One hundred days of Trudeau government an antidote...
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Feb 13, 2016  |  Vote 1    0

One hundred days of Trudeau government an antidote to cynicism: Mallick

Canada has changed so much in the 100 days since the Liberal cabinet was sworn in that Heather Mallick says she doesn’t quite know how to describe it

OurWindsor.Ca

Canada has changed so much in the 100 days since the Liberal cabinet was sworn in that I don’t quite know how to describe it. It’s not a sea change, which is a gradual encrustation at full fathom five, or a reversion, which would let us pretend those 10 Harper years had never happened. Don’t ever forget that lost decade.

But as I write this, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is live on Twitter, asking us to ask him anything. Tell me that’s not new. If Harper had had anything to say to citizens, it would have been, “Stay away from me. I have guards both human and dog,” or “We are watching you from apertures.”

Trudeau shrugs. Talk to me, CBC viewers. Get in touch, voters. We’re hiring so send in your resumé. He doesn’t detest the media, though he may come to. Here’s the lightest of lists of the things that have changed.

Climate change is now taken seriously and can be discussed without fear. Government scientists can speak freely without stigma.

There will be an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, and it will be well-designed and purposeful. Their shameful treatment cannot go on forever. If we don’t make things right, will we become like the U.S., padlocked into hate since the Civil War with no end in sight? Intolerable.

The cabinet is half female. I don’t think anything has given strength to Canadian women more than that, and the male half of cabinet is honoured to work with them. And Ottawa no longer persecutes Muslim women in head scarves. There is no longer a hotline for snitching on self-defined “barbaric cultural practices.”

Canada invited Syrian refugees here, screening and placing them. The fuss over meeting targets seemed absurd; isn’t it better to slow the process and get it right rather than rush to reach artificial targets that obsess the media?

And yes, the refugees must be housed, not stashed in motels. During that process, children should be schooled and English taught early. I don’t want see new Canadians form even more ethnic enclaves, to be lured by the Jason Kenneys of this world at rubber chicken dinners.

The prime minister has to talk to the premiers. Can you remember the years of madness when Harper snubbed Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne? It was like the movie Mean Girls and Harper was the meanest.

As for ending the bombing of Syria and Iraq, bombing has always been ineffective except at building hatred of foreign nations. The destruction of Iraq was not our doing, it was the work of serial Bushes. It is up to the U.S. and Arab nations to deal with Daesh. Even if we could afford a war, why would we wish to join someone else’s?

And we’re talking to Iran again. Talking’s always a good thing. Trudeau talks to the world. At Davos, he hustled, he praised Canada to the skies to leaders who were anxious to meet him, he used the “feminist” word repeatedly. We are hoping to join the UN Security Council. We aim high now.

He cares about young people, understands student debt and on Friday doubled the summer jobs program. For years post-university internships were in the news, but summers are when entry into the wider world begins.

Harper liked older people because the crankier ones voted for him; the fact that their health-care expenses might leave little for younger generations in an underfunded system was fine with him. Trudeau is planning a healthy Medicare for generations to come. He doesn’t favour particular generations, or races, or provinces. We’re all in this together.

There are going to be deficits. Austerity doesn’t work. Furthermore, Liberals are willing to change their minds. They are building an evidence-based government; if the economy forces us to go deeper into debt than they promised, so be it.

I’m hoping for much more: no more appointing Neanderthals to senior courts, no more mandatory sentencing, major changes to Harper’s domestic-spying rules. And I like the new tone, although the rule of no heckling/racism in the Commons will likely have to be enforced.

I like Trudeau’s personality. Imagine Harper joking with the Queen or being invited by U.S. President Barack Obama to a state dinner.

We have four Liberal years ahead of us and I don’t feel cynical about the future. My cynicism has always been my worst quality. It’s good to shrug it off.

Toronto Star

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