Looking back over the past 100 days is very satisfying. Since the Liberal government took office this past November 4th, we have made substantial progress on many of the commitments made during the 2015 election campaign to bring real change to Canada. There remains much to be done, but a great start has been made. Here is a summary of progress so far:
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA ACCOMPLISHMENTS – FIRST 100 DAYS
Growth for the Middle Class
- Introducing a motion to strengthen the middle class through a tax cut that will benefit about 9 million Canadians each year.
- Unveiling Canada’s Adjusted Growth Strategy and Investment Strategy, which will invest in the economy to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and help those working hard to join it.
Open and Transparent Government
- Establishing a new, non-partisan merit-based process to provide advice on Senate appointments. The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments will provide the Prime Minister with non-binding, merit-based recommendations on Senate nominations. The process is being implemented in two phases: in the transitional phase, currently under way, the Advisory Board will provide the Prime Minister with advice on five initial appointments; in the subsequent permanent phase, the Advisory Board will advise the Prime Minister on the remaining Senate vacancies, and future vacancies.
- Publicly releasing all ministerial mandate letters so Canadians have the necessary tools to hold government accountable on its commitments.
A Clean Environment and a Strong Economy
- Engaging Premiers in the development of a pan-Canadian framework for promoting clean growth and addressing climate change.
- Reaching a historic, ambitious, and balanced agreement between Canada and 194 other Parties during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to strengthen the global response to climate change.
- Emphasizing a collaborative and inclusive approach to climate change by setting out to COP21 with a Canadian delegation of dedicated federal, provincial, and territorial representatives, including Premiers and Ministers of the Environment, leaders and members of opposition parties, Indigenous leaders, and representatives from youth organizations, environmental NGOs, and the business community.
- Pledging $2.65 billion over the next five years to support developing countries’ transition to low-carbon economies that are both greener and more climate-resilient.
- Joining Mission Innovation, an ambitious international clean technology initiative that seeks to double government investment over the next five years in clean energy research and development, and to spur business investment in clean technology.
- Introducing five principles that will guide the government’s decision-making on major natural resource projects while a review of environmental assessment processes is undertaken. For two significant projects currently under review by the National Energy Board (NEB), the Trans Mountain Expansion project and Energy East Pipeline project, the government committed to taking immediate steps to ensure consistency with these principles.
Diversity is Canada’s Strength
- Engaging in a renewed nation-to-nation process with Indigenous Peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership by:
- Participating in ongoing, regular meetings between the Government of Canada and the National Aboriginal Organizations, including the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP), the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the Métis National Council (MNC), and the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).
- Receiving the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and committing—in partnership with Indigenous communities, the provinces, territories, and other vital partners—to fully implement its Calls to Action, starting with the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Engaging with survivors, family members, and loved ones of victims – as well as National Aboriginal, provincial, and territorial representatives – to seek their views on the design and scope of a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
- Suspending all court actions and other discretionary compliance measures related to the First Nations Financial Transparency Act (FNFTA) and reinstating funding withheld from First Nations under these measures.
- Taking immediate action to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of February 2016, through a five-phase national plan that involves working with Canadians, non-governmental organizations, corporate Canada, private sponsors, provinces, territories, and local governments to welcome these refugees and give them an opportunity to build a new life for themselves. The government also created an ad hoc Cabinet Committee as a driving force in delivering on this commitment. As of February 9, more than 18,000 Syrian refugees had arrived in Canada, putting the government on track to meet the commitment of 25,000 refugees by the end of the month.
Security and Opportunity
- Continuing to work with allies in the fight against terrorism by:
- Participating in the 2015 Halifax International Security Forum to engage global leaders and partners on current defence and security challenges.
- Announcing a new approach to address the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria and the impact they are having on the surrounding region, one that focuses on enhancing security and stability, providing vital humanitarian assistance, and helping partners deliver social services, rebuild infrastructure, and encourage good governance. This new ‘whole of government’ approach will make a meaningful contribution to the Global Coalition’s fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), while strengthening the ability of regional governments and local authorities to defend themselves, and rebuild over the long-term. The approach is more effective and better able to capitalize on uniquely Canadian areas of expertise, including the training of security forces, the provision of humanitarian assistance and social services, the promotion of diplomacy and good governance, and the rebuilding of infrastructure.
- Internationally, focusing government development assistance on helping the world’s poorest and most vulnerable by:
- Helping those most affected by the crises in Iraq and Syria through $840 million in humanitarian assistance over the next three years, and $270 million over the next three years to build local capacity to provide basic social services.
- Extending the Syria Emergency Relief Fund deadline to provide assistance through international and Canadian humanitarian organizations to help meet basic humanitarian needs of people affected by the conflict in Syria, including shelter, food, health care, and water. It will also provide protection and education for conflict-affected people in Syria and millions of refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.
