I am a fan of Justin Trudeau. Compared to the option of another four years of now-retired “Supreme Leader” Harper, Trudeau is heaven-sent. Since his monumental victory in October of last year, he has implemented numerous policies that have improved the country substantially. Whether it is accepting 30,000 refugees from war-torn Syria, slashing tax rates for the middle class, or introducing a 50 percent female cabinet, he has upheld the Liberal values for which he was elected.
However, far too many have gleefully and blindly jumped on to the Trudeau bandwagon. Everyone under 25 seems to be infatuated with the Prime Minister. After years of the sociopathic cold fish that was Stephen Harper, Canada is cool again. Buzzfeed thinks our PM is hot. The world acknowledges us now. And we love it.
But before you say Trudeau is the best thing that ever happened to this country, consider a few of his contradicting, illegitimate political moves.
Trudeau claims to be an environmentally conscious liberal, desiring to implement policies to reduce Canada’s carbon emissions. He recently introduced a federal $10-per-tonne carbon tax. The revenues from this tax will be returned back to the provinces to finance tax cuts. Seems like a logical plan, right? Not exactly. Canada still gives out $3.3 billion in subsidies to fossil fuel companies. As Alex Doukas said in an article for The Guardian, “It’s like taxing smokers for buying cigarettes while also giving tax breaks to cigarette companies.”
In addition to this, Trudeau recently approved a bid for the Pacific NorthWest LNG pipeline, which would run across B.C. to the coastal town of Prince Rupert, where the oil would be then shipped to Asia. The pipeline would increase B.C.’s carbon emissions by an estimated 9 percent annually. Trudeau also agreed to an extension of the Alberta-Wisconsin Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, and permitted Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, running from Alberta to B.C. All of these approvals undermine the Liberals’ investments in green infrastructure, as well as the aforementioned carbon tax.
Besides illegitimate climate change policies, Trudeau has backpedalled on a number of promises. During the election campaign, Trudeau pledged that the 2015 election would be the last election using the first-past-the-post voting system. A committee was set-up to gauge the feasibility and desire to change the electoral system. There were hundreds of interviews, consultations of over 200 experts, and a 300-page report. This report recommended proportional representation. Subsequently, Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions, mocked the report in the House of Commons, calling it “incomprehensible.” Trudeau himself has shut down rumours of a referendum repeatedly, saying that the need for election reform is “[not that] urgent.”
It is important to note that the current voting system allows big parties―like the Liberals―to gain power more easily. The Liberals only received 39 percent of the popular vote, yet have a considerable majority in the House of Commons. Proportional representation would give smaller parties―like the Green Party and NDP―a bigger voice, snatching seats away from Trudeau and his cronies.
In addition, Trudeau did not follow through with his campaign promise to end the executive stock option tax break. Of Canada’s top 100 paid CEOs, 75 utilize this loophole, which allows them to escape normal taxes. On average, each CEO saves $6.6 million, costing taxpayers close to $500 million a year in foregone tax revenue.
Further, the Liberals have utilized controversial “cash-for-access” fundraisers over the last year or so. These exclusive meetings require tickets that can be bought for $1,500. Business leaders and lobbyists can try to persuade Trudeau and his cabinet to approve developments, introduce policies, etc. In May, wealthy Chinese businessmen convened at a ritzy Toronto soirée that featured Trudeau as the star guest. One of the attendees―Zhang Bin―made a $1 million donation to the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation shortly after. Prime Minister Trudeau stressed that he had no connection to the charity, but it is concerning nonetheless, as Trudeau dissuaded his cabinet ministers early on to avoid any situations that might appear to be a conflict of interest.
Justin Trudeau is a welcomed breath of fresh air after the previous administration’s callousness and hypocrisy. Regardless, make sure to look past his luscious locks and ever-present charm. Prime Minister Trudeau is admittedly progressive, forward thinking, and politically astute, but he is far from perfect.