In 2015 Justin Trudeau promised to be open, accessible, and transparent. In 2019 he left his “sunny ways” behind.
A government statement from then notes, “we will shine more light on government to ensure it remains focused on the people it is meant to serve. Openness and transparency will be our constant companions, and we will work to restore Canadians’ trust in their government and in our democracy.”
In the case of journalists, well, “we have respect for journalists in this country!” Trudeau once shouted.
Today, Trudeau and his government stand in stark contrast to their earlier selves.
Now that he’s juggling the damning SNC-Lavalin scandal which has cost the Prime Minister two cabinet ministers and threatens to tear down his government post-election, a rapidly growing deficit with no end in sight, blackfaced and without the veneer of virtue, it seems the PM has reversed course.
Instead of sunny ways, Trudeau embarked on a campaign strategy based on a combination of expensive policies, as well as outright and brazen fear-mongering coupled with as little transparency as possible to both the media and voters.
For example, while the Trudeau government argues that Canada is heading towards a world-ending scenario by way of climate change, it also provides $2000 for families to go camping.
The program will add roughly $150 million to the deficit when fully implemented and send 75,000 low-income families into a provincial or national park.
Ignoring the obvious flaw that low-income families would likely just prefer that cash to help with rent, you’d imagine with a climate crisis on our hands, funds would be spent responsibly on policies that would save our lives and not frivolous vote buying.
But of course, finances with clear reasonable priorities should not be expected from the Liberals, especially when budgets are supposed to balance themselves.
If people call you out on it? The Liberal strategy is to do everything you can to hide the flaws.
For example, when it comes to the Liberal party’s $27 billion deficit filled platform, Trudeau and his team won’t be costing their promises with the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), even though other parties have done so already, and the Liberals themselves created the system to encourage responsiblity.
This is not a joke. They themselves created the system and they won’t be using it.
In their 2015 platform, the Liberals said allowing parties to provide independent costing through the PBO “would help Canadians make informed decisions” and give voters a “credible, non-partisan way to compare each party’s fiscal plans.”
While the party has refused to provide transparent financial information through the PBO, it has also refused to answer almost any detailed questions, preferring instead to either bar journalists or altogether ignore them when they demand answers.
Once again, I am not kidding.
Throughout the campaign, the Liberal party has banned journalist Andrew Lawton for his “lack of credentials,” while allowing writers for “Socialist Action” inside without any problems.
It turns out, if you aren’t a part of the media bailout, and don’t share a left-wing view similar to the Liberal government, you may have difficulty getting in.
Of course, getting in is only half the answer.
When journalists like Andrew are not being chased by Liberal staffers, and a journalist gets to ask a tough question, Trudeau literally ignores it, preferring to respond with rhetoric that in some cases makes little to no sense.
Yesterday the Prime Minister ignored a question on climate change.
Today, he dodged one on gun policy.
Tomorrow he will likely ignore another. That should worry everyone.
In 2019, the Liberals have changed. Gone are flowery politics and promises of transparency.
In its place, all that remains are grand promises, with no guarantee of success, made with the sole goal of buying your vote.
Ask yourself, what are promises worth if they have little chance of succeeding?
Perhaps most importantly, what kind of person makes promises they know they cannot keep?
In 2019, regardless of who wins, Canada deserves a transparent leader who can present a realistic future.