Let the grand reversal begin, sort of

CrownThe Boy King returns to 24 Sussex in a matter of weeks and so begins what many hope will be a grand reversal of all that the Conservatives have wrought upon Canadians.

I worry, however, that four years probably isn’t enough to undo all that the Conservatives have done over the last 10 years. How long to reverse gutted environmental legislation? To redo Bill C-51? To locate all the missing data that the Tories quite literally threw away? To mend the relationship with public servants, including the many researchers, environmentalists and scientists who were vilified under the Conservatives?

I’m glad that Stephen Harper and many of his more odious cabinet ministers were defeated. Four more years of them would have left me bald and hoarse. But the odds of Trudeau being able to do what we expect are incredibly high. If Tom Mulcair had been able to throw a Hail Mary pass at the end of the 78-day campaign and been swept into power, the odds of him being able to reverse the damage would have been just as high.

However, there are many things Justin Trudeau can do in short order. The first to be expected and welcomed is a change in tone in the House of Commons. It’s embarrassing to see one’s elected Members of Parliament stoop to playground taunts, invective and willful ignorance.  Hopefully, a new tone will also extend to the federal public service, many of whom have been silenced for years under Tory rule. I also expect to learn quite a lot about what we have not been told about the environment, health, the economy, etc., etc., and I’m already shuddering in anticipation of some of the most egregious omissions.

Similarly, bits of the Liberal platform can be put into action relatively quickly, including an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls, the legalization of pot, and tax cuts for the middle class (whoever they actually are, because unless Trudeau can bring back a full long-form Census in only a few short months, we won’t know those kinds of details till 2021).

But other things will take time and I’m ready to be frustrated for a while to come. The environmental damage done by the Conservatives will take years and years to undo. Take climate change for a start. The Liberal platform on this was poor—rather than set truly ambitious goals, Trudeau opted to have a chat with all the premiers before heading to Paris for the Convention of the Parties in December. Not quite sure how he’s going to have time to do this. At the very least, Elizabeth May better be with the Canadian delegation this time, not out in the weeds as she has been for the last few years at these meetings.

So, while Justin and Sophie measure the windows for new curtains and worry that all of that asbestos in 24 Sussex’s walls is gone, or whether that really is black mold in the kids’ bathroom, the rest of us will simply have to wait and see. It should be quite a ride.

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