March 22, 2022

Liberal/NDP Alliance Shifts Canadian Politics: A Conservative Nightmare in the Making?

In a new Supply and Confidence agreement, the minority Liberal government under Justin Trudeau aligns with Jagmeet Singh’s NDP (New Democratic) party promising stability of governance until 2025, as well as this:

Launch a new dental care program for low-income Canadians. Starting with under 12-year-olds in 2022, expanding to under 18-year-olds, seniors, and persons living with disabilities in 2023, and then full implementation by 2025, with no co-pays for anyone earning less than $70,000 annually.

Continue progress towards a universal national pharmacare program passing a ‘Canada Pharmacare Act’ by the end of 2023, and then tasking the National Drug Agency to develop a national formulary of essential medicines and a bulk purchasing plan by the end of 2025;

Advance a series of measures aimed at affordability and housing costs including a ‘Homebuyers Bill of Rights’ and an ‘Early Learning and Child Care Act’;

Proceed with policies and programs meant to target climate change;

Ensure supports for workers are implemented including supporting labour unions and starting the 10-day paid sick leave policy imminently;

Invest more in Indigenous reconciliation including supporting residential school survivors;

Improve fairness in the tax system by addressing profits made by big banks during the pandemic; and

Eliminate barriers to democratic participation by exploring ways to expand how people can vote such as improving mail-in balloting and potentially allowing a three-day voting period.

In effect, this agreement allows the NDP caucus to support the Liberals in confidence votes and to back the next four Liberal budgets, while securing key policy issues shared by both parties, keeping Trudeau in office until the end of his term, relieving the country of another federal election until that time.

Trudeau’s Tweet:

The Conservative Opposition Interim Leader, Candice Bergen, tweeted this:

Already, there is racial commentary on newscast posts about Mr. Singh and immigration policy under the Liberal/NDP alliance. I hope to see Canadians do better. There is no room for this in our society.

“Jagmeet Sing says the NDP will get to help people through this deal.” ~

The political and philosophical line appears to be drawn between support of big oil in Alberta and concern over the climate crisis, Conservative budget goals, and championing social equality/equal opportunity; although one imagines that a balance could be brought to the table. The left and right are donning their political boxing gloves.

For those who didn’t vote NDP in the last election, it is being called a betrayal of vote, unless, of course, they voted strategically for Trudeau to shut the Conservatives out, and were not entirely opposed to the NDP platform. For those who voted Conservative, it pushes back the chance of change in government for another three years. This may give the Conservatives time to solidify their leadership woes and the NDP to finally put their long-held equal-opportunity hopes in place.

Whether we are a Justin Trudeau fan or not, he’s within his political rights to claim such an alliance when in a minority position. It’s not an undemocratic move if we are to understand the wheels of democratic government.

Trudeau sought to assure voters earlier Tuesday that the NDP will not have a “veto” over government priorities and that the agreement will be focused on areas where the two parties’ policy proposals overlap. Bergen countered by saying “the NDP are in charge.” ~

Especially since the pandemic, Canadians are passionately divided on Conservative and Liberal views—looking back to the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa as a recent example.

Here’s a quick sample of the differences.

“The modern Liberal Party portrays itself as a party that is fiscally responsible, but socially progressive. Liberals are strongly supportive of unrestricted abortion, LGBT rights, and high rates of immigration, but also favour a free-market economy that is not subject to overly burdensome regulation. The party is not as inclined towards “big government” solutions as it was in the past, but still opposes right-wingers who call for scaling back social programs such as universal health care and old-age pensions. The need to balance responsible economic development with strategies to combat climate change has steadily risen to become a defining Liberal priority as well.”

“Today’s Conservatives would describe their party as one that favours low taxes, smaller, less intrusive government, a strong regime of law-and-order, a strong military and respect for traditional values.” ~

Read what you want into either of those. I am personally terrified of what “traditional values” mean to the LGBTQ community and women’s rights, although a less-intrusive government also sounds appealing, depending on the scope.

We shall see what the next three years bring. What do the majority of Canadians really want? And is there a middle way?

What’s your view?


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