OTTAWA (CCN) — The massive Liberal victory Oct. 19 has given hope for those who want action on climate change, poverty and help for refugees that the new Trudeau government will deliver on its promises in these areas.
“Watching the election results felt like Trudeaumania II: The Sequel,” said Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) executive director Joe Gunn. “The Liberals hit more home runs than the Blue Jays!”
“It was gratifying to see a resurgence of democracy, as it seemed certain that more Canadians went to the polls,” he said. The Liberals won a solid majority with 184 seats, to the Conservatives 99, the NDP’s 44, the Bloc Quebecois’ 10, and the Green Party’s one.
Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) deputy communications director Ryan Worms said his organization had been pushing for the high level of participation witnessed at the polls. “Canadians want to have a change and also to get involved in policies for the next four years.”
On international development, Worms said he hopes the new Liberal government will “restore a stronger dialogue with civil society with definite international development goals and strategies and that we will also get back to a level of funding that will allow Canada to meet expectations. We hope the needs of the poorest in the Global South will be at the centre of the new government’s concerns.”
Worms noted the Liberal party seemed more “open to dialogue” and willing “to find real strong solutions to fight climate change” and “to commit” to a binding agreement in upcoming talks. “We will continue our campaign mobilization in the coming weeks and we hope that the Catholic mobilization around the issues of protecting our common home will be taken into account by the new government and in their position in Paris in December.”
Gunn said Canadians “are looking for some pretty immediate tone changes from their new majority government: the re-establishment of a functioning census, evidence-based decision-making with civil servants’ views able to be publicly expressed, no more demonization of refugees and those who work to help resettle them, and respect for women who wear traditional clothing from their culture or religion, for example.”
“CPJ works on three issues where we need to see content changes from our federal government as well: on refugees: the immediate facilitation of 25,000 Syrians as promised during the campaign; on poverty, the implementation of the child benefit that should lift thousands of kids from poverty, and on climate change, a specific target for greenhouse gas reductions that is far more ambitious than Canada’s current, extremely weak, limit — and a workable plan to achieve that target — all before the UN climate summit begins on the First Sunday in Advent in Paris,” Gunn said. “Canadians massively decided that Justin is ready. Now we need to see if a Liberal government is.”
Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), the political arm of the pro-life movement, expressed concern the newly elected government “will push for more abortion access in Canada and around the world,” and will “refuse to invoke the notwithstanding clause to allow the democratic process to decide euthanasia and assisted-suicide legislation in Canada.”
“CLC urges the Liberal caucus to refrain from passing a permissive euthanasia and assisted-suicide law that will surely put the lives of many vulnerable Canadians at risk,” said CLC president Jim Hughes, “I also call on Trudeau to represent all Canadians and allow his MPs to vote their conscience on moral issues, issues that many of their constituents feel very strongly about.”
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) executive director Alex Schadenberg said he is “incredibly worried” Canada will see a Belgium-style euthanasia regime imposed on Canada, because the wording of the Supreme Court of Canada’s Carter decision is so broad and imprecise.
“It’s possible the Liberals may decide not to legislate at all and let the provinces take over euthanasia and assisted suicide,” Schadenberg said. “Then they would be officially defined as health care.”
Doing so would negatively affect the health care system and put vulnerable people at risk, he warned.
Many people become “emotionally drained” and go through a “dark time in their soul” when they become sick, and might think “their life has lost value,” Schadenberg said. These people are “very vulnerable” and may end up euthanized when they are really asking for help with their suffering.
Schadenberg also expressed deep concern for physicians and other health care workers who want nothing to do with killing their patients. “Under this government, will they be forced to refer or in some way participate?”
Institute of Marriage and Family (IMFC) executive director Andrea Mrozek sees a positive message in the repudiation of the NDP’s $15 a day national daycare program.
“Nobody voted for national daycare,” she said. “That is a clear statement that this is not the type of childcare program that families want.”
While the IMFC supported the Tories plan for income-splitting for families, Mrozek said the “Liberal plan on help for parents is actually more complicated than the Conservative plan, but it does involve financial support that goes directly to parents. So I hope the idea of national daycare is laid to rest. When you ask parents what they want to do, they don’t prefer this form of care.”