- Announcing $100 million in funding to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that will help respond to pressing needs, including shelter, protection, education, and health for those affected by the Syrian crisis.
- Announcing funding that will help Kenya’s poorest and most vulnerable people benefit from the country’s growing resource-based economy. Canada is contributing $19.5 million to the project over seven years, until 2021.
- Announcing $10 million in funding between 2015 and 2022 to help developing countries implement the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that will reduce trade costs and create conditions that will help boost economic growth and lift the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people out of poverty.
Other significant Government of Canada accomplishments during the first 100 days since the swearing-in of the 29th Ministry include:
Government / Federal-Provincial-Territorial Relationships
- Introducing a Cabinet with an equal number of men and women that represents the diversity and strengths of Canada.
- Hosting a First Ministers’ Meeting with provincial and territorial premiers to discuss the country’s strategy to fight climate change.
- Participating in meetings with federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) ministers, including meetings between the ministers responsible for finance, social services, labour, justice and public safety, environment, immigration, and health.
- Accepting an invitation to have the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard as the first cabinet minister from the Commons to take part in Question Period in the Senate, as the upper house adapts to Prime Minister Trudeau’s plan for a more independent, less partisan chamber.
- Reinstating the mandatory long-form census.
- Announcing the launch of work to re-open the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base to ensure timely response to marine emergencies and spills in Vancouver’s harbour.
- Creating a special joint committee on physician-assisted dying that will consult with experts, stakeholders, and Canadians in general and make recommendations on the framework of a federal response on physician-assisted dying.
- Announcing changes to the rules for government-backed mortgage insurance to contain risks in the housing market, reduce taxpayer exposure, and support long-term stability.
- Re-affirming that government scientists and experts are able to speak freely about their work to the media and the public as part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to making government science fully available to the public and ensuring that scientific analyses are considered in decision-making.
- Withdrawing appeals or interventions, or suspending court actions, in various legal cases to fulfill a commitment to review the government’s litigation strategy to address positions that are inconsistent with our values.
- Improving tax services to Canadians by launching the new Auto-fill my return service, and by redesigning the Notice of Assessment (NOA) that is sent to millions of Canadians during tax season to make it simple and easy to read, with the most important information on the first page.
- Announcing the winding down of the political activities audit program for charities conducted by the Canada Revenue Agency, in recognition of the critical role charities play in our society and their valuable contribution to public policy and public debate on behalf of all Canadians.
- Introducing legislation to repeal provisions that provided the government with the authority to unilaterally override the collective bargaining process and impose a new sick leave system on the public service.
- Introducing legislation to repeal legislative changes enacted by Bills C-377 and C-525 that diminish and weaken Canada’s labour movement and are counter-productive to a positive working relationship between employees and employers.
- Releasing an initial progress report addressing harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces.
- Speaking with Canadians and stakeholders to listen to their views to better understand the adjustments needed to improve the Employment Insurance system.
- Approving the application from Vancouver’s Dr. Peter Centre, a world-renowned HIV/AIDS treatment and support facility, to operate a supervised consumption site that will provide a controlled space where people can bring their own illicit substances to consume under the supervision of health-care professionals, and gain access to other health and social services including treatment. International and Canadian evidence shows that, when properly established and managed, supervised consumption sites have the potential to save lives and improve health without increasing drug use and crime in the surrounding area.
- Engaging the international community through productive meetings held with world leaders and by attending numerous international summits and meetings—including the World Economic Forum, the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, APEC, and the G20—to position Canada as a country ready to work with partners to deliver real change on issues of global importance. Canada was also honoured to host a visit by the Secretary-General of the UN, His Excellency, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, during which the government re-affirmed Canada’s commitment to the UN, to effective cooperation, and to renewed leadership on the world stage.
- Utilizing international fora, including the World Economic Forum and the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, as a means of youth engagement and bringing issues important to youth to the forefront.
- Successfully advocating for the United States to repeal the Country of Origin Labelling requirements, to ensure discrimination against Canadian cattle and hog exports is removed expeditiously in the U.S. market.
- Launching consultations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Canadians, provinces and territories, and stakeholders, and signing the TPP in order to start the process of debate and study in Parliament.
- Launching CanExport, a new program that will provide $50 million over five years to help Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises take advantage of global export opportunities. Its aims include increasing their competitiveness while creating jobs and growth in Canada. CanExport, one of the building blocks of the government’s export strategy, will benefit hundreds of companies each year over the next five years.
- Signing of a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with Hong Kong that gives additional assurance to investors, expands investment flows between Hong Kong and Canada, and further strengthens existing strong economic and trade ties.
- Amending Canada’s blanket sanctions against Iran to broadly align Canada’s autonomous sanctions against Iran with like-minded countries, including by lifting the blanket ban on financial services, imports, and exports, to allow for controlled economic re-engagement. This will better position Canadian companies to compete with other companies globally while also allowing Canada to maintain prohibitions on the export of specified goods with security implications.