politics

A Definitive Ranking of the 17 Bills That Justin Trudeau Has Passed so Far

Behold the swift and terrible power of the Liberal government.

by Drew Brown
May 9 2017, 3:00pm

Source: YouTube screencap

Justin Trudeau is a pretty hot topic these days. Love him or hate him—he's everywhere! Seems like lately you can't scroll through the algorithmically-determined RECOMMENDED FOR YOU link at the bottom of a tedious thinkpiece slapped up on the internet by some local or international news conglomerate without seeing a photo of our Dear Leader's face.

What is his secret? Who does his hair? Is he doing enough to tackle climate change? Is he doing so much that he's going to destroy the economy? Did he let in too many refugees, not enough, or the magical Goldilocks number of Liberal-voting Muslim entrepreneurs? Is he hotter than Emmanuel Macron? Win, LOL, Fail, WTF? You just can't get enough of this guy and content never sleeps.

But what has Justin's government actually done so far? While there's a some big ticket stuff in the works, like marijuana legalization, it turns out that the Liberals have successfully passed only 17 bills since taking office in the fall of 2015. Which is a little on the low side for a majority government in Canada that's almost halfway through its first term.

In order to determine whether or not Justin Trudeau is good or bad, I'm going to grade his new laws. They are not going to be listed in any particular order except obviously I'm saving the best for last to get you to read the whole article. You could scroll to the end but that would defeat the purpose and maybe you're missing some ace material in the middle, how would you know? (Trick question, obviously you would not.)

Bill: S-4 Title: An Act to implement a Convention and an Arrangement for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and to amend an Act in respect of a similar Agreement
Received Royal Assent: 15 December 2016

This bill sets up tax arrangements between Canada and Israel to make tax evasion harder for rich pieces of shit and also prevents both governments double-taxing the same source of income when someone has to file their taxes in both jurisdictions. Seems pretty legit. The bill also sets up the same arrangements between Canada and Taipei. Two birds with one stone—nice one, JT. Victory sign emoji.

Bill(s): C-15 and C-29
Title(s): An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2016 and other measures and A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2016 and other measures
Received Royal Assent: 22 June 2016 / 15 December 2016

You know, you may not agree with the government's choices in Budget 2016—heck, I sure don't—but you gotta give it up to them for passing some of its provisions. I mean, insofar as democracy means anything, in principle it's good for everyone if governments do what they say they're going to do. It makes it easy for citizens to rationally weigh each party's claims against one another and it creates transparency and trust and the robust institutions that make Canada the best democracy in the world. And I think that's just dandy. Let's just celebrate the positive things in life instead of constantly being such cynical pieces of shit about politics. Let's give it up for the process.

Bill: C-26
Title
: An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act and the Income Tax Act
Received Royal Assent:
15 December 2016

Wow, seems like last December 15th was a pretty busy day, huh? Anyways, this act marginally raises everyone's contributions to the Canada Pension Plan gradually up to 2025, so that middling-income workers under the age of 45 who don't enjoy the protection of a public sector or company benefits plan to get a bigger payout from the CPP when they eventually do retire. Honestly, as the exact sort of person directly meant to benefit from this legislation (ie. a young worker with little institutional protection in a precarious economy with no secure, pensioned employment readily available), it's hard for me to really quibble with this law. I mean, as a freelancer, it's annoying to have to pay my own taxes and the increase in CPP is more visible there than if I was just plugging T4s directly into the Canada Revenue Agency mainframe like people with real jobs do. But I very consciously try not to let this kneejerk, adolescent lizard-brain impulse cloud my judgement that overall it's a good thing that by paying marginally more—an extra $9 a month now and $43 a month in 2025 when the program is fully paid in, which is admittedly less marginal and more annoying—that I am more likely able to retire comfortably after a working life of living mostly hand to mouth with little ability to save. Unless, of course, my generation succumbs to the rising wave of fascism and becomes as monstrous as the boomers did in the 1980s and end up scrapping the pension plan and using all the savings to buy new mecha-suits for the Space Force in their attempt to put down insurrections in the Martian colonies and I do end up dying in poverty in some shithole nursing home where I have been abandoned by my ungrateful children and their sex-android life partners after all.

Which, let's be real, is much more likely than the CPP paying out properly when I retire.

Bill: C14
Title: An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)
Received Royal Assent: 17 June 2016

This dovetails nicely with the CPP adjustments. If nothing else, it will be easier for me to kill myself in the future if/when my life becomes a medically-augmented waking nightmare in a nursing home. Now that's a legacy the Liberals can hang their hat on.

Bill: C-13
Title: An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act, the Hazardous Products Act, the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Pest Control Products Act and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and to make related amendments to another Act
Received Royal Assent: 12 December 2016

Look, there's a lot going on in this one, and to actually go through it here piece-by-piece would be a whole thing. You can read a detailed summary and analysis of the bill's contents here on the Library of Parliament's website, which is incidentally a really good resource if you want to know what the government is doing in the House. But if you don't want to do that, you can look at this instead:

Bill: C-11
Title:
An Act to amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities)
Received Royal Assent: 22 June 2016

This is a law that implements the Marrakesh Treaty, which is an international agreement that would make it easier for individuals with visual impairments to access copyrighted material tailored to suit their needs. It's a pretty solid law honestly, there's not much to add.

Bill: C-10
Title: An Act to amend the Air Canada Public Participation Act and to provide for certain other measures
Received Royal Assent: 22 June 2016

This bill amended parts of the Air Canada Public Participation Act (legislation still in force from when Air Canada was a Crown corporation) to loosen regulations on where Air Canada is required to perform maintenance work on its aircraft—from Winnipeg, Montreal, and Mississauga in particular to Manitoba, Quebec, and Ontario generally. The execs at the airline were pretty stoked about it, but the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) were less enthused and actually filed an injunction with the Quebec Supreme Court to halt the implementation of the law. The bill also sparked a class-action lawsuit on behalf of former Aveos employees against the governments of Canada and Quebec, so even though it's received Royal Assent, it's unclear when the amendments will actually come into force given all the matters before the courts. Not sure we can even really count this one, honestly.

Bill: C-2
Title: An Act to amend the Income Tax Act
Received Royal Assent: 15 December 2016

C-2 lowered the second personal income tax bracket from 22 percent to 20.5 percent and added a new 33 percent marginal tax rate on personal incomes above $200,000. It also lowered the annual Tax-Free Savings Account contribution cap from $10,000 to $5,500. Honestly I have no real opinion about this because I don't make enough money to save anything in a TFSA and I don't really know anyone who does. Plus, I am incapable of thinking about retirement both due to the last vestiges of my fleeting youth preventing true contemplation of my own mortality and also the crushing economic realities of late capitalism. It's probably pretty important though.

Bill(s): C-3, C-8, C-9, C-19, C-20, C-35, C-40, C-41
Title(s): An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2016 (No. 4-5), An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017 (No. 1-5), and An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018 (No. 1)

Received Royal Assent: a bunch of times who cares

These are some good-ass bills. Every government regardless of party generally has between four and five of them a year. First off, they have the best name, because it sounds like we're literally paying Queen Elizabeth to show up in Ottawa and make it rain certain sums of money on bureaucrats. Second, they are the supply bills that authorizes the money that keeps the government functioning, which is generally pretty useful. Overall, good stuff. Definitely would give these bills like 8 out of 10, for sure.

There you have it folks. I feel like we've learned a lot here today. Based on his government's actual accomplishments so far, is Justin Trudeau good or bad? I guess that really all depends on your perspective. One man's trash is another man's treasure. Thanks for reading. Remember to be kind to yourselves, and each other. God bless


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