As I write this column in early September, the federal election campaign has just begun. This means the silliness will start. I find it quite odd how elections have devolved into a continuous series of ridiculous promises by all parties, as if the government has an endless supply of money to spend. In reality of course, the government has no money, it is all taxpayer money, so we are being bribed with our own money. This is a sad state of affairs.
Think back to 2015 when we had a mini bout of Trudeaumania. Trudeau the Junior demonstrated he was probably a good drama teacher. In his speeches, he appeared to have a strong grasp of all the issues. As it turned out, he just used words well and actually had little understanding of the major issues. When he was not giving a prepared speech, he just wandered off topic, and we were left with no idea of what he was saying.
Now here we are in 2019, and what has happened over the last four years? Basically, it has been a continuous series of bad policy decisions, and Mr. Trudeau should be made to answer a lot of questions. For instance, with a growing economy and falling unemployment, why is the government running huge deficits? The case for government stimulus in an economy is tenuous at best and non-existent in a growing economy. How does the government propose to pay for all of this debt servicing when interest rates are starting to climb? A lot of people, including myself, warned that when Mr. Trudeau got elected he would behave exactly like his father did. Trudeau the Senior left us with an economy where the amount of taxpayer money spent on servicing the outstanding debt nearly bankrupted the government. Like father like son.
And then there was the pipeline mess. The Trudeau administration made a decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline. As I wrote in 2018 in this publication, this appeared to be a completely vacuous decision. This decision angered both the opponents and the proponents of the pipeline. An alternative solution would have been to speed up the regulatory process. At least this would have only angered the opponents of the pipeline.
Let us not forget the SNC-Lavalin scandal. I recommend reading the recently published report by ethics commissioner Mario Dion. Mr. Dion found that Mr. Trudeau was guilty of conflict of interest (and this is not the first time). Mr. Dion found that Mr. Trudeau (along with Gerald Butts) exhibited partisan political motivations for pressuring Jody Wilson-Raybould into overturning a duly constituted criminal prosecution. There is a pattern here. This served to alienate both female voters and aboriginal voters.
In his report, Mr. Dion quoted Mr. Trudeau as saying, “We can have the best policy in the world, but we need to be re-elected.” Given the bad policy decisions made by Mr. Trudeau, I say good luck with that.
Frank Atkins is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.