Well after the Election results of Monday and our new Government much has happened. The former Prime Minister Stephen Harper has disappeared, only to surface momentarily on 22 October for an Official ceremony at the National War Memorial presided by the Governor General as Commander in Chief in memory of the assassination of Caporal Nathan Cirillo last year while guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It turns out that this tragic incident could have been prevented had the numerous budget cuts ordered by Harper had not gone ahead. The New Prime Minister Designate Justin Trudeau was also present at the ceremony. The other Political Party chief Thomas Mulcair is totally absent since election night. No one seems to know where he is.
Rideau Hall the Official Residence of the Governor General of Canada in Ottawa.
Trudeau will be sworn in as the new Prime Minister on Wednesday 4 November at Rideau Hall, the Residence of H.E. the Governor General and will then present his new Cabinet. Trudeau has also said that he is not moving into the Official Residence of the Prime Minister at 24 Sussex Drive. The National Capital Commission has advised that the 35 room mansion needs a total refit and major work must be done. This recommendation had been made in 2008 but Harper chose to ignore it. The house sits on a cliff high above the Ottawa river, needs about $10 million dollars worth of restoration and reconstruction. Nothing has been done since 1949, problems of asbestos and mildew, 65 year old electrical and plumbing needing a major retrofit, no A/C and poor heating. It is likely that the work will require two years, so Trudeau and his family will live somewhere else for the time being.
It was also announced that the National Census will be restored, data on the country is now more than 9 years old and is severely hampering the work of the government in terms of planning and public policy work. The National Census was abolished by Harper stating it was according to him a waste of time. Only Third World Countries have no population census, Canada was until Harper came along a shining example to follow on how to develop National Statistics. It is hoped that we can regain that reputation, it is not impossible, 2016 is the year of the Census.
Many pet projects of Harper have also been abandoned such as the Monument to the Victims of Communism which was to be built next to the Supreme Court and dwarf the building. The project is ugly, has a Stalinist quality about it and immensely costly, it has been criticized by scores of architects, urban planners, the Mayor of Ottawa our new Member of Parliament and other politicians as being inappropriate for the Parliamentary Precinct. Another project which has quietly disappeared was the Holocaust Memorial, fund raising has stalled and donors are not coming forward, even the Jewish community is not for it. It too may never be built, many critics had said that given the horrors of Fascism in Europe it would be more appropriate to make it a memorial to all victims not just one group.
Trudeau has also said that he will be amending scores of Legislations passed by Harper and his regime. Other Laws will be abolished out right. He also announced that he will see what we can do to allow into Canada 25,000 Syrian refugees before the end of the year. That is a very tall order and I am not certain it can be done, for one there is insufficient manpower to do the work and the logistics alone are enormous. But Trudeau wants to respect our International commitments.
On the environment front, Trudeau has announced a new direction and the White House and the European Union is pleased that Canada is now coming back to its old role in terms of commitment to green emission. The Paris Conference will be a good chance to see this new direction and Trudeau invited all Parties in Parliament to participate and come along to the Conference.
All this is good news and there is more, a shower of good news this week. Now we will have to watch who is in the new Cabinet on November 4 and when the Speech from the Throne will take place which will announce the new agenda of the Prime Minister and his government.