Opinion » Maxed Out

Time for Trudeau's first report card


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Dear Prime Minister Selfie:

What's that? Oh, did I hurt your feelings? Sorry. Quid pro quo, don'tcha know.

It's been six months, JT. The glow is starting to fade. Still new, but not so shiny these days. We had such high hopes. A momentary lapse of cynicism. Why did you go and spoil it?

Don't get me wrong. I'm still way happier you're prime minister than those other guys who were running. Ol' whatshisname, the sourpuss who's surfaced down in the U.S. preaching to a bunch of rich Republicans about how to unite their party. Or poor Tommy Mulcair who just found out leading the NDP doesn't come with a golden parachute, least not one that opens.

But gratitude is waning in the absence of — what's the word I'm looking for? Action? Substance? Progress? Making good on promises? Any of those will do.

You seem to have forgotten many of us held our noses when we voted for our respective Liberal MP candidate. I know I did. But hey, I'm an optimist, maybe even naive. I believed you when you said fixing the overreach of Bill C-51 was a very high priority for the Liberal party. Man, was I ever duped. I haven't heard you utter a word about that since, when was it, October 18th? Can't find an utterance when I put the Google on it.

So when are you going to fix it, JT? It's not like it needs 18 standing committees to put some independent oversight into what will surely become excesses in the name of — moment of silence, please — National Security. Heck, Bob Rae outlined a plan for the party to fix C-51 over a year ago. You remember Bob, don't you?

Sorry to distract you from the next photo op but what the heck are you waiting for? If this is your interim report card, you get an F on that one. Ooh, self-esteem body blow. Sorry, Precious. Let's move on.

If it helps take the sting out, you did good bringing in the Syrian refugees. You can have an A with a silver star for that one. Nice touch that it set the U.S. Homeland Security boys' hair on fire.

But I'm afraid your big gun — infrastructure spending — barely scrapes by with a C-. And you can consider that a mercy grade. Not to put too fine a point on it, your budget sucked. And your plans for infrastructure spending will not only prove to be too little but, assuming you pull off another term, too late. But at least it's something.

Which is more than I can say about your approach to physician-assisted death. "Can I have an extension, please?" was bold, dude. Not a good kind of bold though. Here's a flash: No matter what you do with this one, some people aren't going to like it. Too bad. You took the job, you sit in the hot seat. Here's another flash: Doing nothing is going to piss off everyone.

You're, thankfully, not inventing the wheel here. Or the selfie. There are plenty of good models out there. Of course, no matter how good they are they all have detractors, haters, thumpers who rail about the road to perdition and the slippery slope leading to death panels. Since they'll hate whatever you come up with, why not try to please people who just want to see some progress on this... before they have to die a hideous, painful death they'd just as soon take a pass on? D+ for that.

Oh, and the kids who have been busted in the last six months for pot possession are wondering what happened to your promise to legalize it. I'm too freakin' old to care at this point but others aren't. And a number of people sucking air on the investments they've made in anticipation of you making good on your promise are wondering whether you'll get around to fulfilling it before they go bankrupt. And if you haven't noticed, Colorado and Washington are rollin' dough because their residents can legally roll weed. That'd go a long way to making up for the infrastructure money that might happen... one day in the future. F is your grade for that.

Guess I'd better give you a pat on the back right about now. You're making progress on helping Canada shed its global image as an environmental pariah. We're still a long way from being green and I suspect you're going to break some hearts to prop up Alberta's tar sands glut — not to mention virtually greenlighting that little LNG thing in Howe Sound, much to the chagrin of big marine mammals making a return — but whatever substance appears out of the smoke and mirrors will be a vast improvement over your predecessor. Grade: B-.

And you did good on tinkering with the tax regs. The rich-by-any-other-name will pay a bit more, bones to the middle class, symbolic slaying of the inflated TFSA contribution limits. Bone soup, but soup nonetheless. B+.

You wasted no time announcing the resurrection of the longform census. Good on ya — A+.

You met with the first ministers for the first time in forever. Not much came out of it but we weren't expecting much — at least not the first time around. A.

You unmuzzled federal scientists and set up a non-partisan, merit-based group to recommend senators. A on the former and, well, who cares about the latter?

Then there was that promise about not whipping your MPs. Well that didn't last long, did it? Oh, you softened the threatened whip. So maybe that counts. Not in my book but maybe in yours. My MP represents me. I voted for her. I'd like her to represent her constituents' interests. Sometimes they differ from the party's interests. That's the crux of independence. Put away the whip. C-.

Justice isn't a vague concept. It's a process. It relies on law enforcement, lawyers, prosecutors and, oh yeah, JUDGES. Judges are appointed in this country. But someone isn't appointing them. Still studying — correction, still talking about studying — a process to appoint them. There is no justice without judges. If you're going to whip someone, start whipping Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. Perhaps you've heard the phrase justice delayed is justice denied. D-.

And arms to Saudis you just approved: Double F!

And finally, gotta quit on a high grade. Can't let you think I don't like you. That'd be "like" in the dictionary sense, not the Facebook sense. Two million, two schmillion. Doesn't mean diddly if you don't pull up your sox and start making things happen. But you wasted no time making this happen, so I have to give you an A+, yes, that's A+, with a gold star for wasting no time giving yourself and your MPs a pay raise. Wow! Not a speck of cynicism.

But hey, if I could raise my own pay, I'd do it.