Thursday, July 22, 2021

A Policy Election

In the last federal election, Justin Trudeau focused on the opposition. In the upcoming election, he'll focus on policy. David Olive writes:

Recall that in the Grits’ desultory 2019 election campaign, the PM mostly inveighed against his opponents, offering little sense of what he would do with a renewed electoral mandate.

Or why he even wanted one.

But two years and one pandemic later, Trudeau has big plans for Canada.

He wants to preside over a renaissance of our G7 economy. That won’t be the Grits’ sole message on the campaign trail, of course. But it’s the one they’re most committed to this time out.

To a large extent, the Liberals are simply going with the flow.

Justin Trudeau has been traveling the country introducing policy and programs:

The forceful steps Ottawa began taking last year in retooling the economy account in part for Canada’s strong-than-expected economic recovery so far. And so they’ve shaped the economic and industrial policy reforms the Liberals will emphasize in their bid to reclaim the Commons majority they lost in 2019.

The “economy” is of course a catch-all for job creation, wage gains, innovation, and greater industrial and export prowess.

And the economy, especially if framed as an imperative and lucrative industrial renaissance, is a high card for the Grits.

On July 5, the PM was in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., to announce up to $450 million to help Algoma Steel phase out coal-fired steelmaking.

On July 9, the PM was in fast-growing Surrey, B.C., to announce federal funding of up to $1.3 billion to extend Vancouver’s SkyTrain from Surrey to Langley, another large Vancouver ex-urb.

Last week, Trudeau was in Montreal to announce Ottawa’s $440-million share of a $693-million joint investment with Quebec to revitalize Canada’s aerospace sector.

Despite Bombardier Inc.’s widely reported woes, the Canadian aerospace industry still accounts for about 60,000 direct jobs across the country, many related to innovations in engine and airframe efficiency.

A closer look shows that the Grit investments are well-aligned with the issues Canadians have identified as their top priorities. Which are job creation; a “clean” economic recovery from the pandemic; a Canada that punches above its weight in innovation; and a path to deficit reduction made possible by the above.

Kim Campbell opined that an election is not the time to discuss policy. But, this time around, it looks like that is exactly what will happen.

Image: Caracas Chronicles


Anonymous said...

With all due respect to David Olive, hopping across the country distributing federal Easter eggs before an election is a strategy as old as the hills. I really don't see much new here, let alone a policy discussion.

Trudeau talks about green economic growth, but greenwashing is all I see. Air travel is a major contributor to global warming, but we're pumping more cash into it to shore up Lib seats in QC. As for Algoma Steel, steel prices are at record highs, the company is awash with cash and was long planning to replace its inefficient old coal-fired blast furnaces with a modern electric-arc system. Why are Canadian taxpayers paying Algoma's American private equity owners to do what they planned to do anyway? What a scam, but that's par for the course around election time.


Owen Gray said...

Elections have always been about handing out cash, Cap. I'm told that, at election time, my great grandfather would travel the Eastern Townships with a valise full of whiskey. That was common currency in those days.

Anonymous said...

Where is the program for our dangerously polluted climate?? Where.? Anyong

Owen Gray said...

A good question, Anyong.

zoombats said...

"Kim Campbell opined that an election is not the time to discuss policy". It is becoming ever harder to take any of them seriously.I sure would have loved living in the Eastern Townships and receive a bottle of wiskey from my candidate.It would be pretty hard not to talk openly over a few shots around the fire.

Ben Burd said...

A 'policy election' in the dog days of summer - that's a non-starter dreamt up by a policy whiz kid in the PMO.

A sure starter for a non-interested, lazy, and couldn't care less voter - yep that idea will win votes a participation!

Owen Gray said...

Whiskey does have a distinct advantage, zoombats. It loosens the tongue.

Owen Gray said...

That's why the results of this election are hard to predict, Ben. I still have no idea what many Canadians are thinking.

The Disaffected Lib said...

With the country in the grip of climate emergency, arguably the gravest threat faced by this nation in its existence, the Libs focus will be on the economy.

I assume the Libs have done their polling and found that the hearts and minds of the electorate* are still dominated by the economy.

So, $1.3 billion to extend the Sky Train line to Langley. I was drawn to that entry because it adds perspective to the $1.4 billion for climate mitigation and adaptation just announced by Dame Cathy McKenna. Of course, McKenna's new climate money will be meted out over 12-years so, in todays terms that's chump change. It does speak volumes for the Pipeline Kid's concern over the climate emergency.

* "electorate" as in enough to garner the votes of about 36% of the voting public, the support that now translates into a majority government.

Owen Gray said...

We could certainly use proportional representation, Mound. Unfortunately, we won't get it for a long time.

Northern PoV said...

"We could certainly use proportional representation, Mound. Unfortunately, we won't get it for a long time."

In the meantime, we have to deal with fptp. It is the only option available. Reality!

So the question, to me at least, is clear:
What outcome would provide the best day to day governance, better long-term attention to the existential eco/climate crisis and be more likely to lead to pro-rep reform?

The answer, to me at least, is also clear:
minority parliament. If strategic thinkers look at their local riding contests and vote with that aim in mind, most of those thinkers will choose the Orange this time around. Especially if the Greens continue to implode and the Blues continue to pitch to their shrinking & antediluvian base.

On the other hand, progressives could act like spoilt children this time around and just spoil their ballots. That'll show them!

Northern PoV said...

Sorry for the double posts. I saw this and wished I'd linked to it in the first post.

Owen Gray said...

Lots of us have voted strategically for a long time, PoV. But that also means looking a the conditions and candidates locally, not just nationally.

BJ Bjornson said...

We will never get a policy election, because the Conservatives don’t have any popular policies to run on, not even with their own base. So they, and the Conservative-owned media, focus on ‘scandals’ and personality and culture war BS to keep their base engaged. The centrist media goes along because they are more afraid of being called biased by the Cons then doing their jobs, and policy questions just get ignored.

It would be nice if it weren’t the case. I can recall a conversation I had with relatives before the last election where they were complaining about changes Harper had made, and which I pointed out Trudeau had reversed. They grudgingly accepted that, but still intended to vote Conservative despite those changes they hated still being part of the Con platform. Trudeau sucks and hates oil and hates the West, and so on and so forth. That his actual policies are better for them, and even if they hate the actual policies the Conservatives have, their minds are made up based on how they’ve been told to feel about Trudeau. And it is remarkably easy to gin up outrage in that population and thus keep them onside. So that’s what we will see during the campaign. Stuff designed to outrage the Conservative base. And the NDP will join in as they always do, since they figure damaging the Liberals gives them a better chance. Which I suppose is technically true, though the most frequent actual result is handing victory to the Cons like it did when the ‘orange wave’ gave us a Harper majority.

Owen Gray said...

What you say about the Conservatives is true, BJ. One can only hope that their base is shrinking.