Let's start with Stephane Dion, our foreign affairs minister. As pointed out yesterday in a post by The Mound, he has quickly condemned the appointment of Canadian Michael Lynk as the United Nation's Special Rapporteur on human rights in Palestine following pressure brought to bear against him on apparently groundless accusations of being biased against Israel. So much for any hopes that Canada would take a more balanced, less reflexively supportive approach to Israel.
Then there is Dion's refusal to reconsider the Saudi arms deal, despite that country's abysmal human-rights record and terrible incursion in Yemen as it leads a coalition to stop the Shiite rebels known as Houthis. This has led to massive starvation resulting in the malnutrition and deaths of about 1.3 million children, including little Udai, who succumbed at the age of five months:
There are growing disappointments domestically as well. One of them, as The Star's Carol Goar points, is the failure to act expeditiously in ending the Harper-initiated CRA witch hunts against charities:
Trudeau pledged to “end the political harassment of charities” by the Canada Revenue Agency — not wind it down gradually, not keep hounding charities that ran afoul of the previous Conservative government to preserve the independence of the agency’s charities directorate.As well, Tim Harper points out a reversal of a stance the Liberals took while in opposition:
Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier quietly changed the plan. She allowed the 24 ongoing audits to take their course in case “serious deficiencies” were found. When they were completed, she would end CRA’s political activities auditing program. The affected charities — which include Oxfam Canada, Environmental Defence and Canada Without Poverty — remain on tenterhooks.
When the former Conservative government agreed to hand over private banking information of Canadians to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the Liberals led the growing chorus of indignation.Now that they are the government, however, the Liberals are singing from a different hymn book:
Their opposition started meekly but built. They tried to amend the law, which they portrayed as a loss of sovereignty and an unnecessary bow to American pressure. They accused Conservatives of breaching Canadians’ charter rights and unconstitutionally discriminating against Canadians based on their country of origin.
Then they went silent. Then they were elected and now they defend the agreement they once vilified.And Canada's much-vilified temporary foreign workers program is getting new life under our new administration. Thomas Walkom reports
The first 155,000 information slips on Canadians with U.S. roots were shipped to the IRS on schedule last Sept. 30, in the middle of the election campaign when Washington told the Canada Revenue Agency it was not eligible to ask for an extension of the order.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are tiptoeing back into the minefield that is Canada’s temporary foreign workers program.This move, of course, will simply facilitate and extend low-paying jobs that Canadians refuse to do instead of allowing pressure for better wages to mount on employers in fish-processing, child care (nannies in particular), and Canadian resorts.
They are doing so carefully. This month’s decision to relax the rules for seasonal industries wishing to hire cheap foreign labour was not publicly announced.
Instead, the information — that such industries will be able to hire unlimited numbers of temporary foreign workers for up to 180 days a year — seeped out through the media.
There have been other disappointments as well, one of which I wrote about recently pertaining to Chrystia Freeland's thinly veiled enthusiasm for CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Disingenuously, the International Trade Minister extolled its benefits while ignoring the severe challenges it will pose to both our sovereignty and our workforce.
There is much that the Liberals have thus far accomplished; perhaps our proudest moment in recent history has been our remarkable achievement of bringing over so many Syrian refugees in such a short period of time, an achievement that has won world-wide admiration. But doubtless there is more disillusionment in store for Canadians as they rediscover ours is a world that too often inflicts both political and personal disenchantment upon even the most optimistic.
When all is said and done, our final evaluation of this government's first term in office will have to revolve around whether its accomplishments outweigh those disappointments.