of information, then slammed the informational door.
And yes, these perceived shortcomings may not be as cut and dry as they seem. It could be argued, for example, that Trudeau is not Capt. Carbon (pipelines and all), just a politician trying to make a profound transition fraught with obstacles.
It could be argued that he will get around to electoral reform, just not on the schedule that was promised.
But human rights is one of those non-negotiable items. It is not primarily a political matter. It is a matter of values. No matter what words a politician uses to pass as a human rights advocate, there is only one test: what they do when faced with difficult choices. So far, Trudeau has been underwhelming.

25 September
Luck is nearly impossible to beat, and Justin Trudeau’s has no end: Neil Macdonald
Who could ask for a more politically convenient American president? Or a more convenient Ontario premier?
Because we need a horse race, (and because we are so deeply in love with clichés), news organizations have been pushing the idea that the bloom is off the Trudeau rose, which of course is doubly clever, given that flower’s famous place on the lapel of our prime minister’s father.
The corollary is obvious: that the next election, which is one year away, will be competitive and exciting, and that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might just be a one-term wonder.
Well, competitive would be satisfying. Trudeau’s treacly moralizing is tiresome, and so is the smilingly vapid message track his ministers unswervingly follow. I’ve covered Canadian politics off and on since 1979, and I’ve never seen such centrally co-ordinated emptiness.
That said, my guess is that Trudeau spent his summer vacation up on the roof of Rideau Cottage with his wife, staring at the night sky, watching the stars align perfectly.

3 June
Trudeau: Canada and U.S. most successful alliance ‘in the history of the modern world’ (video)
In an exclusive interview with Meet the Press, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tells Chuck Todd that President Trump’s attitude toward longtime ally, Canada, is “insulting.”

1 June
Chantal Hébert: A defining week for Justin Trudeau
By any measure, the past week will go down as the defining one in Justin Trudeau’s current term of office.
With back-to-back make-or-break decisions on the pipeline and the trade files, the prime minister is rewriting the terms of engagement on two crucial battlefronts for his government, but also for Canada.
Back in the 2015 campaign, Trudeau offered himself to Canadians as a climate-change champion. On Tuesday, his government announced it was purchasing a pipeline in a dogged attempt to bring more Alberta bitumen oil to the Pacific coast.
Then on Thursday, the prime minister traded his so-called sunny ways for fighting words vis-à-vis the United States, ordering more than $16 billion worth of tariffs on U.S. products in the process.
At the time of his election victory no one, including Trudeau himself, could have predicted that there would come a week when he would nationalize a pipeline and engage in a tit-for-tat tariff battle with Canada’s largest trading partner.
Voters will have to decide next year if they are comfortable with the grown-up version of the political leader they invested with a majority government in 2015. But whether Trudeau remains at the helm or not after the next election, the consequences of the two calls he made this week will outlast the current Parliament.

23 April
Liberals return to Ottawa after weekend retreat
The governing Liberals return to Ottawa today fired up after their weekend convention in Halifax. The gathering of Liberals from across the country saw a strong endorsement of progressive policies that encroach on the NDP’s territory, including a call for universal pharmacare and the decriminalization of drug possession for small amounts. (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the former and shot down the latter.)

21 April
Trudeau fires up Liberals with stinging attacks against Conservatives
(Globe & Mail) Mr. Trudeau defended his government’s record with 18 months to go before the general election, while starting to make arguments for another mandate on Oct. 21, 2019. In particular, Mr. Trudeau got a standing ovation for talking about the arrival of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees after the 2015 general election.
As part of his pitch to Liberal supporters and the voting public, Mr. Trudeau argued Mr. Scheer and the Conservatives are intent on pursuing the policies of former prime minister Stephen Harper if they win the next election. …

