COLUMN: Trudeau misses the mark

MORRISBURG — Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau released his party’s platform in the run up for the 2015  Federal Election this fall. When it comes to a hodgepodge of promises and ideas, this document fails to disappoint. However the younger Trudeau misses the mark.

Picking through the document, a few things jump that clearly show that Trudeau does not understand the priorities and immediate needs of Canadians. It smacks of the Trudeau-way of telling you what is good for you, not helping you to do better.

Case in point, electoral reform. Trudeau the Younger, wants to move away from the first-past-the-post system of voting to one more representative of Canadian’s wishes. Electoral reform is not top-of-mind for Canadians. How can you get more representative of a vote than giving a ballot to a person and have them put a mark beside a person’s name? The one with the most votes wins. This is not rocket science, it’s voting. Changing the way government is elected, to say a movable vote method where you rank the ballot choices, adds confusion to the system. There is nothing wrong with the first-past-the-post system other than, for the Liberals, they have been out of power for nearly 10 years now because other parties have benefited from… the votes of the first-past-the-post system.

Further on electoral reform. Trudeau the Younger wishes for mandatory voting. Sounds great in theory, but I would prefer only those who pay attention to the process actually vote in it. Forcing someone to vote could mean a voter making uneducated choices, that does not benefit anyone in the system.

Regarding the Federal Cabinet, Trudeau wants gender parody. Why? If the goal of gender equality is to have gender to cease being a deciding factor in judging whether someone is deserving of the job, why force yourself to pick exactly 50% Women and 50% Men? The problem with gender quotas is it takes out the part about merit, and qualification. This also applies to language quotas but that is a topic for another column. Gender should not matter in selecting a cabinet minister, or a judge, an office staffer or even the bus boy, er, bus person. Qualification, experience, knowledge of job, that is what should matter. Not gender.  If that meant that 90% of the cabinet was female and only 10% was male, who cares. So long as 100% of those in the cabinet are qualified for the portfolios they are to run.

Trudeau plans on reforming Elections Canada to allow for online voting. This is a dangerous and foolish policy. We have seen hacking, credit card fraud, and damaging attacks on Information Technology across the globe. Trusting our democratic institution to a system no more secure than voting in a Facebook Poll is ludicrous.

The Liberals are pledging to reform the Canada Revenue Agency, fat chance. They had the better part of 100 years to do that, it’s doubtful another kick of the can will yield results.

Trudeau’s understanding of the Senate and the constitution is weak at best. He has pledged to move the Senate away from partisanship. The Senate has never been devoid of partisanship. The framers of the British North America Act crafted the Canadian Senate to be a chamber that was appointed by the Governor General based on the advise of the sitting Prime Minister. No matter what you do to the Senate, you are going to have partisanship. Partisanship is NOT the issue with the Canadian Senate. A lack of accountability because Canadians are not allowed to elect their Senators is the problem with the Canadian Senate. A lack of clear rules for Senators expenses, a lack of oversight for Senate spending, that is a problem with the Canadian Senate. Not that it runs on party lines.

Trudeau has stated that Prime Minster Harper has “turned Ottawa into a partisan swamp” and that it wasn’t like that when his father was Prime Minister. This is what happens when we stop teaching history in Canadian schools, people fail to learn what happened in the past. Trudeau the Younger should look at some of his father’s appointments to the judiciary, the Senate, to the foreign service as Ambassadors. He should also look at how his father conducted favoritism with contracts, awarding Liberal-friendly firms with lucrative contracts from polling and advertising, to construction. Crack a book sometime Trudeau the Younger.

All of these platform planks, tax reform, voting reform, partisanship reform, are all grey policies. They don’t mean anything. They are feel-good policy planks. It matches his “Hope and hard work” slogan. Touchy-feely, feel-good buzzwords that play on emotion over logic. They all miss the mark on what Canadians are really looking for, what they are really worried about. Jobs. Economy. Money.

Having the CRA help me file my taxes does not do me any good, if my income drops due to downsizing. Having a gender-balanced cabinet does not grow jobs in Canada. Having Trudeau clean up the “partisan swamp” of Ottawa does not help me save for my retirement or my children’s education. This is not to say that the NDP or Conservatives have offered anything better, all three parties are missing the mark here.

Trudeau has tried with this platform to take the 1970’s style progressive ideals of his father and stuff it into an emotional vote plea in 2015. It does not focus on the key worries of Canadians and falls short. It clearly has missed the mark.

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