OTTAWA—After more than 200 sitting days in Parliament, the federal government has not lived up to the vast majority of its progressive promises, according to new analysis released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
The report card reviews progress in 16 policy areas at the halfway mark of the Liberal government’s term. It finds that, despite some positive first steps, the Liberals’ ambitious talk hasn’t been backed up with the action needed to make their promises a reality.
“More often than not, the Trudeau Liberals have said all the right things,” says CCPA Executive Director Peter Bleyer. “Unfortunately, the government has failed to live up to its progressive potential, and in some cases implemented regressive policies that push the country in the opposite direction from where we need to go.”
The 2015 election saw Canadians across the country buy into the promise of a new era of progressive governance grounded in the principles of fairness, environmental sustainability, and prosperity for the middle class. But after two federal budgets and two fall economic statements, there has been little follow-through. On tax fairness, the most ambitious reforms have been abandoned. The Canada Child Benefit has lifted many children out of poverty, but does little to address the structural reasons why those children and their parents are poor in the first place — like persistent low wages and unaffordable child care fees.
The report includes concrete policy measures that the federal government could implement in the second half of its term. Among the recommendations:
Create a child care system that increases access while decreasing fees for parents;
Close tax loopholes that only benefit the wealthiest Canadians;
Increase funding for provincial poverty reduction plans;
Implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action;
End direct and indirect fossil fuel industry subsidies;
Develop a universal, public pharmacare program.
“Canadians voted for a progressive government. Fortunately the Liberals have another two years to prove they got one,” says Bleyer. “Implementing the recommendations in this report would be a good place to start.”
Download Missing the Mark: A federal midterm report card at: www.policyalternatives.ca/missing-mark. For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact: Katie Raso, Digital Communications Officer at (613) 563-1341, ext 321.