29 March
Canadians’ love affair with Justin Trudeau is over
(WaPost) After showing a steady lead in public opinion surveys for more than two years after his surprise October 2015 election victory, Trudeau appears to be politically vulnerable. And that’s despite a buoyant economy, what’s seen as a steady hand in NAFTA trade talks with President Trump, and a weak political opposition.”
CBC’s Poll Tracker, which aggregates and weights the results of a dozen opinion surveys, reported in late March that the opposition Conservative Party is now in the lead, at 37.7 percent of voting intentions, compared with Trudeau’s Liberals, at 33.7 percent. The left-of-center New Democratic Party was third at 18.5 percent. Some observers say it’s just a question of midterm blues, with a Canadian election not scheduled until the fall of 2019. But the real culprit seems to have been Trudeau’s visit to India in February.
For critics such as columnist Andrew Coyne of the National Post who see Trudeau as charming but an intellectual lightweight, the India trip simply proved their outlook. “The little things that seemed so charming at first, all those dashing gestures and glam photo ops might well come to seem, at first frivolous, then irritating — an impression of unseriousness compounded by a series of bungled foreign-policy excursions of which the India trip was only the last,” Coyne wrote.
Pollster Nik Nanos says what’s striking about Trudeau’s dip in popularity is that it’s completely “self-inflicted.” Both the Conservative and New Democratic parties have new, inexperienced leaders who are making no significant impression on Canadians. In fact, Trudeau still leads by a healthy margin as the preferred choice for prime minister. … Nanos said that something else is going on. There’s a major gender divide when it comes to Trudeau’s support, and it’s only getting more pronounced. Women have always been partial to Trudeau, not just for his movie-star looks but also his progressive social policies and his self-description as a feminist. Nanos said this divide grew more sharply as he continued to push a pro-feminist agenda, with Trudeau having lost about one-third of his male support since 2015.

25 February
Michael Harris: Will the real Justin Trudeau please stand up?
(iPolitics) Trudeau’s PMO is sloppy, mistake-prone and increasingly arrogant. They probably believe that their man is unbeatable and maybe they’re right.
But though they might have used the Indian trip to shore up Liberal chances in 24 Canadian ridings with significant South Asian populations, including powerful Sikh communities in Toronto and Vancouver, they did so at a great cost. When the world starts laughing at you in politics, you have already lost something important.
…  After Trudeau answers Anderson’s question, he will then have to reply to David Schindler’s. He’s the brilliant scientist, who from 1968 to 1989 directed the world famous Experimental Lakes Area in Ontario. It was ruinously shuttered by the Harper Conservatives and wisely reopened by Ontario and Ottawa. Schindler is currently a professor of ecology at the University of Alberta.
He points out that science was ignored in the Trans Mountain approval. No one knows, for example, how to get bitumen out from under ice should a spill occur in winter months. And if the bitumen enters a major salmon river, Schindler told the CBC, “We will just sit by and helplessly watch it go upstream.”
Trudeau famously promised that his government’s policies would be based on science. Where is the science to back Trans Mountain, or for that matter, the government’s extravagant claims that by expanding the tar sands, they will still somehow bring down emission rates as promised in Paris?

22 February
Why Justin Trudeau Is Being Snubbed in India
The Canadian prime minister’s trip could nonetheless help him with a voting bloc he covets.
(The Atlantic) Trudeau has smiled his way through India, however, meeting with business executives, signing billions of dollars worth of business deals, posing for photographs with Bollywood actors, and donning Indian attire befitting his own Indian wedding reception. The Indians, for their part, have denied the Canadian prime minister is being snubbed (one unnamed official went as far as to call it “protocol”). But a snub it is—and the diplomatic brush-off has its roots in an Indian separatist movement from the 1980s and present-day Canadian domestic politics.

23 January
Trudeau, in Davos speech, tells global super rich that Canada won’t follow U.S. on tax cuts
(Gobe & Mail) In a keynote speech to the World Economic Forum, Mr. Trudeau called on corporate chief executives to put workers before profits and take major steps to boost the role of women in the work force and tackle sexual harassment.
“Too many corporations have put the pursuit of profit before the well-being of their workers … but that approach won’t cut it any more,” Mr. Trudeau told the elite gathering at the chic ski resort of Davos. “We are in a new age of doing business – you need to give back.”


