Canada once earned a good reputation in the world. But under the new prime minister’s predecessor it suffered. Restoring the reputation is high on Justin Trudeau’s wish list.
At a rally in Ottawa, he said: “Many of you have worried that Canada has lost its compassionate and constructive voice in the world over the past ten years. Well, I have a simple message for you. On behalf of 35 million Canadians: we’re back.”
Trudeau hits the ground running. His first month in office is packed. The rookie diplomat said: “Canada must be fully committed on the international stage, for [its own and others’ success].”
Just over one week from now, the G20 leaders meet in Turkey, with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the Philippines right afterwards. The marathon will continue at the Commonwealth leaders’ gathering in Malta before climate talks in France, which run into December.
Trudeau aims to rehabilitate his country’s environmental image. Canada dropped out of the Kyoto protocol and is one of the world’s top three carbon polluters per capita. Conservative policy gave the Alberta tar sands and oil exports priority.
Not the Liberals. Trudeau has invited the provinces’ premiers with him to Paris, blazing a new trail in federal-provincial relations.
“I will be engaging with the premiers in the coming weeks to establish a strong position for Canada, so that people know that Canada’s years of being a less than enthusiastic actor on the climate change file are behind us.”
Once back on home ground, he’ll have domestic promises to keep. During campaigning he pledged that his first piece of legislation would be to ease taxes for some middle income earners and raise them for higher ones.
According to these plans, Canadians with incomes between the equivalent of around 31,000 euros and 82,000 will pay less, and with above 180,000 they’ll pay more.
Trudeau also promised to give more weight to fundamental privacy rights and repeal controversial changes the Conservatives made to anti-terrorism laws after a so-called lone-wolf gunman and convert to Islam killed a soldier in an attack on Parliament Hill in Ottawa last year.
On the Syria conflict, he is committed to withdrawing Canadian fighter jets from the US-led aerial bombing mission against ISIL, and to welcoming 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by year’s end.