Pubdate: Wed, 21 Oct 2015
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Times Colonist
Author: Joan Bryden and Jim Bronskill
Page: A1


Province will work with federal Liberals 'in whatever moves they
make': Clark

OTTAWA - Justin Trudeau made a triumphant return to the nation's
capital Tuesday and began setting a new tone for the Canadian government.

"Many of you have worried that Canada has lost its compassionate and
constructive voice in the world over the past 10 years," Trudeau told
a boisterous rally in Ottawa.

"Well, I have a simple message for you. On behalf of 35 million
Canadians, we're back."

At a news conference later, he had a message for civil servants, many
of whom complained of being muzzled and ignored by the Harper regime.
Trudeau promised to run "a government that listens to, works with and
respects the public service."

He had another message for the parliamentary press gallery, which has
been shunned and vilified by the Harper Conservatives, that he intends
to run a more open, media-friendly shop.

Fresh from his Monday election victory, Trudeau held a news conference
in the national press theatre - something Harper did only a handful of
times and not at all since late 2008. "It's important to underline the
important role that the media fills in public discourse and public
life," Trudeau said, and, when the news conference was over, he vowed:
"I'll be back. I promise."

For now, though, tone is all Trudeau can set. He will not take office
until Nov. 4.

His schedule for the next two months could include four international
summits. Trudeau suggested he may not attend all of them.

He said he's "committed" to attending the United Nations
climate-change conference with the premiers in Paris at the end of

As for the G20 summit in Turkey and a meeting of leaders of Pacific
Rim countries in the Philippines, Trudeau said only that he hopes to
attend. He did not mention the Commonwealth heads of government
meeting in Malta.

Trudeau is already getting a quick introduction to international
affairs, fielding congratulatory calls from U.S. President Barack
Obama and the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Mexico and Italy.

While he and Obama had a "warm conversation," Trudeau said they also
discussed his commitment to withdraw Canadian fighter jets from the
U.S.-led aerial bombing mission against Islamic radicals in Syria and
Iraq. Trudeau believes Canada's military involvement should be
restricted to training missions only. "We talked about Canada's
continued engagement as a strong member of the coalition against ISIL.
And I committed that we would continue to engage in a responsible
way," Trudeau said.

At the rally, Trudeau thanked party staff and the 80,000 volunteers he
credited with making nearly 12 million phone calls and door knocks
during a 78-day campaign. But as gruelling as the campaign was, he
acknowledged the hard part starts now.

"This afternoon, we can celebrate, but our hard work is only

On the horizon loom key promises: lower taxes for the middle class,
legalization of marijuana, and democratic reforms including a new
electoral system to replace the first-past-thepost regime under which
he won a majority of the seats with just under 40 per cent of the vote.

He will have to institute the reforms he's promised to the disgraced
Senate, where the Conservatives still hold sway and could prove a
roadblock to Liberal legislation. Tory dominance of the chamber could
be instantly diluted by filling the 22 vacancies left by Stephen Harper.

Trudeau has kicked senators out of the Liberal caucus and has vowed to
create an advisory body to recommend non-partisan Senate nominees.

He has said the first legislation his government will put forward is
one to lower taxes for the middle class and raise taxes for the
wealthiest Canadians.

A Liberal government is also committed to revamping the omnibus
security bill, known as C-51, that gave Canada's spy agency new powers
and angered civil libertarians.

Trudeau has also promised the largest new infrastructure investment in
Canadian history. It would nearly double federal spending on public
transit, affordable housing, recreational facilities and other items
to almost $125 billion over the next decade. The B.C. government
pledged Tuesday to co-operate with federal Liberal Leader Justin
Trudeau on his promise to legalize marijuana.

Premier Christy Clark deflected a question about her personal feelings
on the issue by noting that it falls under federal

She said her government will work with the federal Liberals "in
whatever moves they make" in the weeks or months ahead.

"It's a Criminal Code provision," she said. "The Criminal Code is a
federal responsibility, so if and when they make changes, we'll work
with them to make sure the changes can be effective in B.C."

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton said B.C. expects to be consulted on
any change, but she declined to say what feedback the province might
provide or whether it would support a move to legalize the drug.

"I'm expecting - given what they've said in the election period - that
they're going to be proposing changes to that," she said. "We would
expect to be consulted. The federal government's traditionally very
good about consulting, and we will participate in that."