22 June
What Trudeau says his government has achieved in 2017 so far, annotated
From the politics of marijuana, to moving beyond talk on First Nations, big policy challenges remain
(Maclean’s) Let’s take a look at what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his Liberal majority government got done in the first half of 2017. The quotes here are from Trudeau’s statement, released this afternoon as MPs headed home for Parliament’s summer break, and the brief comments provide links to stories, columns and expert analysis:
“Between February and June, I signed agreements with the leaders of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Assembly of First Nations, and the Métis National Council, establishing a process to advance shared priorities for Inuit, First Nations, and the Métis Nation.”
Agreements are  fine, but measurable progress is another matter. Critics like University of Victoria professors Rob Gillezeau and Jeffrey Ansloos point, for example, to the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s analysis that shows the federal government may not have allocated enough money to fulfill the Liberals’ key 2015 election promise to eliminate the gap between federal spending on First Nations students and kids attending provincially funded schools.
“In February, I welcomed the European Parliament’s approval of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union.”
The deal with Europe is an accomplishment, but hardly one the Liberals can claim as all their own. After all, the deal was mainly hammered out by the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper, who finalized an agreement in principal in 2013 and finished negotiations in 2014 …
“In March, Minister [Bill] Morneau tabled one of the most forward-looking budgets in Canada’s history. With its strong focus on innovation and skills, Budget 2017 prepares Canadians for the changing economy and secures Canada’s place as a hub of innovation.”
It’s hard to guess how much Morneau’s second budget might fuel future Canadian prosperity. His long-term funding for innovative “superclusters,” his controversial Canada Infrastructure Bank plan—these and more Budget ’17 measures are decidedly long-term. No wonder Trudeau tends to highlight far more prominently the 2016 budget’s modest middle-bracket tax cut and big parental benefits boost. But can those measures resonate all the way to the 2019 election?
“In April, we introduced a bill to legalize, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis no later than July 2018.”
The legal and social importance of Trudeau’s marijuana policy is huge. But what about the politics of this landmark legislation? Trudeau’s approach is to highlight the get-tough parts, especially making it a separate crime to sell weed to kids. How will Canadian voters compute the Liberal stance? Is it possible to somehow cast legalizing marijuana as a pillar of a stern, law-and-order campaign message?
“On June 6, Minister Freeland outlined a new foreign policy for Canada, and underscored our commitment to a rules-based international order, progressive trade policies, gender equality, and fighting climate change.”
It’s perhaps a stretch to characterize Freeland’s speech to the House, although important, as a whole new foreign policy. In effect, she framed familiar Canadian policies in a dramatic new light: the sudden decline in U.S. leadership on the world stage under President Donald Trump—not that she mentioned his name. Still, Freeland’s rhetoric counterbalanced the Trudeau government’s assiduous courting of Trump’s inner circle.
“Minister [Harjit] Sajjan unveiled Canada’s new defence policy, which establishes a credible, realistic, and funded strategy for our military and, most importantly, will deliver the standard of service and care our women and men in uniform deserve.”
After laying out the plan to buy many new fighter jets, lots of new naval ships, and even drones, the defence minister’s policy can’t be faulted for lacking ambition. It extends to a whole whole new approach to countering threats from space and bolstering cyber security. But the question is about money. Sajjan’s plan calls for an additional $615 million to be spent in 2017-18, ramping up to $2.3 billion more in 2021-23. In other words, the big money will all come after the 2019 election. And politics, played against the state of the economy, has a way of deferring defence priorities.
“Earlier this week, Minister [Ralph] Goodale tabled legislation to create a new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and introduce changes to Bill C-51, which will strengthen security and better protect Canadians’ rights.”
Writing for Maclean’s, law professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach called Goodale’s Bill C-59 “the biggest overhaul in Canadian national security since the creation of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) in 1984.” Forcese and Roach were prominent critics of the Harper-era anti-terrorism law Goodale set out to reform, and they said he “gets a lot of things right.” In other words, Trudeau most seasoned minister let Liberals MPs head out for the summer break on a positive note. (emphasis added)

Trade in the Balance: An Interview With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada
On Thursday, June 22, Peter Baker, The Times’s chief White House correspondent, and Catherine Porter, our Toronto bureau chief, interviewed Prime Minister Trudeau.

22 January
trudeau-qc-tour-with-peter-schiefke-january-18-2017Celine Cooper: Liberals could use a Quebec lieutenant
Traditionally, a Quebec lieutenant is selected by the prime minister or party leader to act as his or her main adviser on issues specific to the province. In fact, many Liberal francophone leaders from Quebec have had lieutenants. Pierre Trudeau worked with Jean Marchand and Marc Lalonde. Jean Chrétien worked with Marcel Massé, Alfonso Gagliano and Martin Cauchon. Under Paul Martin, the late Jean Lapierre held the position. As party leader, Stéphane Dion had Marcel Proulx and Céline Hervieux-Payette.
The reality is that less than two years into their mandate, the Liberals still don’t seem to have a clear agenda for the province. While there has been a noticeable thaw in the tone of Quebec-Canada relations, signs of strain are starting to emerge. The issue of health-care funding is one example. Bombardier’s ongoing requests for financial aid is another. Jean-Marc Fournier, the provincial minister responsible for Canadian relations, recently reminded the federal government that Quebec is a “nation” and should be treated as a partner on matters that impact the province’s interests.
There are also some indications that Trudeau may not have his finger on the linguistic pulse of the province.
Case in point: the town hall meeting in Sherbrooke last week. Trudeau was asked a question in English about underfunding and access to mental health services for English-speaking minority communities in the Eastern Townships. He thanked the woman for her use of one of Canada’s two official languages, then proceeded to answer in French because “we are in Quebec.”
In a topsy-turvy moment, Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée suggested Trudeau should have responded in English out of “courtesy” for the anglophone community.

