It was in a speech on March 4, 1933, that Franklin D. Roosevelt mentioned for the first time the concept that he would deliver 100 days of action now that he was elected. Since then the 100 day mark has become a pretty common marker when looking at a newly elected politician’s performance.
Plus over the years we have seen how the actions of a government in that 100 day time frame, tends to set the tone for its mandate. One can look back at the Harper Conservatives and the initial clashes with the media, the introduction of tight message control and the insistence that ministers and MPs toe the line to see to see how those early days gave a pretty good glimpse into their future.
Today, the Trudeau Liberals are 55 days into their mandate, just past the half way point of their first 100 days. What have we seen so far?
There has been lots of glamour and glitz. Justin isn’t called PM Selfie for nothing, but so what… in politics if it works you use it. He is of a younger generation which has grown up on their cell phones; he is approachable and photogenic… I can’t think of any politician, who wouldn’t use those qualities to their advantage. So far it has helped Trudeau to set a new tone and the media are still wrapped up in the photo ops.
But it is substance that he has to worry about and as the year progresses Canadians will have different markers to measure him against- broken promises being one of them. Implementing his climate package will have a cost in jobs lost; there will be potential increases in food, gas, and travel costs and so on. We still haven’t seen his real deficit numbers. We don’t know how he will pay to reduce those deficits over a four year period. Will there be tax increases, or programs cut? Where is their much talked about infrastructure program? Conservatives know how tough it was to get money out the door for such items. Will we see more shifting goal posts on this one?
When a government takes action, there is always a cost involved. When Canadians start looking at their bank balance each pay day they tend to forget photo ops.
Trudeau’s constantly shifting timelines and numbers for the Syrian refugees will also cost him. Why, because Canadians don’t like to be misled by their politicians. They will forgive a few rookie mistakes, but we are seeing a pattern emerge be it on refugees or the deficit numbers or the CF-18s. While the media have covered the shifting numbers they haven’t yet really gotten their teeth into what all of this will cost?
Why for instance as it has been reported are there per diems for each refugee to pay for hotel meals, why not a set menu negotiated by the department? Why are refugees staying in hotels when supposedly our military bases had kicked our troops out of their quarters to make way for the refugees? Just how many are staying on military bases today? What did it cost to prepare these bases if they aren’t being used? Those are just a few of dozens of questions on this one issue that remains unanswered?
Trudeau’s immigration minister is a disaster even at this early stage. Every time McCallum speaks it’s a negative news story- new numbers, new dates, and another taxpayer funded trip to a refugee camp for yet another photo op with smiling refugees. Trudeau did promise Canadians that his ministers would be allowed to do their own thing and I am sure the opposition parties are enjoying McCallum’s inept tenure.
Fifty-five days in and we still don’t know when they will keep their promise to bring our CF-18s home. Nor do we know the size of the training force they are planning, what their exact mission will be or what the “Rules of Engagement” will be. The Defence minister is lucky that Canadians are distracted right now with the holidays and of course there is no Question Period where the opposition parties can go directly after both Trudeau and his ministers.
However the one item that will cause him the greatest grief is still waiting on the horizon. Democratic reform and how our voting system will be changed will be coming up soon. How the Trudeau Liberals handle it will become the key marker for this mandate. At this very early stage we are already seeing signs of the arrogance that plagued former Liberal governments. For Trudeau’s advisors to think that a few Liberal MPs with 39% of the popular vote can dictate by a majority vote in the House of Commons, how we will vote in the future is a serious underestimation of Canadians voters. It is the one issue that crosses party lines and can galvanize a population into action. Everyone has an opinion on this subject, as it directly impacts their rights as a citizen.
Trudeau had better hope that the opposition parties agree to him only showing up one day a week in Question Period where he can be held accountable for his government’s actions or at this early stage inaction would be a better description.
Confusion, inept issue management and arrogance are not the way this was supposed to play out for the Liberals. Remember Trudeau is all about “sunny days”. But even sunny days have storm clouds on the horizon. This will be a fun year to follow politics.