Canadian Politics

A19(a) - Assessing Pledge and Mandate Fulfillment: Trudeau’s Liberal Minority Governments in Comparative Perspective (Panel 3 of 4: Policy Sectors with International Dimensions)

Date: Jun 14 | Time: 01:45pm to 03:15pm | Location:

Chair/Président/Présidente : Lisa Birch (Centre d'analyse des politiques publiques)

This series of four panels compares the mandate performance of two consecutive Liberal minority governments. Panelists address the following question: to what extent did successive Trudeau Liberal minority governments perform like "promise deliverers," actively pursuing pledge fulfillment, or like "trustees of the public good," who manage public affairs and policy according to the party’s ideological vision and values when facing unforeseen national and global events or attending to policy routines in government? This panel series presents the reflections of experts from our forthcoming, cutting-edge book on this period in Canadian political history. Experts compare the overall performance of successive Trudeau liberal minority governments (Trudeau II, 2019-2021; and Trudeau III, 2021-present) to each other and to that of the first majority Liberal government (Trudeau I, 2015-2019) to ponder the impact of the Liberal-NDP pact on pledge fulfillment, mandate fulfillment, and policy development. The third panel presents their analysis of the performance of the Trudeau minority governments in various policy sectors with an international dimension, starting from data from the Trudeau Polimeter, a Web application that tracks the fulfillment of campaign promises, and then examining government actions on matters unforeseen at the time of the previous elections. These policy panels are as follows: (1) immigration policy by Mireille Paquet (Concordia University); (2) social policy with an emphasis on housing by Alison Smith (University of Toronto); (3) national defense, the Russia-Ukraine war and NATO by Anessa Kimball and Christian Picard (Université Laval); and (4) environment and energy policy by Alexandre Gajevic Sayegh (Université Laval), Annie Chaloux (Université de Sherbrooke) and Philippe Simard.

From governing during immobility to end of innocence: Trudeau’s immigration policies since 2019: Mireille Paquet (Concordia University), Catherine Xhardez (Université de Montréal)
Abstract: This presentation highlights four of the most important features of the governments’ 2019-2023 track record. First, immigration policymaking in and around the pandemic, which was marked by the introduction of multiple slowing international immigration in an unprecedented manner since the 1930 economic crisis and - as time passed - with the the management of the consequences of these policies developed “on-the-fly” (Perzyna et al. 2022), such as acute labour shortages and an historical backlog of immigration files. Second, the implementation of the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel in 2022 is discussed. This initiative facilitated the arrival of over 200,000 Ukrainian nationals under temporary protection. Third, the 2023 expansion of the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States. While this reduced irregular arrivals at land borders, it consequently spurred a rapid increase in asylum claims in Canada. Fourth, the increasingly controversial decision to base Canada's post-pandemic recovery on record immigration targets and the accompanying plans to modernize the country’s immigration programs and legislation. As the Liberals conclude their second mandate, they face unprecedented criticism for their immigration management. Critiques range from linking immigration to various societal issues (e.g., housing crisis) to disappointment over perceived biased treatment of immigrants based on their regions of origin or geopolitical alignment. As public opinion about immigration is shifting in Canada, Trudeau’s second mandate might mark the loss of innocence for a government who had been able to use immigration to its advantage in the past.

Lessons of Justin Trudeau’s governments on national defence policy as a Canadian electoral issue: Anessa Kimball (Université Laval), Christian Picard (Université Laval)
Abstract: This chapter will assess how Justin Trudeau’s minority governments (2019 and 2021) delivered on his electoral pledges concerning national defence and security, including a comparison to his first mandate leading a Liberal majority government in 2015. In doing so, it will provide us with a unique opportunity to explore how defence and security issues become domestic issues in the Canadian political landscape. A common trope in Canada is that foreign policy does not win an election, highlighting the electorate’s sensitivity to domestic needs. However, such a simple statement hides how the ramifications of international affairs issues affect the realm of domestic politics. Justin Trudeau’s consecutive mandates permit a study of how some of these consequences play out, by exploring the dynamics of continuing defence issues, as a subset of foreign policy, across both majority and minority governments. The analytical framework employed mobilizes literature in international relations, game theory, political communication, as well as Canadian and electoral politics. As such, this chapter contributes to several subfields of political science and public policy, enriching the literature on Canadian politics and foreign policy.

Le bilan environnemental du gouvernement Trudeau : quelle transition énergétique et écologique durant les mandats minoritaires?: Alexandre Gajevic Sayegh (Université Laval), Annie Chaloux (Université de Sherbrooke), Philippe Simard (Université de Sherbrooke)
Abstract: Alors qu’un pourcentage important des promesses électorales liées à l’environnement a été réalisé (ou est en voie de l’être) lors des mandats 2.0 et 3.0 du gouvernement Trudeau, certaines questions importantes planent toujours sur la politique climatique canadienne. Des cibles plus ambitieuses pour la réduction des GES, 40-45% de réductions pour 2030 par rapport au niveau de 2005, ont été annoncées. La vente de véhicules de passagers à combustion interne sera interdite dès 2035, alors que celle des véhicules zéro émission est subventionnée depuis 2021. Des crédits d’impôts ont été offerts pour le développement de la production d’énergies renouvelables et de batteries. Le pays a aussi mis à jour son plan environnemental : le plan « Un environnement sain et une économie saine » (ESES) de 2020 remplace le « Cadre pancanadien sur les changements climatiques » de 2016. Or, la promesse d’éliminer les subventions aux énergies fossiles a-t-elle été respectée ? Est-ce que la main-d’œuvre sera formée pour que le pays puisse en effet déployer des systèmes d’énergies renouvelables? Observons-nous réellement un virage vert dans le secteur des transports ? Des investissements ont-ils été faits et des ménages ont-ils reçu des subventions pour améliorer l’efficience énergétique de leurs bâtiments ? Et est-ce que l’annonce récente de suspendre la taxe carbone sur le mazout dans les provinces de l’Est du Canada pourrait signer l’arrêt de mort d’une politique de tarification pourtant née de ce même gouvernement au lendemain de l’adoption de l’Accord de Paris?