18 January
WHAT was he thinking?
Justin Trudeau raked over the coals for French answers to English questions
Quebec anglophones are demanding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologize for steadfastly refusing to speak English to anglophones during a swing through the Eastern Townships Tuesday evening.
Reports said there were about six questions from anglophone Townshippers that Trudeau answered all in French despite his fluent bilingualism. Social media picked up on the story with many complaints about Trudeau’s behaviour

12 January
Dion, a great Canadian, dishonoured by Trudeau
Dismissal of Stéphane Dion reveals the ruthless and calculating politician in Prime Minister Trudeau
(TorStar) … you summarily dismiss a great Canadian who busted a gut fighting for this country’s unity, who bravely took an early lead in advocating the need for a Great Greenshift, who generally served as a model of decency and integrity in our political life, and who was actually performing strongly as foreign minister notwithstanding the poison chalice of the Saudi arms deal handed to him by the PMO.
This is the opposite of treating a person with respect and dignity, regardless of what non-cabinet position may or may not have been offered.

11 January
Andrew Cohen: Trudeau’s friendship with the Aga Khan should be celebrated, not hidden
… let’s revisit this: The Prime Minister goes on holiday over New Year’s. His office does not say where. We learn later that he and his family and some unidentified friends were in the Bahamas, guests of the Aga Khan, on his private island. … The harpies alight, accusing Mr. Trudeau of benefiting personally from the largesse of a man who is the founder of a global foundation that receives money from the federal government for its highly praised humanitarian work.
It’s absurd for this reason: The Aga Khan is one of the world’s most respected figures. In 2014, he addressed Parliament, a rare honour; in 2009, he became an honorary citizen of Canada, a rarer honour shared by Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Raoul Wallenberg. Both honours were conferred by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.
First, the Prime Minister should not have hidden the invitation; rather, he should have celebrated it. He should have said that he was honoured to accept and that his visit was as much business as pleasure. He should not reimburse the government for the cost of his travel on a government jet – as he has promised – because conferring with a figure of the stature of the Aga Khan, however convivial the circumstances, is what a prime minister does.
For some reason, he chose to hide it and apologize for it and parade down Wellington Street in down-filled sackcloth and ashes. As he praised the late Fidel Castro too much, he has praised the Aga Khan too little. Someone is giving the PM bad advice.

9 January
Justin Trudeau’s false Davos dichotomy
After a fracas over his vacation, Justin Trudeau says he will not be going to Davos. But that’s doing Canada a disservice
Rather than an extraordinary once-a-year opportunity to help nurture major Canadian investment deals and link arms with fellow world leaders troubled with the rise of anti-trade and anti-immigrant populism, Justin Trudeau will extend by a few days his previously planned tour to plaster his smile and winter scarf collection across as many small-town newspaper front pages as he can.
… next week will be a showcase of two competing visions of how big international deals get made: either between sips of Brunello di Montalcino in a noisy, chandeliered room, or through a burst of 5:30 a.m. tweets generously sprinkled with exclamation points and all-caps. The foremost practitioner of the latter style—a man whose electoral triumph has been cast as a victory over the Davos ethic—gets inaugurated as U.S. president on the final day of the Jan. 17-20 conference. Donald Trump rattles against populism, global collaboration and the benefits of immigration in a globalized society, the kinds of themes that are the keys to both the Swiss gathering and Trudeau’s agenda. By rejecting Davos, the Prime Minister has passed up a chance to fortify his position as a leading voice for preserving those values, when those values seem most at risk.

