The Cruise Control Prime Minister

I drive back and forth from Ottawa to Durham very regularly. When the weather is pleasant, and traffic light, I will often use cruise control to take my foot off the gas and relax a little. However as everyone knows, when you approach construction, traffic or hazards, you need to turn off cruise control and take full control of the vehicle. As I drove back to Ottawa this week and contemplated the most recent Liberal flip-flops on issues the Conservatives had been raising in the House of Commons, it made me realize that Justin Trudeau can be best described as our cruise control Prime Minister.

Last week, the Liberal government quietly back-tracked on two issues that they had previously defended in the Commons with vigour. The first change was to pause the Statistics Canada program designed to gather the personal financial information of Canadians without their consent. Thousands of Canadians had signed petitions demanding the government stop this invasive practice and the Conservatives had raised it repeatedly in the House to the mocking scorn of the Trudeau government. The second reversal was even more galling. After weeks of castigating the Conservatives for raising the issue of a child murderer being transferred to a healing lodge only a few years into her sentence, the Liberals quietly transferred the killer back to a prison. In both cases, the Liberals’ initial response was to strongly support the decisions of their departments, claim they were powerless to make a change and attack the opposition for even raising the issues. Their reversals on these issues last week, however, shows that the government always did have the power to intervene, but only chose to take control after rising public outrage forced them to do the right thing.

Read: “Statcan’s plan to harvest Canadians’ private banking info on hold”

Read: “After being shamed into doing the right thing, Trudeau owes some apologies”

These recent cases are part of a larger trend with the Trudeau government. Just a few months ago, it was revealed that a convicted murderer was receiving Veterans Affairs treatment benefits despite the fact that he had never served a day in uniform. To make matters even worse, he was receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress he developed from murdering a young police officer in Nova Scotia. For several weeks we witnessed the embarrassing display of the Liberals trying to defend this decision, when it was clear to everyone that an error had been made by the department. Around the same time, the Liberals finally agreed to turn over documents to the lawyers of Admiral Mark Norman in his breach of trust trial related to Liberal ship-building decisions, but their move came only after weeks of hounding by the Conservatives to ensure that this senior military officer would have his right to a fair trial preserved. From their “budget will balance itself” attitude on public finances, to watching public confidence in the immigration and refugee system erode while they fail to act on illegal border crossings, the Liberals seem to be passive observers to issues facing the country.

Read: “Tories press government to halt payments from Veterans Affairs for convicted killer’s PTSD treatment”

Perhaps we should not be surprised because the tone is set from the top. In the ruling from the ethics commissioner that found Prime Minister Trudeau in violation of ethics rules from his private island holiday, the commissioner reported a startling admission from Justin Trudeau. He told the ethics commissioner that he viewed his role as Prime Minister as being largely “ceremonial in nature” when it came to his dealings with global leaders on behalf of Canada. This admission confirmed that the Prime Minister views his role as being primarily photographs, feel good social media and other ceremonial duties, while he leaves the governing of the country to others. After a few years in office it is clear that he is unwilling to even effectively supervise the actions of his Ministers and their departments because he very reluctant to intervene, make changes or hold people to account. I think it should disturb Canadians that we have a leader who views his role as a ceremonial. It should concern families, seniors and small business owners that decisions about our collective future are being left largely to unelected and accountable advisors to the Trudeau government. Rather than just being on cruise control, it seems that Prime Minister Trudeau is just along for the ride and other people seem to have the wheel. Canadians elect a government to lead and chart a course through the challenges that face our country. We already have a ceremonial figure in the Governor General. We do not need one in the Prime Minister.

Read: “Justin Trudeau: A disengaged Prime Minister”