As the second youngest Prime Minister in Canadian history and son of former PM Pierre, Justin Trudeau has been making waves as the fresh new face of Canadian Politics. But more than just his image, Trudeau has made a number of proposals that promise to reform a decade of Conservative policies, making him not only the most memorable, but perhaps the most ambitious prime minister right out of the gate.
Here is a list of initiatives his Liberal Party has pledged to accomplish in office:
1. Increase Spending
Throughout his campaign, Trudeau has promised to reverse the former policy of balanced budgets in favor of running deficits to fund infrastructure development projects and green investments plans. Trudeau claims his increase in spending will boost the Canadian economy in the face of low oil prices and the current recession. However, conservatives condemn Trudeau’s spending as backsliding against the progress Harper maintained the past decade, which saw Canadians through the global financial crisis. Trudeau promises to balance the budget by 2019 to compensate for his deficits, part of which he will account for by raising taxes on the 1%, specifically 4% on Canadians who earn over $20,000.
2. Legalize Marijuana
Trudeau has argued that excessive criminalization of the drug has led to an unnecessary increase criminal records, especially by minors, as well as increase costs for law enforcement. While not controversial with the larger population, Trudeau had been criticized by conservatives for his prior use of the drug while in Parliament. Trudeau’s promise of legalization directly contradicts Harper’s longstanding critical policy, which criminalized marijuana on the grounds of health risks. Though committed to legalization since 2013, it is still unclear to what extent Trudeau will prioritize the issue, and how he plans to tax and regulate it.
3. Prioritize Women’s Issues
A self-proclaimed feminist, Trudeau has made it know he plans to prioritize women’s issues while in office. Trudeau’s response when asked why making his cabinet gender equal was important, (“Because it’s 2015”), has received wide praise by Canadians. Among equal representation, Trudeau has pledged to investigate 1,200 cases of missing or slain indigenous Canadian women. The issue has been gaining international attention through the UN and CEDAW. Despite the increasing recognition, the Tories had previously rejected popular demands to launch a similar inquiry.
4. End Canadian Combat with Iraq and Syria
In contrast to Harper’s anti-terrorist efforts, Trudeau has pledged to end Canada’s combat mission against Iraq and Syria. Along with removing troops, the Prime Minister has vowed to update Canada’s fighter jet fleet to close a hole in national defense. However, Canada will remain committed to training missions, intelligence sharing, and humanitarian aid. While Conservatives have argued that Trudeau’s foreign policy is “weak” and “foolish”, he has called for a more comprehensive international approach to fighting terror.
5. Increase Incoming Refugees
Since his election to Parliament, Trudeau has reaffirmed his commitment to a pluralistic, multicultural Canada the accurately reflects the population. In an effort to maintain Canada’s image of cultural acceptance in response to Harper’s moderate proposal to accept only 10,000 refugees over 4 years, Trudeau has been filmed welcoming Syrian refugees as they first land in Canada. His enhanced proposal calls for accepting 25,000 refugees and $100 million resettlement investment. However, his plans were scaled back following the Paris terrorist attacks in December and have yet to be resumed.
6. Build the Keystone XL Pipeline
Contrary to his Liberal contemporaries, Trudeau has declared his endorsement of the Keystone XL Pipeline, a controversial project that would involve transporting oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The proposal is disliked by American Democrats because of the ecological ramifications, yet Trudeau pledges to renegotiate with Obama after revaluating the deal to increase environmental renegotiations while boosting the Canadian economy. Trudeau is hailed as the greener counterpart to Harper, who cut environmental programs to balance the budget. Meanwhile, Trudeau appeared at the Paris Climate Conference in December, where he held his own on negotiations that seek to end practices of setting (and missing) arbitrary emission-reduction targets. Moving forward, Trudeau has stated he wants to partner with the rest of North America to improve transnational climate issues.