Justin Trudeau has been our Prime Minister for 767 days, including today. According to the TrudeauMeter, he has achieved 58 of his 226 campaign promises and has a subsequent 72 in progress. His “broken promises” entail 38 thus far. So, he appears to be doing fairly well. He has kept twice as many promises as he has broken.
If we look at the environment section of the Meter, he made 29 promises grouped by TrudeauMeter into clean tech, climate change, national parks, and water. Overall, he has kept only 6 promises:
- He attended the Paris climate summit and came home to establish the Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Change and Sustainable Growth
- canceled the Northern Gateway Pipeline
- expanded the Learn to Camp program
- Provided free admission to all National Parks in Canada for 2017 (you still have a few weeks to take advantage of this!)
- restored 1.5 million in annual funding for freshwater research
- restored 40 million for funding federal ocean and science monitoring programs
He has broken 4 pledges:
- he did not rapidly expand the federal fleet of electric vehicles
- he did not phrase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry
- he did not re-do the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion review
- he did review the elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act by the Harper gov’t
Of the remaining 19 pledges, 14 are in progress and 5 have yet to be started at all.
So, his environmental track record isn’t great. That said, the federal government does not have a lot of constitutional jurisdiction when it comes to the environment. The provinces have most of the power in this domain.
Of course, he can expand electric vehicles for the federal fleet. And he has been working on this – Catherine McKenna is often tweeting about her electric car. The key part is he did not accomplish this “rapidly.”
Phasing out subsidies. That is federal. He should have done that by now.
Re-examine the Kinder Morgan review. Yes, should have been done.
In terms of the Navigable Water Protections Act… I believe his government is doing this. You can see the federal review here. The government accepted all 11 recommendations that came through Parliament’s Standing Committee on Transport, and you can see that document here. So the TrudeauMeter might be judging the government too harshly here – or they at least need a category for “kinda-kept the promise.”
My sense of Trudeau’s first 2 years in office is that he made more progress on climate change than Harper did in his 10 years in office. The Pan-Canadian Framework is weak, but so is the federal government when it comes to climate change. The federal government is only as strong as the provinces on the climate file. Trudeau does have all provinces talking about climate change and seriously mulling over a price on carbon. This is progress.
Trudeau was also thrown a major curveball with the election of Trump. Trudeau thought he and Clinton would champion environmental issues – and indeed, I believe, they would have.
On all transboundary environmental issues, which are most issues, the Trudeau government is only as strong as the Trump government. And Donald Trump pretty much took his globe shaped soccer ball and went home.