Prime Minister Stephen Harper was ousted from power on 19 October 2015, ending a decade of Conservative reign in Canada. One of the things I became fond of saying in the last few years was that Harper’s Canada was not my Canada.
I grew up in a country where people mostly live and let live, and where it’s generally not cool to tell another person what he can or cannot do – even if you’re the government. I grew up in a Canada that looked after the welfare of all its citizens, not just those who have enough money to pay for services. I grew up in a country that celebrates diversity as a mosaic, and not a melting pot. My Canada is a place where even the Prime Minister once declared that the government has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.
That was not how Canada felt after more than a decade of Harper’s rule.
But now the citizens have spoken, and a new era has begun. There is much damage to repair, but already by his swearing in on the 5th of November, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had chosen a cabinet in which men and women were equally represented – and in which there were no more “junior” Cabinet Ministers whose portfolios were seen as somehow less important than others. And before the first 100 days of his term had passed, Trudeau had announced the first step in Senate reform by choosing to appoint new Senators on the basis of merit and not party affiliation.
It is time for a major overhaul in Canada. It’s time to rebuild our nation in line with Canadian values, and not those of corporations or religious and cultural extremists. There is much work to do, just as there is much work to do on this new blog of mine. But as our new PM wanted to hit the ground running, I also wanted to get posting first and to take time as I can spare it, to decorate the site itself. So I do hope you’ll excuse me if you arrive and things look rather “bare bones” at the time!
Changes to Watch for in Canada
Here are some of the areas where you can expect to see change in Canada over the coming months:
- Increased family benefits for parents of young children – and an honest effort to work with the provinces so that federal benefits won’t be clawed back;
- Seeking feedback from ordinary people, including youth, before passing legislation;
- More representation of indigenous peoples and women in Parliament and the Senate;
- A merit-based Senate in which Senators sit as independent members who represent their respective provinces and territories, rather than a political party;
- Legalization of marijuana;
- Investment in infrastructure and job creation;
- Reversing budget cuts to the arts and sciences, and removing the muzzle that was placed on scientists during the Harper era;
- Improved benefits for veterans and senior citizens;
- A renewed investment in bilingualism, including free help for those who wish to learn or maintain their knowledge of either English or French as a second language;
- And much, much more!
I will try to address several different issues here each week, either by sharing news or giving my personal take on events and promised changes for Canada. I hope you’ll join me here to learn more about a Canada under reconstruction, and to share your thoughts on how things are shaping up under the new Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.
Image Credit: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by Jean-Marc Carisse, courtesy of Wikipedia; CC BY 2.0