Canadian Politics

A21(a) - Assessing Pledge and Mandate Fulfillment: Trudeau’s Liberal Minority Governments in Comparative Perspective (Panel 4 of 4: Diversity and Regionalism)

Date: Jun 14 | Time: 03:30pm to 05:00pm | Location:

Chair/Président/Présidente : François Rocher (Université d'Ottawa)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : François Rocher (Université d'Ottawa)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Martin Papillion (Université de Montréal)

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 fourth panel examines the two minority Liberal mandates from the perspectives of regionalism and diversity. In addition to pledges in policy sectors, some authors considered pledges that spoke about federal-provincial and territorial collaboration or cooperation in light of the work by Rocher (2019) on Canadian federalism and election pledges. These panelists will share their findings regarding the following themes: (1) Indigenous peoples and reconciliation Janique Dubois (University of Ottawa) and Velpin Coburn (McGill University); (2) policies for diversity and inclusion by Jeannette Ash (Douglas College, BC, and visiting faculty at King’s College, University of London); (3) Trudeau governments and the West by Duane Bratt (Mount Royal University); and (4) Trudeau governments, Quebec and the pan- Canadian francophonie by Félix Mathieu (University of Winnipeg) and Sarah-Jane Vincent (Université Laval).

Same old, same old? Trudeau’s promise of reconciliation: Veldon Coburn (McGill University), Janique Dubois (University of Ottawa)
Abstract: In this paper, we ask whether there is anything new to report with respect to federal promises related to Indigenous peoples. We situate the promises made since the election of Prime Minister Trudeau within the larger objective of reconciliation on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report with its 94 calls to action. With an eye on the past as well as on the future, we reflect on the political and electoral implications of Trudeau’s promised nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples.

Trudeau vs the Prairies: Combating climate change in Canada's oil and gas heartland: Duane Bratt (Mount Royal University)
Abstract: In the 2015 election, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau not only won a majority government, but had a breakthrough in Alberta. The Liberals won two seats in Calgary (the first time they won federal seats in the city since 1968) and an additional two in Edmonton. This was still only four out of 34 seats in Alberta, but it still illustrated that some Albertans were willing, despite the baggage of the Liberal brand and Trudeau name in the province, to give them a chance. This goodwill was lost between 2015-2019 due to many perceived anti-energy policies, in the oil and gas heartland of Canada, enacted by the Trudeau government: introduction of a federal backstop on carbon prices, formally cancelling the Northern Gateway pipeline, codifying a moratorium on tanker traffic off the northwest coast of British Columbia, introducing the Impact Assessment Act, and many others. The 2019 election led to the loss of all Liberal seats in Alberta or Saskatchewan. Even long-time Liberal stalwart and cabinet minister Ralph Goodale was defeated in Regina. Newly-elected Alberta Premier Jason Kenney joined forces with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, both partisan Conservatives, to attack the Trudeau government through fierce rhetoric, court actions, and challenges to Canada’s constitutional order. This chapter explores the impact of the 2019 and 2021 federal elections in Alberta and Saskatchewan in light of Trudeau’s oil and gas policies. It argues, regardless of the merits of Trudeau’s climate change agenda, that Trudeau has greatly damaged national unity on the prairies.

Le Québec, la francophonie canadienne et les gouvernements Trudeau minoritaires : un bilan critique: Félix Mathieu (Université de Winnipeg), Sarah-Jane Vincent (Université Laval)
Abstract: Dans ce chapitre, nous offrons un bilan critique de la manière dont les enjeux relatifs au Québec et à la francophonie canadienne ont été saisis par le Parti libéral du Canada alors qu’il formulait ses promesses électorales à l’automne 2019 puis à l’été 2021. Dans un premier temps, nous présenterons un panorama des promesses concernant le Québec et discutons de la manière dont elles ont été traitées par la suite, selon que les promesses ont été tenues, partiellement réalisées, ou rompues. Nous mettrons ensuite l’accent sur quelques promesses phares pour mieux saisir les nuances des dynamiques politiques à l’œuvre. Dans un deuxième temps, nous ferons la même analyse pour ce qui concerne les promesses qui sont relatives à la francophonie canadienne. Enfin, avant de conclure, nous allons offrir une analyse plus prospective et de nature normative, en identifiant quelques thèmes précis que nous espérons voir abordés de front par les diverses formations politiques dans le cadre de la prochaine campagne électorale fédérale.