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What Trudeau's victory means for Canada and the world

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

10-26-2015 18:27 BJT

By CCTV.com Reporter Devon Reid Mok


Justin Trudeau will assume the role of Prime Minister of Canada on November 4, 2015 after a decisive victory over the ruling Conservative Party in this year's federal election.

Justin Trudeau is the newly elected Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Liberal Party.

Justin Trudeau is the newly elected Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Liberal Party.

The center-left Liberal Party of Canada captured a majority in parliament, taking 184 out of 338 seats in the House of Commons.

Trudeau, whose father Pierre Trudeau held the position from 1968 to 1984, spearheaded the campaign that placed Liberals back in power after nearly a decade of Conservative governance.

The Prime Minister-designate must now pick up where the incumbent Stephen Harper left off, confronting an economy suffering from diminished GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and productivity growth along with an over-encumbered infrastructure.

Trudeau must respond to the refugee crisis in Syria and the ever-pressing concerns of environmental degradation and climate change, as he reconnects with a disaffected populace and seeks to reestablish Canada's image on the global stage as a peace-loving nation.


Stephen Harper's Legacy

Stephen Harper was the Prime Minister of Canada from 2006-2015.

Stephen Harper was the Prime Minister of Canada from 2006-2015.

Former PM Stephen Harper established the Conservative Party of Canada in 2003 when he facilitated a merger between the country's preeminent right-wing political factions: the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance and Progressive Conservatives. They formed a new bloc that displaced the Liberal government of Paul Martin in 2006.

Under Harper, Canada saw federal tax revenues decrease as a share of GDP. The federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) was lowered, direct government spending reduced, income taxes cut, and thousands of jobs were eliminated from the public sector.

Harper's economic stimulus program managed to insulate Canada from the brunt of the global financial crisis. However, the national economy has since contracted in recent years due in large part to falling oil prices.

Harper showed minimal regard for the environment, and did little to address climate change during his time in office. Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, a major international accord on climate change, and refrained from implementing a national carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Conservative government took a more aggressive approach to military involvement abroad, with Harper announcing Canada's participation in US-led airstrikes against ISIL in 2014.

Harper Conservatives shifted Canadian military operations overseas from relief efforts to deadly offensives in foreign countries - an act that tarnished Canada’s reputation as an international peacekeeping nation.


Justin Trudeau's new platform

 

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has promised a departure from the hawkish, fiscally conservative policies of his predecessor.

The newly elected administration has pledged to cut income taxes on middle-class earners, while raising them on the wealthy, whose incomes exceed CAD 200,000.

Trudeau has promised to run deficits for his first three years in office to pay for a USD 46 billion program of infrastructure spending over ten years.

Canada's Liberal government is expected to withdraw the Royal Canadian Air Force from the US-led bombing campaign against Islamic State units in Syria and Iraq. The new administration is to pull Canada's CF-18 fighter jets from involvement in the US-led bombing of ISIL installations.

Trudeau has also pledged to take in 25,000 displaced Syrians and to invest CAD 250 million to process refugees from the embattled region.

Meanwhile, Canada will continue its deployment of special forces to train Iraqi troops in their fight against Islamic State militants on the ground.

Environmental policy, climate change and Keystone XL Pipeline

The Keystone XL pipeline is a USD 8 billion project that would carry oil sands crude from Western Canada to southern Nebraska.

The Keystone XL pipeline is a USD 8 billion project that would carry oil sands crude from Western Canada to southern Nebraska.


Unlike Harper, who resisted demands for a substantive carbon pact, Trudeau favors national targets for greenhouse gas reductions and supports an end to fossil fuel subsidies.

The Liberal government plans to establish a Low Carbon Economy Trust to subsidize projects that reduce carbon emissions under a new pan-Canadian framework.

Nevertheless, Trudeau has expressed support for construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline: a USD 8 billion proposal that would enable 830,000 barrels a day of Alberta oil-sands crude to flow from Western Canada to the US Gulf Coast market.

Proponents argue that the pipeline would generate significant revenue for both the US and Canada.

Energy trade constitutes the largest aspect of cross-border commerce between both nations, with 92% of Canada's energy exports going to the US.

Trudeau believes the pipeline would benefit the Canadian economy, and would be an important component of the national infrastructure program he plans to implement.

Yet Trudeau must obtain approval from US President Barack Obama, who said he will not authorize the Keystone XL if it worsens climate change. 

The new PM aims to adopt a plan to increase national targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to gain Obama’s support for the project.

Trudeau's motives and potential

Prime Minister-designate Trudeau appears intent on striking a fine balance between economic development and environmental preservation. Unfortunately, these objectives are not always compatible.

By submitting a plan for deficit expenditure on infrastructure, and in supporting the construction of projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline, Trudeau seeks to bolster economic development in Canada. However, the pipeline initiative contradicts his party’s stance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In calling for the removal of Canadian military aircraft from Syria and Iraq, Trudeau has done well in ushering Canada back to its traditional role as an international peacekeeper. His plan to accept thousands of Syrian refugees into the Canadian fold is another step in the right direction.

A majority of Canadians will approve of his tax breaks for the middle class, although the wealthiest 1 percent may grumble about increases in their rates.

In time we will discover for certain whether or not Trudeau can live up to his campaign promises. We will find out if he actually has what it takes to affect positive change on a national scale.

For now, all we can do is wait and see.

 

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

 

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

 

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