Nov.4, 2016, marked the one year anniversary of the present federal government. The following report attempts to inform the CFUW membership of the Liberal Government's actions to date on 10 of its election promises. The following questions were drawn up by members of the CFUW Mississauga Issues Group for presentation to candidates before the 2015 federal election. The ﬁrst review was done in March, the second in July. This is the third and ﬁnal review for this year. A selected announcement is included from each review. Red stars beside the question indicate the government response to this issue is less than stellar, green stars indicate the issue is being addressed by the government as promised, and mixed stars show some progress, some lack of progress.
Evaluation of Progress one year later:
2 Promises failed to address the issue by any standards
2 Promises met the federal government’s goals
*** #1 Fair Elections Act of 2014
Question: What is your position on the following changes to the act?
Mr. Trudeau promised he’d introduce electoral reform legislation within 18 months of forming government. The legislation would be based on the recommendations of a special, all-party parliamentary committee mandated to fully and fairly study alternatives to ﬁrst-past-the-post, including ranked ballots and proportional representation. The committee would also explore the notions of mandatory voting and online voting.
Jan. 2, 2016 -
“It is not our plan to have a referendum to ratify electoral reform of ﬁrst past the post system. There will be a parliamentary committee to consider including preferential ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting and online voting,”
Source: Gov’t House Leader Dominic LeBlanc
July 6, 2016 -
The government encouraged Canadians to learn about electoral reform on its new website designed to help ”everyday Canadians” to plan, host and share the results of the dialogue about electoral reform.
Source: Government of Canada web page
August 19, 2016 -
With a mandate to broadly consult Canadians from all walks of life, the Special Committee on Electoral Reform will criss-cross Canada this coming September and October. The Committee will use this opportunity to hold formal hearings and public sessions where members of the public may share their views on electoral reform, online voting and mandatory voting. For the open-mic sessions, it will be first come, first served. The format for these public sessions and the specific locations for the sessions remain to be determined. A press release providing further details will be issued at a later date.
The Committee’s mandate was set out in the motion adopted by the House of Commons on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. The Committee must present its report to the House of Commons no later than December 1, 2016.
Source: Government of Canada web page.
*** #2 NATIONAL ENQUIRY INTO THE LOST AND MURDERED ABORIGINAL WOMEN
What is your stand on the issue of a national investigation into the many murdered and lost Aboriginal women and girls?
Dec. 9, 2015
Ministers Carolyn Bennett (Indigenous and Northern Affairs), Jody WilsonRaybould (Justice and Attorney General) and Patty Hajdu (Status of Women) made the announcement in Ottawa, breaking down what is to be a two phase process. The ﬁrst phase is to begin immediately and will involve meeting with families of victims, frontline service workers, national Aboriginal, provincial, and territorial representatives over the next two months. This phase will be used to design and set the scope of the inquiry.
While the Liberals outlined a two-year, $40 million commitment to the inquiry, Minister Bennett was clear that the ﬁgures were simply “place holders” in the platform and would be adjusted depending on what the ministers heard as consultations progressed.
Government of Canada launches inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
*** # 3 YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT
What answers do you have to help rectify the ongoing youth unemployment situation in Canada today?
Justin Trudeau said a Liberal government would create 40,000 youth jobs each year for three years as part of a $1.3-billion jobs program. Key to the program would be the 40,000 youth jobs, paid internships and co-op placements through an annual $300-million investment in a new Youth Employment Strategy. The party also promised to pay up to one-quarter of a co-op student’s salary, up to a maximum of $5,000, for every new position an employer creates.
February 2016, the Government announced that it would create up to 35,000 additional jobs in each of the next three years under the Canada Summer Jobs program. The investment of $339 million over three years starting in 2016-17, would nearly double the number of job opportunities supported by the program.
Source: Government of Canada web page
July 19, 2016
Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) provides funding to not-for-proﬁt organizations, public-sector employers, and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to create summer job opportunities for students.
CSJ creates summer job opportunities and provides valuable work experience for youth intending to return to their studies full-time in the next school year. The program also helps employers generate jobs that focus on priorities important to their local communities as well as on a number of national priorities that include:
- employers who help welcome and settle Syrian refugees to Canada, as well as Syrian students
- Indigenous people, who are among the fastest-growing segments of the Canadian population
- small businesses working to become more innovative, competitive and successful, in recognition of their key contribution to the creation of new jobs
- cultural and creative industries looking to create jobs and to strengthen our rich Canadian identity. This latter priority will support the planning of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.
Oct. 19, 2016
The Federal Student Work Experience Program announces jobs now and upcoming November and January provides full-time students with the opportunity to explore their interests and develop their skills.