6 January
The problem with Justin Trudeau’s New Year’s Eve video
Justin Trudeau should remember that what’s good for the party isn’t always best for the country
(Maclean’s) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seemed to be channelling the Iron Chancellor with his New Year’s Eve video message on Parliament Hill by conflating the interests of Canadians with those of his own party. “Before we leave 2016 behind, I want to thank you,” he said. “Over the last year, we have accomplished a great deal together . . . We cut taxes on middle-class Canadians, and put more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 families . . . we also signed one of the most progressive free trade deals in history.”
Who are “we” in Trudeau’s New Year’s missive? The laundry list of political achievements leaves little doubt Trudeau is referring to the Liberal party, rather than all Canadians collectively. It’s a disappointingly partisan note at a time suited to more generous statements. It’s also reminiscent of Trudeau’s post-election claim that “Canada is back” when he really meant his party was back in power: Canada and the Liberals being one and the same.
Justin Trudeau set to connect with grassroots Canadians on cross-country tour
Campaign-style tour comes as PM embroiled in ‘cash-for-access’ fundraising controversy
The tour may also be intended to reverse the slippage in Trudeau’s popularity over the final months of 2016 as he deflected allegations of unethical fundraising practices over his appearance at multiple events where donors contributed as much as $1,500 to the Liberal party in order to rub shoulders with the prime minister.
It will also feed into consultations leading up to his government’s second budget, likely to be introduced in February or March.
Trudeau, facing domestic pressures, scraps Davos trip


13 December
Forget free trade, pipelines and carbon prices: Liberal fundraising flak the talk of the fall
(CBC) In a season of weighty matters and potentially profound decisions — a pipeline to the West Coast, a price on carbon, the vague possibility of a new electoral system — there has been the constant, nagging hum of ethical concern.
Over the past 34 question periods, opposition has failed to ask about fundraising only six times.
o recap: Liberal ministers, including the prime minister, have been participating in fundraisers at which relatively small groups of people pay up to $1,500 to enjoy the company of a member of cabinet.
Critics find these Liberal events difficult to square with the policy in the prime minister’s own guide for ministers that says, “There should be no preferential access to government, or appearance of preferential access, accorded to individuals or organizations because they have made financial contributions to politicians and political parties.”
1 December
Justin Trudeau boxed himself in on more than just pipelines: Chris Hall
Prime minister has little wiggle room on fighter jets, electoral reform and peacekeeping
(CBC) The prime minister had to approve the proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline because of the many statements he’d made over the past year that boil down to this: protecting the environment can go hand in hand with finding foreign markets for Canadian oil.
“One of the fundamental responsibilities of any prime minister is to get our resources to market,” he said on more than one occasion dating back to the 2015 election campaign.
Whether his government made the right decision on Tuesday will be debated in the days, weeks and even years ahead.
“Voters rejected the old thinking that what is good for the economy is bad for the environment,” he said again Tuesday in announcing his government was giving the okey-dokey to the Trans Mountain project that would add a second pipe to the existing route from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C.
28 November

