The delegates also voted in favour of legalizing euthanisia and although Trudeau said he supports it, it is not clear if he will use that on any campaign. The liberal party is already in favour of legalizing marijuana.
Euthanasia is a contentious issue, even among Liberal Members of Parliament. While some believe that it is supported by the majority of Canadians, it is also clear that this is an issue that requires a serious debate.
The delegates voted for the creation of a basic annual income, a national transportation strategy, funding for aboriginal education on reserves equal to that spent in schools under provincial jurisdiction, increased funding for mental health services and the expansion of the Canada Pension Plan.
While most of these are values that Canadian support, there was no mention of how these programs would be implemented without increased taxes, in other words where would the money to fund these programs come from?
While Trudeau said that he supports the development of the Alberta Oil Sands as an important part of a healthy Canadian economy, he emphasized that it has to be done in an environmentally friendly way to assure our potential global partners that this country is environmentally responsible.
This issue was also addressed in a one to one meeting between US President Barrack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Obama emphasized that all of his administration’s decision will be based with climate change in its mind. Harper replied that emission standards are already being synchronized between the two countries.
Trudeau, according to CTV, said that he would not raise corporate taxes or the Good and Services tax (GST), but rather would base funding of the programs based on the surplus forecast by the Harper government.
Electoral reform was also discussed and it was resolved that this should become subject of an all party debate after the next election. While several ideas were floated, the idea was rejected in British Columbia in a referendum. While proportional representation seems like the best way forward, it has resulted in multiple parties representing parliament in many European countries. Some ideas consider a general election of candidates in each riding and if none reach a majority, a run off between the first and second placed candidate. All this to say that it is another problem without an easy solution.
Liberals believe that Justin Trudeau made the first big step in Senate reform by removing liberal senators from his caucus. Unfortunately those senators are still liberals and will vote for liberal legislation. The convention passed a resolution to support Trudeau’s intent, although the actual constitution was not changed to remove senators from caucus and permit them access to all party conventions. This resolution passed with a vote of 525-32.
While there was little substance revealed during the convention, there are a few items to chew on. It is also noteworthy that Barrack Obama’s campaign chief advised the party on how to conduct winning campaigns, unfortunately much of the data used was that of the US and is different from Canada.
Trudeau keeps talking about avoiding a campaign based on attacks, but if he wants to take the advice of the Obama campaign team, he should think again and review their attack ads as well some of the footage from the Democratic Convention last year. Trudeau also asserts that his party and policies are more aligned for centre right voters than that of the New Democrats. His opening speech during the convention certainly doesn’t mirror that comment. His “Hope and Hard Work” campaign does appear to mirror the one of Barrack Obama in 2008, who campaigned on “Hope and Change.”
Justin Trudeau rides high in the polls at the moment, but with over a year out of an election, much can change. For now Trudeau is getting an easy ride and is running on name recognition of his popular father. It would be wise to save the euphoria until the election. Remember the Wildrose Party in Alberta. Sunday night prior to the election the polls indicated that the party would win a landslide victory in Alberta. We all know what happened.