- Students are not required to have previous work experience in order to apply
- Students must meet the program's eligibility criteria
- Jobs can be offered on a full or part-time basis
*** # 4 USEFULNESS OF THE LONG FORM CENSUS
Where will Stats Canada get its information for developing long range policies relevant to the needs of our citizens if the Long Form Census is no longer used?
“A promise to "immediately" restore the long-form census was one of the planks in the Liberal Party's platform during the recent federal election. The day after the election, the Liberal government reinstated the mandatory long-form census (for 2016) that was scrapped by the Conservatives ﬁve years ago.
"We need good, reliable data," said Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains, who made the announcement on Parliament Hill.”
Source: Bruce Campion-Smith, Ottawa Bureau beta.thestar.com
May 10, 2016
Canada Census marked the reinstatement of the mandatory long-form census, which had been dropped in favour of the voluntary National Household Survey for the 2011 census.
*** #5 PROVIDING SAFE, CLEAN WATER FOR ABORIGINAL RESERVES
What would you do to remedy this situation?
As of September 30, 2015, there were 138 Drinking Water Advisories in effect in 94 First Nations communities across Canada, excluding British Columbia.
Oct. 7, 2015 -
Voice News Canada managing editor Natalie Alcoba asked, “just to be clear,” if Trudeau was indeed promising clean water on all reserves within ﬁve years of forming government.
“In all those 93 communities, yes,” Trudeau replied.
(Apparently one reserve had clean water in the week after the ﬁrst statement.)
No policy established as yet by the new government.
As of May 31, 2016, there were 126 Drinking Water Advisories in effect in 84 First Nation communities across Canada, excluding British Columbia.
Note: Health Canada no longer reports drinking water advisories in British Columbia First Nations.
June 7, 2016, Tanya Talaga Global Economics Reporter
One of the world’s leading human rights groups has turned its focus on the consequences of the decades-old problem of contaminated water in indigenous communities throughout Ontario. From July 2015 to April 2016, Human Rights Watch conducted research in 99 homes located in Ontario First Nations, examining water and sanitation surveys in Batchewana, Grassy Narrows, Shoal Lake 40, Neskantaga, and Six Nations of Grand River. They found children suffering with skin disorders, mothers who spend hours a day disinfecting bottles to feed their babies, children and adults skipping baths, and, the presence of E.coli and other pollutants in untreated water. There are unsafe water advisories for 133 water systems — 89 in First Nations communities across Canada, according to their 92page report, “Make it Safe: Canada’s Obligation to End the First Nations Water Crisis,” released on Tuesday
Nov. 7, 2016, Health Canada Update
Short and long term drinking water advisories that are in place in First Nation communities on reserve located south of the 60 degree parallel in Canada.
As of 30 September, 2016, there were 139 Drinking Water Advisories in effect in 94 First Nations communities across Canada, excluding British Columbia. The longest running water advisory is in the Neskantaga First Nation in Ontario, where residents have been boiling their water for 20 years.
*** #6 CLIMATE CHANGE & GREENHOUSE-GAS EMISSIONS If elected, what steps would you take to see that Canada undertakes its commitments to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and meet international commitments on climate change?
After the Paris Conference Prime Minister Trudeau issued a statement saying he will meet with the premiers within the next three months to hammer out Canada’s emission targets.
“We will move toward a climate resilient economy, and we will invest in public transit, green infrastructure and clean technologies to create new jobs and support our communities,” the statement said. Experts and environmentalists tried to inject a practical note into the celebration over the agreement, pointing out Canada still doesn’t have a national emissions target. The Conference did not set a target, nor has Canada released one yet, Conservative environment critic Ed Fast was quick to point out.
March 10, 2016, Washington, D.C.
“Canada and the U.S. will work together to implement the historic Paris Agreement, and commit to join and sign the Agreement as soon as feasible. As we implement our respective Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the leaders also commit to, in 2016, completing midcentury, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies pursuant to the Paris Agreement and encouraging this approach with members of the G-20.”
Source: Ofﬁce of the P.M.
April 22, 2016
Canada signed the Paris agreement to limit global temperature rise. The Paris Agreement was opened for signature on 22 April, 2016, at a highlevel signature ceremony convened by the Secretary General in New York. At that ceremony, 174 States and the European Union signed the agreement and 15 States also deposited their instruments of ratification.
Canada’s Record on Climate Change
The Canadian Government hands out around a billion dollars a year in tax breaks to oil, coal and gas companies.
Canada's annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are expected to be between 749 and 790 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2 eq) in 2020 and between 765 and 875 Mt CO2 eq in 2030, without taking into account the contribution of the land use, land use change and forestry sector (LULUCF).
Source: Canada's Second Biennial Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Sept. 30, 2016, Tim Louis on the Issues blog
“Are the federal Liberals really serious about climate change?”