Keith Beardsley: Storm Clouds Are On The Horizon For The Trudeau Government

(HuffPost) There are plenty of storm clouds on the horizon for the Trudeau government. There are issues requiring tough decisions that a few selfies will not provide him with enough cover nor will they help him to change the channel to better issues or allow for better optics.
His recent foot in mouth moment over his comments on Fidel Castro is just this past weekend’s storm cloud. We also have other storm clouds developing on the horizon:
• Political donations and Trudeau’s “cash for access”
• Decisions to be made on three pipeline proposals
• Buying more CF-18s when the head of the air force says it is not necessary
• Gag orders around the CF-18 purchase
• UN peace-keeping missions
• Our combat role against ISIL
• Climate change negotiations with the provinces
• Health care negotiations with the provinces
• Electoral reform
• Lack of action and funding on First Nations issues
• How to deal with the new administration in Washington
• The foolish comment about being willing to open up NAFTA
• The unraveling of trade talks
• The spiraling out of control debt, which eventually will have to be paid off by taxpayers including the middle class that Trudeau claims to be wanting to help
• The economy also remains the number one issue of concern for Canadians.
17 October
Trudeau names Newfoundland’s Malcolm Rowe as Supreme Court nominee
(Globe & Mail) A judge who says the role of the Supreme Court is to create new law, not just apply existing principles, is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first nominee to the country’s highest court.
For the first time in the court’s 141-year history, qualified individuals were invited to submit applications. Mr. Trudeau created a committee headed by former Progressive Conservative prime minister Kim Campbell to develop a short list for him. The lead-up to the nomination was unusually controversial, as Mr. Trudeau allowed applications from across Canada, raising the prospect that for the first time, Atlantic Canada would not have a judge on the court. …
The new process allows Canadians to see the answers Justice Rowe gave on his application form. They show his wide-ranging background – a foreign service officer (1980-84); a lawyer in private practice involved in international boundary disputes over fishing waters (1984-96); head of the civil service of Newfoundland and Labrador under a provincial Liberal government (1996-99) and judge (a federal Liberal appointee in 1999 to the province’s Supreme Court, and to the appeal court two years later).
‘There seems to be a paralysis’: Trudeau government has backlog of more than 300 appointments
(CBC) Almost 20 per cent of governor in council (GIC) appointments, which include roles with Crown corporations, port authorities, agencies and tribunals, are currently vacant or occupied by a Conservative appointee whose term is past its expiry date.
Overall, 170 GIC positions are listed as vacant. Another 116 are past their appointment’s expiry date but the incumbent has been allowed to remain in the role until he or she is either replaced or renewed.
Click here to see a complete list of vacant positions
Currently, 61 federally appointed judge positions are vacant, including one seat on the Supreme Court of Canada. (At least that was solved later in the day.)
In some cases, incumbents have been temporarily renewed only a day or two before their appointments were set to expire because the government had not yet launched the process to find a replacement.
Graham Fraser’s appointment as commissioner of official languages, which was set to expire Sunday, was extended Thursday for two months. The government has yet to issue a job posting to find his successor.
16 October
The Trudeau Report Card: A look at the bumpy road ahead
A year after a stunning majority win, the hard work of delivering more than 200 campaign promises has just begun
By John Geddes
(Maclean’s) Looking hard at the workload of Justin Trudeau’s government can be like peering into a dense thicket of promises. He made about 200 of them in last fall’s Liberal election platform. Some he’s kept and a few he’s broken, but of course most of those policy pledges remain, after only about a year in power, works in progress.
Still, the first anniversary of the Oct. 19, 2015, election is a good moment to take stock. It’s not just a matter of sorting out what’s unfolding promise by promise, although we do a good deal of that in our Trudeau report card. It’s also possible to discern a two-part theme emerging that goes a long way to defining the Trudeau government so far: the interplay between “inclusive prosperity” and “diversity.” …
Watch for the fulfilling of key promises on stepped-up infrastructure spending and some sort of innovation policy—along with whatever Dominic Barton, the global business consultant Trudeau has named as his growth guru, recommends later this fall.
So the economy looms as the biggest challenge. But a raft of hugely ambitious promises—improving the lives of Indigenous people, changing how elections are held, stepping up support for UN peacekeeping abroad—also vie for attention. Can the government maintain momentum behind so many challenging files at once?
The women and men who will influence Liberal policy in the government’s second year
2 October
Supreme Court of Canada heads into challenging fall session
A Supreme Court stocked with newcomers heads into a challenging fall session beginning on Wednesday, featuring major cases on Internet regulation, aboriginal rights and freedom of association.
The court will also tackle a high-profile criminal case in which convicted murderer Dennis Oland seeks to be released on bail while he appeals his conviction. And a case on roadside testing of drug-impaired drivers could help establish some ground rules for the coming era of marijuana legalization.
12 September
‘Go slow,’ says leader of task force on legalization of pot in Canada
McLellan said there are “important lessons” to be taken from places that have already loosened marijuana laws — chief among them to introduce change slowly.
(TorStar) “The word legalization is a big word, it’s an easy word to say, but when you start to deconstruct what that means for Canadian society as we from prohibition to legalization, the complexity of the issue I think is what has surprised me the most.”
6 September
Sunny Ways And Sunny Days May Soon Darken For Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau has been a public relations superstar from the very moment he took office as prime minister almost a year ago.
(HuffPost) There are several dark clouds on the horizon — and any or all could dent the Trudeau mystique:
1. The Economy– Despite all of the government’s free-wheeling (deficit) spending, the Canadian economy has been stubbornly stuck in neutral or first gear, quarter after quarter. People tend to pay less attention to this in the summer months — but they will pay more attention in the fall and they will hold the Liberals accountable. The biggest question mark? Will the force of gravity finally hit the housing sector.
2. Decisions Delayed – The PMO has deftly pushed some tough items into the future, including what to do about Canada Post; federal aid to Bombardier; and procurement of a replacement aircraft for Canada’s aging CF-18’s. Every one of these issues has the potential to make a significant number of people very unhappy and two — Canada Post and the aircraft procurement — could involve going back on (arguably ill-advised) campaign promises.
3. Washington Relations – Most Canadians fear a Trump presidency. And for good reason. The bad news is that a Hillary Clinton is far more hawkish than Obama — and far less friendly to free trade (having felt the Bern from Bernie Sanders).
4. Ministers Behaving Badly – Trudeau has already had some bad innings due to missteps on the part of cabinet members, specifically Health Minister Jane Philpott and former Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo. Both today could be positioned as aberrations. A couple more would be seen as a spreading ethical stain.
5. Kathleen Wynne – There’s no question the Ontario Premier helped Justin Trudeau become prime minister. And there is no question that a number of his aides and confidants have close ties to her. But the reality is that she is increasingly becoming a liability.
19 August
Ben Mulroney Interviews Justin Trudeau For Debut Episode Of CTV’s ‘Your Morning’
Mulroney also posted a photo on his social media accounts from the interview which he described as a “great chat … about issues that matter to you.” Proving the point made immediately below?

