Balance sheet policy, Ottawa: the erosion of the mid-term

Photo: Na Son Nguyen Associated Press
Justin Trudeau became the first canadian prime minister in history to officially have been convicted of violating a law.

If he had to believe the opinion polls, one could say that all is well. Arrived at half-time of their four-year mandate, the federal liberals are still comfortably at the top of voting intentions and their leader, Justin Trudeau, is still as popular on social networks. But the first signs of erosion have begun to be felt in 2017. Several ministers ended the year with bruises.


Justin Trudeau has started to 2017 by altering his cabinet. The exercise was primarily designed to better align its government with that of Donald Trump, wanting to renegotiate NAFTA. Stephane Dion and John McCallum have been propelled in the sphere of diplomatic, while asked by chrystia Freeland became the superministre of foreign Affairs. But the prime minister took the opportunity to move things around under-performing.


It is as well as Maryam Monsef, who had been unanimously against it for its handling of the electoral reform, has been demoted. But if Justin Trudeau hoped to get rid of a thorn in the foot, he will have been disappointed. The critics have only amplified when the successor, Karina Gould, announced just a month later that the reform would not go forward.


Mélanie Joly has experienced a fall particularly difficult in revealing the end of September its cultural policy and the terms of the agreement with Netflix. She did so unanimously against it that it is not rare, in the programs recorded before an audience, to hear the crowd giggle at its mere mention.


The non-taxation of Netflix has become the lightning rod of a denunciation of a broader decision by Ottawa to allow the Web giants continue to operate in the margins of the canadian regulatory information (without obligation for production of canadian content or French-language quota). Even the silence of the cultural policy on aid to the written media or means of addressing the decline of artistic royalties in an industry-leading cloud have been masked by the agreement to Netflix.


Tired of the criticism, Mélanie Joly has finished by returning the disaffected to his colleague, Bill Morneau, who already had his hands full with his tax reform and accusations of conflict of interest due to non-placement of the shares of the family business in a blind trust.


The minister of Revenue, Diane Lebouthillier, has also been bullied for having given the impression that they do not always know what was happening at the Canada revenue Agency (CRA). When the CRA has indicated that it would now discounts on goods granted to employees as a taxable benefit, Ms. Lebouthillier has argued that the laws had not changed. It has served the same parade when people with diabetes have complained of being refused the tax credit to which they were entitled previously. Ms. Lebouthillier has had in the two cases ask the CRA to review its interpretative rules.


The minister of Sport and Persons with disabilities, Kent Hehr, has been criticized for a lack of empathy. It launched Thalidomide victims that they were not the only ones to suffer. A commettante who asked why Ottawa is fighting against women as sick as she is being denied benefits during their maternity leave, the minister responded : “It’s a bit like asking : “When have you stopped beating your wife ?” “In politics, it is a joke former to denounce the loaded questions. Mr. Hehr, who had already been demoted to the second cabinet reshuffle, Mr. Trudeau apologized, recognizing sometimes be “cheeky” and ” inappropriate “.


Some dissension


Justin Trudeau himself is no slouch, becoming the first canadian prime minister in history to officially have been convicted of violating a law. Just before his retirement, the commissioner of conflict of interest and ethics, Mary Dawson, has released a damning report concluding that Mr. Trudeau has violated the Law on conflict of interest by accepting for himself and his family for two trips on the private island of the Aga Khan in 2016.


This is not to mention that his choice of commissioner of official languages, the liberal ontario Madeleine Meilleur, has attracted so many criticisms that the latter desisted. The episode has discredited the new appointment process put in place by the liberals which was to put an end to partisan appointments.


A few lines of fracture are also appeared among the elected quebec liberal Party. Ministers Marc Garneau and Jean-Yves Duclos have broken ranks by claiming that this was not the role of Ottawa to intervene to invalidate the quebec law on religious neutrality, while Mr. Trudeau remains ambivalent on the subject. And mps Pierre Paradis and Nicola Di Iorio have thought good to make a public release to encourage their leader to choose Quebec as chief justice of the supreme Court (as he ultimately did).


Despite these clashes, the PLC is still very popular in the voting intentions. In the latest blow to probe Light-Duty published at the beginning of the month (before the report of dr. Dawson), the liberals trônaient to 40 %, against 34 % for the conservatives and 13 % for the ndp. Of the 11 by-elections held this year, liberals have won 7, including 2 districts formerly held by the conservatives (Lac-Saint-Jean and Surrey-Sud–White Rock). In comparison, there were 31 by-elections during the reign of nine years of Stephen Harper. The conservatives were delighted at the opponent four seats.


An opposition restructured


2017 was a year of reorganization of the opposition in the House of commons. With the Exception of the green Party, all the classes have a new leader.


Martine Ouellet has been crowned after the withdrawal-the rallying of his only rival, the federal member of parliament Xavier Barsalou-Duval. His decision to perform the ” transparlementarisme “, that is to say, to maintain its headquarters in Quebec city until the election of 2018, has been derided. When she announced that she recentrerait the Bloc québécois on the promotion of Quebec sovereignty, his predecessor Gilles Duceppe was advised that he was not to neglect the other issues discussed in Ottawa. “It is necessary to decide on anything, because you pay on everything. “His arrival — and the choice of his advisers — has fractured the caucus, which eventually rallied to the chief, after a meeting in four hours.


On the conservative side, against all odds, the mp for Beauce Maxime Bernier has not managed to elect a leader. Its application has been leaded by its rejection of the management offer. It has bitten the dust in front of the former speaker of the House of commons Andrew Scheer. Mp Brad Trost, a candidate is pro-life who do not consider homosexuality as ” moral “, visited until the 11th lap of the race.

Photo: Sean Kilptarick The canadian Press
Jagmeet Singh was elected leader of the New democratic Party.

Finally, Jagmeet Singh has scooped the NDP, in spite of the discomfort that his candidacy has created among some of the quebec members. His output in favour of judges aboriginal non-bilingual to the supreme Court was obliged to rectify the situation. Just as Martine Ouellet, Mr Singh has made the choice not to run for a seat in the House of commons, but he has abandoned the one he had on the provincial scene.


Bread on the board


The list of promises not performed of the liberals is not yet exhausted. In the beginning of the year, the minister of Justice shall file its bill doing the housework in the minimum sentences introduced by the conservatives in the criminal Code.

Photo: Adrian Wyld, The canadian Press
The draft law on minimum sentences, the conversations with the provinces on the carbon tax and the fate of the Canada Post will be topics that will continue to be discussed in the House of commons next year.

The conversations with the provinces on the tax on carbon will result. The minister of the Environment and climate Change, Catherine McKenna, their leaves until the end of the year to concoct a plan for carbon pricing on their territory. If the plan is not considered to be muscular enough, Ottawa will impose its own fee of $ 10 per tonne of carbon, a price which will rise to $ 50 in 2022. For the moment, only Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta have passed the test. Saskatchewan has threatened to challenge the tax in federal courts if it is required.


Ottawa will also have to make their intentions known about Canada Post. The liberals had suggested during the election campaign that they would restore the delivery of mail to homes that some had lost. The transformation process of the mail delivery has been suspended, so that no additional cleaning has not been affected, but it is still unclear whether the changes will be cancelled.

Ce text is part of our “Outlook” section.