Time for Justin Trudeau to embrace a radical agenda

We are now in the post-election period but none of the pre-election crises have disappeared.

Climate change is still racing towards us faster than Canada’s unwieldy, painfully slow political machine can process. Manitoba just declared a state of emergency after its first massive snowstorm, with thousands out of power, and winter has not even started.

And Indigenous peoples continue to die prematurely.

Canada lacks an emergency action plan to deal with climate change and it lacks a justice plan to end genocide against Indigenous women and girls. If ever there was a time to govern differently, that time is now.

But Justin Trudeau’s minority faces the dual challenge of trying to hold on to power and, at the same time, take the necessary radical action to address these crises. The Liberals’ ability to maintain government could be tested at every vote.

After enjoying the relative freedom that comes with majority power, the Liberals’ minority status will test Trudeau’s leadership skills. And Trudeau still comes off as a rookie on some of the bigger files, which makes many wonder. Is he not listening or are the people around him acting as problematic gate-keepers?

Either way, it does not bode well if Trudeau cannot change up his game given the depth and speed at which societal values and priorities are shifting.

Today, a growing number of young people are engaged in politics in ways we have not seen before and are beginning to see the power they wield in this country.

They’re also more comfortable with the need for radical change on core issues like the relationship with Indigenous peoples, climate change and social justice in general. Many voting youth live in urban areas that are rich in diversity, cultures and ideas. They are the generation that will have to address all the crises leaders before them left for another day.

Only a stable government will be able to take the sort of immediate and targeted action needed to move in substantive ways on genocide and climate change. But Canada’s stability will rely on more than mere strategic alliances between the Liberals and NDP and/or Bloc and Greens. It will require re-engaging Canadians and First Nations in consultations that go beyond the comfortable consultations with previous party members and former Ministers.

Right now it’s non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that in many respects are doing the hard work that governments should be doing – whether its human rights, anti-poverty, environmental protection or prison justice.

Think of all the advocates, activists and land defenders who put their physical well-being, safety and personal freedom on the line. They are examples of true, value-based government in action. It takes heroic strength, resilience and determination. It is incomprehensible how governments in Canada could marginalize and exclude these everyday heroes and leaders.

If Trudeau misses this opportunity to work collaboratively with these informal governors, he will do so at his own peril.

Canada’s youth understand that if we are to have a future, everything must change. As the youth continue to join forces with NGOs and First Nations, they will become an unstoppable force.

The next move is Trudeau’s.


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