“OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first months in office were the least productive of any government in the House of Commons in more than two decades, data compiled by the Library of Parliament shows.
Parliament passed 10 bills during Trudeau’s first nine months, the public database reveals. In their first nine months after winning a majority mandate in 2011, the Conservatives enacted 18 pieces of legislation — including nine bills moved in their first 23 days.” excerpt from the column by Althia Raj.
This is a government afraid to ‘take the reigns’ of power. A majority administration isn’t something for which the Trudeau Liberals were prepared. They probably expected a hung Parliament, as I did, but surprised themselves the morning after the election. Many of their election campaign promises were made in the heat of battle with Conservatives; some ideas were not thoroughly considered.
The government is too pre-occupied with ‘openness’ and ‘consultation’ sensing that their public image will suffer if they make decisions; they don’t want to appear ‘hands on’ quite the way Harper’s crew managed things.
A majority gives a government the power to do just about anything so long as it doesn’t run aground with the Supreme Court. This gives a PM nearly unlimited power, which I suspect, isn’t particularly comfortable for Justin, a sensitive, affable charmer who wants people to love him. In a campaign, this may be a strength but, in government, this is more likely a liability.
During a political campaign, a leader needs voters to like him (or her) because people find it quite difficult to vote for a leader they dislike but, once in government, a leader needs to be feared, at least a little. Governing isn’t a popularity contest.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Justin’s Liberals find campaigning far easier than governing but he has a sharp cadre of politicos advising him who will prove to be sensitive to this ‘problem.’
The fact that people generally are cutting him a lot of slack helps too because the Opposition has to be cautious about their criticism which might be judged unfair by a fickle public.
Judging from many of her articles, Althia Raj has a Conservative bias, so it isn’t surprising that the focus of her column can be viewed as unfriendly to Liberals. It is arguable whether or not a government should be ‘judged’ a success by the number of bills passed in a Parliamentary session, rather than the quality of the legislation given Royal Assent. Legislation under Harper’s Conservatives too often failed at the Supreme Court, which caused political embarrassment.
Justin is young. One cannot expect him to possess the sophistication of a seasoned veteran but he is a quick study. I think Brian Mulroney was incisive when, before Justin was chosen Liberal leader, he said, “he is the real deal.”
NB: I am careful about spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. When this post was first published, I used the word ‘reign,’ conscious of the inference that may arise for Conservative leaning readers. There is a poetic licence involved here and a sarcastic nuance that suggest that ‘reign’ is the correct spelling.
A dear friend pointed out a similar effect with the word ‘real’ in the last line, which could be ‘reel.’
Anyway, I edited the ‘reign’ back to ‘rein’ this morning and now re-edited (is there such a word?) ‘rein’ to ‘reign’, thanks to my dear friend’s complimentary email. G.B.
Professional. Retired. Canadian.