This is the wrap up post in a series setting up the 43rd session of Parliament. As mentioned in my previous post, the government has set up its cabinet to deal specifically with three issues, the West, the environment and the middle class with a multi-minister approach to each of those three issues.
Since the reveal of Trudeau’s cabinet, the media have been focusing on how Trudeau will manage the West and just how a Ministry for Middle-Class Prosperity will affect the prosperity of the middle class. There will no doubt be plenty of analysis and political punditry. Seeing how Minister Fortier will handle the questions during question period will hurt or hinder Liberal attempts at having success much in the same way Minister Monsef, in the last parliament, handled the now gone ministry of democratic reform. The term “middle class lens” could be a day time drinking game.
But beyond the West, the Environment and the Middle-Class there are issues that were hung out at the end of the last parliament that the government will need to address.
The Health Minister will have two files to take up most of her time. New medically assisted dying legislation is due to be introduced. This legislation follows a 4th interim report https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/health-system-services/medical-assistance-dying-interim-report-april-2019.html) that was released in April of 2019 and there are calls for relaxed rules for allowing medically induced deaths. The second file is that of a national Pharmacare program. The liberals don’t have the luxury of a majority government to wait until the 3rd year of a 4-year mandate to roll this out. Working with the Finance Minister, Health Minister Patti Hajdu will probably be forced to deal with this in the first two years of this minority session. The NDP promised to have a full plan in place by 2020, we’ll see how much the Liberals will be depending on support from Jagmeet Singh and his team to determine how fast or slow Trudeau rolls this out.
While not much was said about Veterans by the Liberals in the election, Minister MacAulay still needs to deal with gaps in funding of the Liberal Pension-for-life plan from a couple years ago. Our current serving soldiers will rely on the Defence Minister to follow through on the National Defence Review and renewed calls from the US to pay its full share to NATO.
Even with 9 ministers that have a hand in the economy of Canada, the government will need to look ahead and avoid a recession that is expected to hit the United States (https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/21/economy/consumer-spending-recession/index.html ) and will have a spillover into Canada. How will Finance Minister Bill Morneau handle his first “R word” budget? Considering the amount of spending the Liberals have done in good years, is there anything left to hold off a downturn in the economy in bad years.
There is one final issue that Liberals will need to deal with – and it could be the hardest one they will have to get a grip on. That is their ever-present need of virtual signaling. Gone are the days of the liberalization of Canadian policy; think of the attestation Trudeau forced on non-profit and religious groups to qualify for Canada Summer Jobs funding, there is no majority to allow liberal left thinkers to have their way with policy and how we will qualify or not qualify for taxpayer funded programs.
Now it’s all in the hands of the 338 Members of the House of Commons, 157 in government and 181 in opposition. It’s time to raise the curtain and see how this all plays out.
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