- points out that the feds announced approval of $36 billion liquid natural gas project by Malaysia’s Petronas on B.C.’s north coast which includes the cost of Trans Canada Corp.’s commitment to build two related pipelines
- this will add massive amounts of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere
- LNG facility will use natural gas to generate the energy at a facility at the mouth the Skeena River ignoring Native Treaty rights
- (the Liberals earlier accused the Conservative government of abusing native rights when they made this proposal, but now feel it is quite acceptable.)
Oct. 5, 2016 Government of Canada
- ratiﬁed the Paris Agreement at the UN with a promise to keep global temperature increases below 2%;
- proposed a pan-Canadian approval to pricing carbon pollution with all jurisdictions to have carbon pricing in place by 2018.
*** #7 PRIVATIZATION OF PARKS CANADA
"What is your position on privatization within our National Parks?”
Workers at three mountain hot springs remain in limbo four years after Parks Canada announced it wanted to privatize the tourist attractions in Alberta and B.C. The initial announcement caused an uproar with local communities and First Nations, and protests and heated town hall meetings soon followed. Concerns include the impact on admission prices and whether the sites could be turned into private spas.
Parks would still own the facilities but would contract out the business operations at the Banff, Radium and Miette Hot Springs in Jasper.
The 2012 decision by Parks Canada put employees at the three sites in a perilous employment situation as they have a notification of affected status, which means the operations of the hot springs could face commercialization in the future.
Jan 11, 2016
Not everyone is opposed to commercializing the hot springs, with some optimistic that it could improve the visitor experience. "If something can be run more efficiently than it has in the past that would be a benefit to our mountain park users," said Casey Pierce with the Association for Mountain Parks Protection & Enjoyment.
Pierce questions whether Parks Canada should be running hot pools, considering the organization's mandate includes culture, ecological integrity, conservation and education.
"No wonder they were looking at options," she said.
Source: CBC News Calgary
Park Canada rejects Mother Canada memorial:
Blair Pardy, the ﬁeld unit superintendent from Cape Breton, wrote the Friends of Green Cove on Friday, saying that after careful consideration Parks Canada has decided to withdraw from the project.
"As a result, the project will not be moving forward on Parks Canada land." the message reads.
Source: Charles Mandel National Observer
Sept. 2, 2016
Parks Canada won’t privatize Rocky Mountain Hot springs after all:
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the government would no longer be seeking a private operator for the Banff Upper Hot Springs in Banff National Park, Radium Hot Springs in Kootenay National Park, and Miette Hot Springs in Jasper National Park. She said that after extensive analysis, the government has determined that it is in the best interest of Canadians for Parks Canada to retain the responsibility of running the hot springs.
“The decision for Parks Canada to keep the responsibility for operating the hot springs will mean all Canadians can continue to have access to the hot springs,” McKenna said in a release. “And it will make sure we are able to continue the traditional use of these special places by Indigenous Peoples.”
Source: Amanda Stephenson Calgary Herald.com
*** #8 AFFORDABLE HOUSING
How would you address the problem of funding more affordable housing?
Would you be willing to re-establish the partnership with the provinces and municipalities?
Sept. 9, 2015
“The Liberals promised to invest $20 billion in social infrastructure - $125 million annually to renovate the supply of rental housing; to ﬁnance affordable rental housing for middle and low income Canadians; inventory all available federal lands and buildings to see what could be repurposed, and make it available at low cost for affordable housing in communities where there is a pressing need; modernize the existing Home Buyers’ Plan so that it helps more Canadians ﬁnance the purchase of a home; and review escalating home prices in high-priced markets – like Vancouver and Toronto – to keep home ownership within reach for Canadians living in these areas.”
Source: Liberal Party web page
March 7, 2016
“In a new United Nations report released today, Canada is criticized harshly for its ongoing housing and homelessness crisis. Some of the problems identiﬁed by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights include: absence of a national housing strategy; insufﬁcient funding for housing; inadequate housing subsidy within the social assistance beneﬁt; shortage of social housing units; increased evictions related to rental arrears; increased numbers of homeless and lack of homelessness prevention; shortage of emergency shelters; laws that penalize people for being homeless; lack of adequate housing for people with psycho-social and intellectual disabilities; and the poor housing conditions of Canada’s indigenous peoples.”
Source: Right to Housing
June 21,2016, Government Canada
Measures over the next two years to give Canadians greater access to more affordable housing include:
Doubling of the current IAH funding levels by the Government of Canada and provinces and territories, to more than $1 billion over two years, starting in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.
Through the IAH, the Government of Canada is also providing over two years:
- $200.1 million to support the construction, repair and adaption of affordable housing for seniors;
- $89.9 million to support victims of family violence, and the construction and renovation of shelters and transition houses; and
- $177.7 million to address the housing needs in the North and Inuit communities.