Trudeau and his party have criticized Canada's current system of
marijuana prohibition as ineffective.

"It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many
Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of
the drug," the Liberal platform states.

The party promised to "legalize, regulate and restrict access to
marijuana" to keep the drug away from children and profits away from

"We will remove marijuana consumption and incidental possession from
the Criminal Code, and create new, stronger laws to punish more
severely those who provide it to minors, those who operate a motor
vehicle while under its influence and those who sell it outside of the
new regulatory framework."

B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake seemed more supportive of the proposed
policy change.

"We have to be thoughtful, obviously," he told reporters at the B.C.
legislature. "This is federal legislation, so we'll work with the
federal government on any policy changes.

"I've always maintained that if you want to protect children, then you
regulate and ensure that they're not able to access it as easily as
they can today."

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan said his party will reveal its stance on
the issue at a later date.

"I've got some ideas on that," he said. "We've been talking about that
inside the caucus and we'll have more to say about that in the days
and weeks and months ahead."

The states of Alaska and Washington, among others, have already
legalized the recreational use of marijuana.

Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste, who was in Victoria on
Tuesday for a forum on cross-border law enforcement, described the
situation there as a "work in progress."

"We're still learning," he said. "It's ongoing. We are seeing an
uptick in incidents on our roadways related to folks driving under the
influence of marijuana and other drugs in general."

Batiste said police have responded by teaching state troopers how to
better detect and deal with that situation.

"What we're trying to do is discover a way [that] we can do roadside
detections as we do with alcohol," he said. If Stephen Harper wants to
know what his nemesis looks like, he has only to look in the mirror.
He was absolutely correct in his concession speech when he took
responsibility for his government's defeat. As Justin Trudeau gears up
to be prime minister, he could learn lessons from Harper, the most
valuable being that one person is not the government, that the prime
minister should reach out to all Canadians, not just to the core
supporters who elected him.

Complaints have been loud and frequent that Harper attained a majority
in Parliament with the support of a minority of voters. The same is
true of Trudeau's majority - the most recent figures show the
Liberals' share of the popular vote at 39.5 per cent, compared to the
Conservatives' 39.6 per cent in the 2011 election.

That does not preclude good government on the part of the Liberals,
but if Trudeau keeps that humbling fact in mind - 60 per cent of
voters wanted someone else to be prime minister - it could prevent him
from isolating himself in the tower of power and help him remember his
promise of inclusiveness.

During the campaign, Harper never really tried to reach outside his
limited circle of support. He came to visit Comox during the campaign
with less than two hours' notice, and only the party faithful were

He sought to stay connected only to his base. He would not have made
many inroads among dedicated supporters of the NDP, the Liberals and
the Greens. But throughout the campaign, polls showed a huge mass of
undecided voters, people looking for answers, ready to be persuaded.

>From the undecided came the swing votes that decided the election.
Trudeau should keep in mind what Harper ignored, that Canadians are
not so sharply divided by partisanship as the Americans are. Most of
us like living in the middle, and how we voted in this election will
not determine how we vote in the next.

Harper left the impression that he didn't particularly like Canadians,
at least not the way they were. He didn't seem to see the country's
wonderful possibilities, but only what he perceived to be its flaws.

In trying to capitalize on our fears, he painted a grim picture of a
country threatened by terrorists from without and subversives within.
His attempt to limit the flow of information bordered on paranoia, and
went contrary to the Canadian spirit of openness.

Sure, there are security concerns, and we should take reasonable
precautions, but a life spent cowering in a bunker is not much of a

Canada steered a good course through the recession with Harper at the
helm - we fared much better than other countries did. The economy
could be better, but it's in decent shape. The unemployment rate is
about seven per cent, not far above what some economists define as
full employment. Inflation is low; incomes are at an all-time high.

A more open, sympathetic Harper could easily have won the election.
But he appeared to forget that the job of MPs (and that includes the
prime minister) is to do, within reason, what the people tell them to
do, not to be telling the people what to do.

Trudeau can learn from Harper's successes and failures. If he doesn't,
remember there will be another election in four years. When Canadians
get tired of arrogance and entitlement, they tend to kick the bums
out, regardless of their political colours.

They've done it before, and they will do it again.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt