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Liberal agenda laid bare

John Bell

December 1, 2016

Just over a year after his government’s election, the glow has faded from Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. While the leader is left to try to double-talk and selfie his way into our hearts, look to his Ministers to reveal the real Liberal agenda: privatization, war, environmental destruction and precarity.

Liberal trade liberalization

During negotiations over the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and European nations, Chrystia Freeland stormed out, fighting back tears, when the Belgian province of Wallonia blocked consensus. The Walloons had the nerve to demand protection for their trade union organization, defence of their social services and provision against privatization.

In other words the Liberal Trade Minister was outraged that Wallonia would not give up the very things you would like to think your government would be fighting to protect.

In the end a watered-down CETA was ratified, one that allowed jurisdictions like Wallonia to dismiss legal actions brought against it by corporations. But the deal let Freeland save face, and Canada to move on to try and finalize the even more unpopular TPP.


Trudeau campaigned against the Iraq War and to scrap Harper's plans for F-35 fighet jets, but it turns out that "real change" just meant changing the nature of the war and the type of jet. Last year Trudeau simply tweaked Canada's involvement in the war in Iraq and Syria, and now the Liberals have announced they'll be spending more money on replacing CF-18 jets while biying 18 Super Hornet jets.

On November 11, the day to remember the "war to end all wars," Liberal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced Canada will be sending troops to a number of unspecified African countries. And he wants to make it clear this is not peaceful: "These missions, all of them, have the level of risk where peacekeepers have been hurt, they have been killed. And we've been looking att he risk factor in a very serious way...This is not the peacekeeping of the past."

Environment for sale

Did you know that “environment” is just another word for “economy”? So said Liberal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna at the recent Canadian Climate Forum in Ottawa.

When asked directly if she supported new pipelines to carry tar sands bitumen to market, she replied: “People want to know they’re going to have a job. A lot of people are just trying to get by every day, figuring out how they’re going to put food on the table.” She went on to explain that she was “as much an economic minister as I am an environment minister.”

The Liberal message didn’t go over well, and McKenna acknowledged that she feared she was losing support even in this middle-of-the-road forum. “I’m going to lose some people on the way,” she admitted. Just so long as her Party didn’t lose out on oil industry support, which they commited to by approving the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 pipeline.

Get used to it

Those future jobs Enviro/Economic Minister McKenna is so concerned about will probably be part-time and short-term. So said Finance Minister Bill Morneau at a recent Liberal Party meeting in Niagara Falls. If you have a problem with that, well, get used to it.

“We also need to think about, ‘How do we train and retrain people as they move from job to job to job.’” Morneau said. He also called for “a recognition that people aren’t going to have the same pension benefits” as their parents.

Don’t worry though, they will come up with some way to “soften the blow,” although beating us in the first place does not seem to on the agenda. He went on to crow about already announced tax cuts. This is the same Morneau who is on record saying: “Instead of expansion of the social safety net, there must be moderate cutbacks in social spending phased in over time.”

Morneau—former CEO of Canada’s biggest private provider of corporate pensions and benefit services—says that all this must come to pass. “Because it’s going to happen. We have to accept that.” Evidently precarious work is beyond the ability of mere mortals to prevent. It must be ordained; there is no indication whether Morneau shifted his gaze heavenward as he spoke, or across the lake in the direction of Bay Street.

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