Nov. 10, 2016, Ont. Ministry of Housing News Release
London, ON - The Governments of Canada and Ontario, along with the City of London, celebrated the ofﬁcial opening of 18 new affordable housing initiatives in London and the surrounding area today.
“Our Government is dedicated to helping those in need, which is why we are proud to have invested in these projects in London and surrounding area. The 281 new housing units we are announcing today are more than just safe and affordable places to live, they are key to a better life for the residents who will call them home.” Kate Young MP for London West
*** #9 EARLY LEARNING AND CHILD CARE
What is your stand on a national child care policy?
What will you do to ensure equitable access to top quality and affordable child care for all Canadians?
“The Liberal Party of Canada promised to develop a child care framework that meets the needs of Canadian families, wherever they live. Child care needs vary from family to family, and provinces and territories have responded to these needs in different ways. A one-size-ﬁts all national program – particularly one that imposes pre-determined costs on other orders of government – is impractical and unfair.
We will meet with provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities to begin work on a new National Early Learning and Child Care Framework, to deliver affordable, high-quality, ﬂexible, and fully inclusive child care for Canadian families. This work will begin in the ﬁrst 100 days of a Liberal government and will be funded through our investments in social infrastructure. The framework we design together will be administered in collaboration with, and in respect of, provincial jurisdictions.”
Source: Liberal Party of Canada
. . .proposes to invest $500 million in 2017-18 to support the establishment of a National Framework on Early Learning and Child Care. Of this amount, $100 million would be for Indigenous child care and early learning on reserve.. . . Developing the Framework will begin in 2016-17, and will be a joint effort-the Government, provinces, territories and Indigenous peoples will all contribute to its creation. Investments under the new Framework are expected to ﬂow in 2017-18."
Source: Government of Canada Federal Budget
March 22, 2016
By deferring urgently needed funds for child care to the 2017 budget, the Trudeau government has missed an excellent opportunity to do better to advance women’s equality, reduce poverty and give real help to the middle class this year. All these were recurring key themes in the October election campaign and in the lead up to the budget.
Source: Child Care Advocacy Association
Nov. 7, 2016
Rhiannon Archer was excited about having her ﬁrst baby -- until she found out about the high cost of child care in Canada. In contrast, Quebec, Manitoba, and PEI all cap child care fees and make up the difference for families through core transfers to services. The CCPA report ﬁnds Winnipeg, Manitoba, parents typically pay $451 a month for a preschool child care space. In Charlottetown, PEI, they pay $586, and in Quebec cities such as Montreal, Laval, and Quebec City they pay just $174.
"The fees are high in all the provinces -- except the three that are regulated," Macdonald says.
A federal ﬁx?
Could the federal government step in to help ﬁx this mess? Macdonald hopes so.
"The federal role could be to set up a national system whereby fees have a maximum across the country, but then (child care) centres are subsidized so they don't go bankrupt," he says.
Source: Blog by Lauren Pelley, Hufﬁngton Post
*** #10 THE SITUATION REGARDING GOVERNMENT SCIENTISTS
What is your position on restricting communication for the scientiﬁc community?
What is your position on the reinstatement of scientiﬁc funding?
The Liberal platform stated that their government would appoint a Chief Science Ofﬁcer who will ensure that government science is fully available to the public, that scientists are able to speak freely about their work, and that scientiﬁc analyses are considered when the government makes decisions. New Minister of Science is Kirsty Duncan and Navdeep Bains is Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
Nov. 30, 2015
Globe and Mail - . . . many wonder how she and her cabinet colleagues can accomplish what they have been asked to do – not just reverse the policies so unpopular under Mr. Harper but craft a new role for science that has never been present in Canada’s government before and, even more important, boost the value of science to the economy.
The task is ambitious in scope and ambiguous in detail, and there is plenty of room for missteps. Ms. Duncan isn’t ready to say what she will do but lists the guiding principles behind her mandate and that of the chief science ofﬁcer, a new position she has been asked to create: “It’s transparency in decision-making, ensuring that science is available to Canadians and ensuring evidence-based decision-making across government.”
March 19, 2016
Senior civil servants warned the new Liberal government that “unmuzzled” scientists still need a tight leash, internal documents show. Documents prepared for Treasury Board President Scott Brison warn that when government policy and scientific pursuits don’t align, the scientists may exact their revenge.
“It is the legitimate role of politicians to set priorities. In setting priorities for government programs, science is but one factor,” read the documents, obtained under access to information laws. “While scientists may be disappointed when projects receive less funding or attention, it remains the role of ministers to determine priorities and defend them before the Canadian public.” The documents were sent to Brison by Yaprak Baltacioglu, the top bureaucrat at Treasury Board. Brison is not the minister responsible for government science, but as the head of Treasury Board is responsible for the government’s overall communications policy.
Study by Joan Barrett for the Issues Group, CFUW Mississauga