Reality check: Has Trudeau’s Liberal government delivered 100 days in?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised “real change” during the federal election campaign, pledging to roll up his sleeves and start delivering it as soon as his party formed government.
One hundred days into the government’s mandate – a milestone that will officially be marked on Friday – some of that change has indeed materialized, but there have also been setbacks.
TrudeauMetre.ca, a non-partisan website dedicated to tracking the government’s progress on 214 individual election promises, is reporting that as of the 100-day mark, just under 20 per cent of promises have either been fulfilled or are in the process of being fulfilled. About 79 per cent have not been tackled yet, while 1 per cent (two promises) have been broken.
Here’s a look at some of what the Liberals have managed to accomplish over the last three months, and what they’ve failed to deliver.
Tax relief for the middle class, but it’ll cost us
If there was a central plank in the Liberal election platform, tax relief for the so-called middle class was it. As promised, the Liberals moved in December to enact new legislation that lowered the income-tax rate for taxable earnings between $45,282 and $90,563. Meanwhile, starting on Jan. 1, the rate on all income earned beyond $200,000 went up.
This package of tax changes was supposed to be revenue neutral, but will in fact deprive the federal treasury of $1.2 billion in each of the next five years. That was one of two promises broken since the Oct. 19 election.
Welcoming refugees, but more slowly than we thought
This was the other broken promise. The new government swung for the fences during the campaign and promised something it couldn’t realistically deliver: 25,000 Syrian refugees on Canadian soil by Dec. 31. The pledge was eventually downgraded to 10,000 refugees by the end of 2015, but Ottawa failed to even meet that target.
Housing shortages, concerns about security screening and at least one apparent hate-crime involving the pepper spraying of a group of Syrians in Vancouver have plagued the process, but as of this week, it looks like the government is on track to reach its newest goal. With the tally now just under 20,000 arrivals, 25,000 refugees should be here by Feb. 29.
WATCH: Immigration Minister says 25,000 refugees will arrive by the end of February
Financial woes in Trudeau’s first 100 days
Canada’s economic situation has undoubtedly deteriorated in the first 100 days of the new government’s mandate, with job losses multiplying in the western provinces and the price of oil falling to nearly $30 a barrel. The Canadian dollar has also continued to lose ground, falling from 76 cents US on Nov. 4 to 72 cents on Feb. 11.
The Opposition Conservatives have chalked this up largely to bad fiscal management, saying they left office with a $1 billion surplus in the bank. The Liberals have pointed the finger at global economic headwinds and the struggling Chinese market.
Either way, the government is unlikely to be able to stick to the maximum-$10 billion deficit they promoted during the election, meaning a third broken promise is on the horizon. Expectations for the federal budget, likely to be tabled the week of March 21, are sky-high.
Ending the bombing mission against ISIS
The Liberal pledge to pull Canada’s CF-18s out of the skies over Iraq and Syria is expected to finally be fulfilled on Feb. 22. The government argued that coming up with a plan to increase humanitarian aid and training operations while ending the bombing mission would take time. The final product was unveiled on Feb. 8 in Ottawa, with the new three-year plan expected to cost upwards of $1.6 billion.
The Conservatives have called it “a step backward” for Canada, arguing that Trudeau has provided no concrete reason to stop bombing ISIS.
WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lay out a revised plan in the fight against ISIS
Gender parity … sort of
This was one of the first promises kept by Trudeau, who unveiled his cabinet on Nov. 4 with 15 men and 15 women around the table. Asked why it was important, the prime minister uttered a line that would spread like wildfire in the coming days and weeks: “Because it’s 2015.”
WATCH: Justin Trudeau on why his cabinet is gender balanced
The even-split has not materialized in all-important Parliamentary committees, however, with two of them counting not a single woman in their ranks, and three-quarters including two women or fewer on their 10-member roster.
Nation to Nation
The Liberals promised an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, and in early December they announced the first phase of that inquiry. Meetings with survivors, families and other stakeholders have been unfolding across the country to determine the shape and scope of the massive undertaking.
The Prime Minister has also promised repeatedly during his first 100 days in office to foster better relations with First Nations communities. As part of that, the Liberals made a controversial decision to lift sanctions against indigenous communities that have not complied with a Conservative spending-transparency law. Ottawa has also provided a written commitment to Neskantaga First Nation, in northwestern Ontario, to build a new water treatment plant in that community.
Public servants be free!
Whether you study salmon or salmonella on behalf of Ottawa, you are now free to talk to the media about it. Starting almost immediately after the swearing-in on Nov. 4, scientists and researchers began reporting that they had been told they could speak openly about their work, something that had not always been permitted under the former Conservative government.
WATCH: Facebook post about public servants goes viral
The Liberals have also made efforts to mend fences with the broader pool of disillusioned public servants working in various government departments. Simultaneously, however, Trudeau’s office unexpectedly sacked the clerk of the Privy Council in January. The top civil servant in the country, Janice Charette, was shown the door in favour of Michael Wernick, a former deputy minister of Aboriginal affairs.
Canada in the world
In addition to the usual upheaval that accompanies a change in government, the Liberals have faced two major terror attacks in the first 100 days of their mandate. An attack in Burkina Faso on Jan. 15, hit home most poignantly as six Canadians were killed. Trudeau faced criticism from at least one bereaved husband, who said the Prime Minster’s call to his home was “political blather” and that he hung up on him.
A few weeks earlier, Trudeau was on his way to his first international meeting when news broke that dozens had been killed in coordinated attacks in Paris.
WATCH: Canadians killed in Burkina Faso
International relations have also taken centre stage in Ottawa in the last 100 days, with the Prime Minister toasting the Queen, welcoming UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Ottawa and apparently scolding Leonardo DiCaprio. The White House announced in December that President Barack Obama and his wife would welcome the Trudeaus for a state dinner in March. It will be first such event in nearly two decades.
INTERACTIVE: Hover and click or tap the circles in the image below to see the fine print behind an infographic circulating among Liberal Cabinet ministers Friday.
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