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau paddles a canoe down the Bow River in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Sept, 17, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau paddles a canoe down the Bow River in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Sept, 17, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Contrast Between Photo-Op Justin And Policy Trudeau Is Night And Day
(HuffPost) It’s been 10 months, and Liberal voters are still having a difficult time seeing past the glossy veneer slathered on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. They have yet to acknowledge that their aspirational leader is anything other than the exact antithesis to their ideological enemy, Stephen Harper.
If you try initiating a discussion about Trudeau’s various positions on marijuana decriminalization, you get a whole host of responses ranging from the generic “What do you expect him to do?” to “You just don’t understand how difficult it is for him,” then back to an anti-Harper rant. It doesn’t matter that he has changed his position three times since becoming Liberal leader. In fact, never bring that up again. …
The latest reinvention is also about weapons, only this time it will be more difficult to square with the heavily promoted idea that Canada is back to its peacekeeping roots. Canada is now the second biggest arms dealer when it comes to supplying that peaceful oasis known as the Middle East with high-grade weaponry. That’s right, folks, our uber-progressive prime minister, known for his feminist bona fides and yoga poses, now leads a country where arms manufacturers thrive more than ever before.
When was the last time you heard anyone in the government talk about pipelines, arms deals, fired scientists, criminal records for pot possession, Bill C-51, the Trans-Pacific Partnership or any of the other big-ticket issues? Now, think of how easy is it to recall Trudeau marching in a parade, jogging with a world leader, joking with Obama, photobombing a wedding or the litany of other non-substantive moments in his first year as leader.
25 June
Jeffrey Simpson: Our ‘yes’ Prime Minister will one day have to say ‘no’
[Justin Trudeau] has overpromised, or at least promised an enormous number of changes. And not just incremental changes, but huge ones. It is an open question, one upon which perhaps the ultimate fate of the government will rest, whether all these promises can be fulfilled.
It’s not that the Liberals knew upon arriving in office how to give effect to their promises. They got their tax changes passed quickly, plus some other measures, then pushed the review button. No government has ever launched more studies of more policies in a shorter period of time than this one. Scarcely a week goes by – and this is not a figure of speech – that the Trudeau government doesn’t announce a new study, review or consultation.
In the past two weeks, reviews have been launched of innovation policies, university research and regulatory bodies for resource projects. The Transport Minister also said his department was reviewing internally an external policy review ordered and delivered by the previous government. Culture, defence, foreign aid, pipelines, electoral reform and legalization of marijuana are among the subjects for long-term review. Then there are the vast campaign promises on other files, such as implementing all the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; figuring out a national plan for climate change while also getting oil and natural gas to foreign markets… .
At some point, the government will have to say “no.” … But saying yes, being more transparent than the previous government, spending a lot of money and being led by a telegenic leader has left the Liberals in a stronger spot politically than when elected.
18 June
How Justin Trudeau is changing the rules of politics
Evan Solomon on the new political long shot
Trudeau’s great political insight is that people prefer an authentic response over a scripted one, even if it breaks a promise.
(Maclean’s) Trudeau is changing how the political game is played and putting massive poll numbers up on the board.
“We were perhaps behaving in a way that was resembling more the previous government,” Trudeau told stunned reporters as he explained that he would cede to opposition requests to more fairly distribute seats on his electoral reform committee—a sudden and surprising climbdown. Did Trudeau just compare himself to Stephen Harper? Yes, he did. This was after he’d already reversed course on the assisted-dying bill’s Motion 6, which would have limited opposition debate. And after he’d apologized—numerous times—for the infamous elbow incident. Trudeau was just doing what he has done since the campaign: breaking the five cardinal rules of political communication.
1. The flip-flop rule: Reversing decisions makes you look indecisive. Stick to your promises or people will stop trusting you.
2. The loser rule: Never repeat your negatives because you end up validating them. It goes without saying that you don’t compare yourself to the man you just defeated.
3. The blabber rule: Once you’re explaining, you’re losing. Keep messages simple.
4. The message-control rule: Never let the opposition or caucus take over the agenda. Leaders control; leaders look strong.
5. The wimp rule: Never give in to the opposition’s criticisms. Their job is to oppose. Your job is to lead.
22 January
Andrew Coyne makes some good points. In the current economic climate, sensitivities are easily aroused
Andrew Coyne: Trudeau digs a hole for himself in Davos
“My predecessor,” he began, “wanted you to know Canada for its resources. I want you to know Canadians for our resourcefulness.”
Even if resource extraction were every bit as cloddish as its critics imagine, it would still be worth doing, so long as the world was willing to pay us $100 a barrel for the stuff. Now that it’s fetching closer to $30, investors have ample signal to shift into other sectors, without the prime minister piling on. Still, for all his chatter about the need for economic “diversification,” the broad fundamentals of Canada’s economy are unlikely to change much. We are not as resource-dependent as he makes out, but neither, I suspect, will Canada be markedly more “resourceful” when he is done.
Harmless rhetoric, then? Hardly. Emotions are raw enough as it is in Alberta and Saskatchewan: witness the burst of outrage over Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre’s declaration of opposition to the Energy East pipeline. People there are feeling besieged, abandoned, even betrayed, the pipelines that would bring their oil to market held to ransom by opportunistic political leaders in the rest of Canada, while the federal government stands by. The last thing they need is their prime minister making lame puns overseas at their expense, or implying their livelihoods are infra dig.
Of course, Margaret Wente cannot resist taking aim. In Mr. Trudeau goes to Davos she reminds us that “Davos Men aren’t like the rest of us.” And bolsters her argument by citing Chrystia Freeland “[who] so memorably wrote in a famous 2011 piece in The Atlantic, they live increasingly in a world apart, “a transglobal community of peers who have more in common with” each other than with the folks back home. They live in gated communities and send their kids to private school. “The real community life of the 21st-century plutocracy occurs on the international conference circuit.”
Justin Trudeau says Davos is about attracting investment not celebrities
PM says he told actor Leonardo DiCaprio ‘enflamed rhetoric’ won’t help reach carbon reduction targets
“The people who invest billions of dollars in the global economy are gathered here this week and I’ve been spending the past few days pitching them on Canada, talking about Canadians and the extraordinary innovation, the natural resources, the diversity that makes us so strong, and encouraging them to take a closer look at Canada when they make their investment decisions because we have an awful lot to offer.”

