As the government of Justin Trudeau sails into the third year of its mandate this would be a good time to reflect on the most important expectations we have of this government for 2018.
I'm asking you to outline your priorities. I'm not being facetious when I admit that I've come up empty-handed. Oh I supposed they're going to legalize pot but that was last year's business, wasn't it?
I had plenty of hopeful expectations of Team Trudeau when they took office. Those were reasonable given the solemn promises young Trudeau made on the campaign trail in 2015. We've learned a lot since then.
Lately there hasn't been a lot of wind in Justin's sails. The ship of state is becalmed but, fortunately for Cap'n Selfie, the passengers in steerage class don't seem to mind as one month blurs into the next.
So please, lift my spirits with your enthusiasms. What do you expect from JT and his orchestra this year?
And, without wanting to put a damper on your ponderings, you may want to have a look at Konrad Yakabuski's take on our "disengaged prime minister."
Mr. Trudeau's managerial style suggests a leader somewhat disengaged from the job he was elected to perform. After Stephen Harper's frigid personality, Canadians wanted likeability and empathy from their Prime Minister and Mr. Trudeau scores highly on both.
But no one could ever accuse Mr. Harper of being disengaged from his job. He inhabited it, often to excess. He was intimate with the "details" of government business, but his administration was largely a one-man show. And there was no room for opinions that did not mesh with his own.
Unlike Mr. Harper, Mr. Trudeau did not enter politics on a mission to undo decades of statist Liberal policy. He clearly prefers the "ceremonial" aspects of his job to the actual exercise of power. He has moved decisively to banish MPs and staffers who appear to have contravened his feminist values.
But he is no policy wonk, allowing PMO staffers and bureaucrats to work out the details of government decisions. He seems to view his job as one of brand-building and selling the final product.
This yields the results we have come to know. Can anyone imagine the torturous Bill Morneau affair enduring this long under Mr. Harper, Jean Chrétien or Brian Mulroney? Granted, each of these previous prime ministers had very different managerial styles. But no one can argue they did not assume the full weight of their responsibilities. It showed in their faces.
Someone needs to write Mr. Trudeau his own mandate letter.