Trudeau’s Liberals would promise us the moon to secure a majority. Just don’t expect them to deliver
July 18 2021
By Joe Roberts
Want to hear the worst kept secret in Canadian politics?
For anyone even remotely paying attention, it is clear that the Liberals are dead set on calling an early election, with the scuttlebutt being we won’t make it through the summer before the writ is dropped on our heads. It might even be shocking news if the Liberals weren’t blasting their intentions to anyone willing to listen.
But why do they want it so badly? The Liberals already control the government. They have what has proven to be a willing partner in passing legislation in the NDP, and according to their own communications team they were able to push their policy agenda forward with relative ease.
As they’ve cranked up the rhetoric on an election, stirring pundits and commentators into a frenzy, they’ve also turned on the promise machine. Like the best used-car salesmen, they’re willing to throw in all the extras if we simply buy what they’re selling today.
Want universal child care? Give them a majority. Think it’s time for additional financial support for Canadians with disabilities? Give them a majority. Want the rich to pay their fair share in taxes? You guessed it, give them a majority. We can have all this and more, under another glorious Liberal majority government led by Justin Trudeau!
The problem, of course, is that they’ve had their shot. The Liberals ruled the House of Commons with legislative free rein for five years, during which time they could have passed all of this and more. They chose not to, waiting to dangle the policy carrot in the faces of voters and telling Canadians to entrust them with our votes once more — this time will be different.
Can we trust them? If they truly wanted universal child care, pharmacare, a wealth tax or a myriad of other policies enacted, all they need do is work in good faith with New Democrats. The NDP has not only shown an eagerness to partner with the Liberals to pass these laws, but have even put some of them forward themselves — only to be opposed, defeated and in some cases openly mocked by members of the Liberal caucus in the House.
The Liberals don’t need a majority to make economic and societal reforms that Canadians overwhelmingly support. What they need is the political will — and in that, they are at a deficit which a majority won’t fix.
The irony is that much of what has the Liberals sailing toward an outright electoral victory doesn’t come from within, but from without. If it weren’t for the NDP’s insistence, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) would have been half of what it was and the wage subsidy would have been a paltry 10 per cent, instead of the 75 per cent that is credited with saving the economy from certain doom. Trudeau may not have liked capitulating to the NDP’s demands, but he’ll certainly attempt to capitalize on their success.
Canadians are facing an election that even 55 per cent of Liberal voters say they don’t want, all so Justin Trudeau and company can avoid the difficult but obligatory part of governance: negotiating. When all is said and done and this election is consigned to history, it will be greed and the hunger for power that is remembered for motivating it, not what is best for the Canadian people.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” Our collective behinds may already be blistered, but the Liberals seem to be more than willing to turn up the heat yet again.
If it is an election the Liberals want, it is an election the Liberals will have. There is a very good chance they regain their majority as well. But don’t expect them to deliver on any of their newest slate of promises, any more than they delivered on the promise of ending first-past-the-post voting.
After all, winning would mean their second re-election under the very electoral system they promised to end.