Rex Murphy Gobsmacked By Trudeau’s Promise-Breaking ‘Magic’
(CBC) Their refugee resettlement plan, before its deadline was extended to February, was marked by experts as an ambitious undertaking. And it was a promise the government wasn’t able to keep by “a long shot,” Murphy said. “And everyone was relieved.” It’s true!
21 January
Trudeau declared a “youthful torch-bearer” at Davos
(National Observer) At home, some media may be dismissive of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s foray to Davos, Switzerland. But the international press remains agog at Canada’s leader.
The editorial board of the influential paper, The Christian Science Monitor, gave Trudeau a rousing endorsement late Thursday in an editorial titled, For a World in Gloom, a New Torch-Bearer.
The publication concluded:
“‘Trudeau was chosen as keynote speaker, says Klaus Schwab, the German economist who presides over Davos, because ‘I couldn’t imagine anybody who could represent more the world which will come out of this fourth industrial revolution.’”
Justin Trudeau’s youthful, pro-diversity pitch goes global in Davos
PM’s prowess on social media earned him fans around the world before arriving at World Economic Forum
18 January
New York Times mocked over ‘Canada is hip’ article
(BBC) In what can only be described as a back-handed compliment, the NYT declared in a recent style article that its neighbour to the north was no longer a “frozen cultural wasteland populated with hopelessly unstylish citizens”.
The reason for Canada’s sudden cultural cachet? The Times mentions film and music idols, fashion designers and YouTubers, but the star of the show seems to be new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The “6-foot-2 self-described feminist… has assumed the role of world leader with a heart,” reckons the paper.
Trudeau makes brand Canada suddenly “hip”

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