The 100-day honeymoon faces a reality check
Published Thursday, February 11, 2016 5:54PM EST
One hundred days is the approximate gestation period for lions, leopards and pigs.
In an unrelated development, it is also the incubation period for new governments to be first assessed in style, if not substance.
Today is Justin Trudeau’s 100th day as Liberal prime minister. Much will be written and said by way of analysis, most of it fawningly favorable.
But before we get too giddy about Trudeau’s real change agenda, let us recall the Stephen Harper inauguration era.
In early 2006, the newbie prime minister met with opposition leaders and premiers, delivered a budget, dashed over to Afghanistan, changed the routine for nominating Supreme Court justices, inked a softwood lumber deal, pledged closer ties with the United States and started his 10-year war with the national press gallery.
All told, it was just as change-driven as the early days of Trudeau, minus about 10,000 selfies.
Of course, the Harper tone was starkly aggressive, antagonistic and aloof.
Trudeau biggest kept promise to date is an abruptly changed attitude as he defies the swirling economic gloom with bubbling personal optimism.
But a few quibbles of note.
The prime minister never did deliver a coherent explanation for Canada’s retreat from the air war over Syria and Iraq, even as we fuel and target fighter combat by others.
His priority push for national action on climate change seems to be faltering as premiers go their own way with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
And most worryingly of all, the government’s costly list of commitments is starting to clash with budget preparations.
Informed whispers say the Finance Minister is finding himself mired much deeper in deficit than anticipated, perhaps nudging $10-billion.
If you start piling on megabuck promises to that deepening quagmire of lost revenue, talk of a $30-billion stimulus deficit seem alarmingly plausible even though Canada has not slipped into recession.
As is typical of post-wedding-day bliss, the Trudeau government’s hundred-day honeymoon was filled with photos, giddy vows and excited planning for the future.
But once he’s been in office 200 days – incidentally, the gestation period for baboons – Trudeau will have to stop monkeying around with developing expectations and deliver tangible action.
That’s the Last Word.