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Canadian Politics

A19(b) - Assessing the Policy Performance of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government: Retrospective, Prospective or Gyroscopic Mandate Assessments - Panel 3

Date: Jun 6 | Time: 01:30pm to 03:00pm | Location: SWING 405

Chair/Président/Présidente : Lisa Birch (Université Laval)

Session Abstract: Democratic mandate theory has many variants models of representation varying from promissory, to anticipatory to gyroscopic or surrogate representation (Mansbridge, 2003). These theoretical models of representation have different implications for governing party behavior and for the ways in which citizens hold them accountable and make voting decisions. They also have different implications for how political parties construct their campaign platforms. The Trudeau government’s decision to hire Michael Barber, to implement his "deliverology" model and to create the Mandate Letter Tracker suggests that the Trudeau government may prioritize promissory representation. Yet, over the course of a four-year period, unanticipated events forced issues onto the government’s agenda and led to decisions. The Trudeau polimeter tracks the 353 promises identified in the platform. As of early September 2018, 42% of promises are rated as kept, 39% as kept in part or in the works, 4 % as broken and 15% are not yet rated. However, in an era of permanent campaigns, political marketing, and new political governance, one may well question the very nature of election promises. Some promises may target specific market segments and others may be more or less salient to citizens. Which model of representation best accounts for the actions of the Trudeau government since it came to power in October 2015? What role, if any, did deliverology play? Does it matter which promises are kept and which promises are broken? We propose 4 panels, linked to a collective book to be published in both official languages.

Immigration Policy & Refugees: Mireille Paquet (Concordia University)
Abstract: In this chapter, Mireille Paquet reports on the realization of important electoral promises in the field of immigration and refugees and observes the presence of major innovative accomplishments. These accomplishments obey both a humanitarian logic and a clientelist motivation based on the premise that immigration is essential to Canada's economic future.

Social Policies for a Stronger Middle Class: Daniel Béland (University of Saskatchewan / McGill University)
Abstract: Many promises were intended to make life more affordable for lower and middle-class Canadians in the Liberal platform, including reducing employment insurance premiums, and increasing Canada Pension Plan benefits and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. This chapter investigates to what extent Liberal government fulfilled those promises. It also examines a few social policy measures taken by the Trudeau government during its mandate that were not announced in the Liberal platform.

The Legalization of Recreational Cannabis : Jared Wesley (University of Alberta)
Abstract: This chapter reviews the actions taken by the Liberal government in implementing one of the most important promises of the Liberal Party, the legalization of recreational cannabis. It examines the work of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization leading up to the enactment of the Cannabis Act and companion legislation to strengthen existing impaired driving laws. The chapter also evaluates how the Act protects Canadian youth and keep profits out of the hands of organized crime.