What changes can we expect from Justin Trudeau?

21 October 2015 7:33 pm

So Liberal candidate Justin Trudeau has won a stunning victory in Canada, throwing out conservative Stephen Harper after nine years. A win was never a sure thing for the party, which oscillated between third, second and first place throughout the campaign. But in the end, voters had enough. Canada is now deep in recession, Canadians are pissed off and they want change.

What can we expect to see from Trudeau? There’s plenty ahead.

First, it has to be said he has a historic legacy to live up to. His father Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau was a Canadian leader of legendary proportions. His dad helped usher in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, basically like a bill of human rights, and ushered in official bilingualism throughout the country.

First, he’s going to increase spending on infrastructure to jump-start economic growth. This is very different from the Conservative and NDP platforms, both of which promised balanced budgets. Trudeau argues that Canada needs stimulus now because it’s in recession and that additional deficits would have a marginal impact as the economic outlook improves. The Liberal fiscal plan forecasts "a modest short-term deficit" of less than $10 billion for each of the first three years and then a balanced budget by the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Secondly, he’s going to raise taxes for the wealthy. The top 1 per cent will be taxed more while taxes for the middle class will be cut.

At the same, he has has vowed to legalise marijuana. He reckons dope has needlessly left many Canadians with criminal records and cost the government too much in law enforcement. He argues that pot prohibition has resulted in 475,000 people with criminal records since the Conservatives came into power in 2006, and criminalization of the drug costs the justice system $500 million a year.

Trudeau has also vowed to take in more refugees take in more refugees. He wants Canada to immediately accept 25,000 Syrian refugees.

He has also pulled Canada out of the U.S.-led bombing campaign against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq. He wants to provide more humanitarian aid in Iraq and Syria and for the Canadian military to take part in training rather than bombing missions.

And finally, he has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in clean technology investment and a continued focus on climate change. He also plans to fulfil a G20 pledge to phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, which the Conservative government signed onto in 2009.

Justin Trudeau has come in with a promise to build his own brand of Trudeau-ism. The world will be watching.