Canada 2020: New Government, New Year

It has been almost three months since the Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, was voted in for a second term, this time as a minority government. Although it has only been a few months, Prime Minister (PM) Justin Trudeau and his party have already been making many decisions and changes. So, what exactly can you expect from the liberals in 2020? 

Treading Carefully

Justin Trudeau and his party may have won the 2019 Federal Election, but they did so by a slim margin. The Conservatives won the popular vote and many other parties gained support that was previously directed towards the liberals. This outcome means that Trudeau will spend 2020 and the next four years thinking more carefully about his future decisions. 

If Trudeau wants the liberals to continue to be in power, his choices must be managed with care. Already we have seen Trudeau take almost a month to form his government compared to the fourteen days he took in 2015. The extra time demonstrates Trudeau’s recognition that he must make smart choices that benefit all of Canada and not simply a select few.

The Western Divide

The liberal’s victory drove a wedge between Canada’s west and east. The western provinces, primarily Saskatchewan and Alberta, expressed concern that their problems were not going to be addressed by the liberal party. Justin Trudeau has promised to do what he can to understand the frustrations of the people in the west and respond in the best ways possible.

Based on his promises, in 2020 Justin Trudeau will work towards making Canada united again from coast to coast to coast. The first step made towards this unification took place when Trudeau unveiled his cabinet, which consisted of Jonathan Wilkinson as Environment Minister and Chrystia Freeland as Intergovernmental Affairs Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. While neither Wilkinson or Freeland represent ridings in Alberta or Saskatchewan, both ministers were raised in the west and Trudeau hopes that they will be able to respond effectively to some of the west’s major concerns.

Jason Kenney, Alberta’s Premier in a statement said, “With no ministers from Alberta, I hope that ministers with portfolios of especially urgent interest to our province will listen to Albertans, take our concerns seriously, and work constructively with the Alberta government to address them”.

Although Trudeau made the first step regarding recognizing the west, 2020 will be the year that determines whether the gap between the west and east closes or continues to grow.

Climate Change

One of the factors that played heavily into the 2019 Federal Election and many parties’ platforms was the crisis of climate change at hand. Back in June, the Liberal government proposed a ban on single-use plastics to come into widespread effect in early 2021. If the ban is to take place officially, much of 2020 will be dedicated to finding alternatives to single-use plastics and slowly initiating the changes.

A number of municipalities have already put this ban in effect. In Devon, Alberta stores in the community are no longer allowed to distribute single-use plastic retail bags as of January 1st, 2020. Many cities in British Columbia have jumped on this initiative such as Surrey, Kamloops, Nanaimo, Salmon Arm, Saanich, Tofino and Victoria. 

Trudeau has made progress in the past towards reducing the countries carbon emissions and it can be expected that in 2020 he will continue his efforts to make Canada greener.

Wireless Price Cuts

Part of the Liberal’s re-election platform was the promise to reduce wireless bills by 25%. Wireless bills are an issue that concerns the majority of Canadian’s and this promise seems to be taking precedence in 2020.

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains announced to The Canadian Press that these price cuts will take place within two years starting in December 2019. Already prices have dropped between 27-28% from 2016 to 2018 and the liberals plan on furthering that reduction even more. Bains reported that the liberals made a commitment and plan to uphold it in the coming year.

Many details surrounding how the liberals will achieve this 25% decrease have not been released yet but with the new initiative in place, Canadians should expect details to arrive soon.

Campaign Promises

There are many promises made by parties during the campaign period and it is hard to predict which ones will be tackled in the upcoming year. With budgets being decided, the liberals should begin to work on a number of promises in the upcoming year but since we are still unsure, these are merely some important matters the party will be predicted to deal with within 2020.

With the west, climate change and wireless price cuts in mind, it will be interesting to see what the Liberal Party accomplishes or what mistakes they make this year.

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Author: Rylie Moscato

Rylie Moscato is a second-year English student and News Editor for The Athenaeum