Living in hope for Trudeau-nomics


A caring economy: Do you really care?

It is heart-warming to see the numerous aspects of Trudeau-stroika, the Liberal prime minister’s version of openness, political tolerance, respect for diversity, communicativeness and a caring engagement with the Canadian people.
That also includes an approach to the international community that seeks to concentrate on cooperation rather than confrontation and military interventions.
Having said that, I go on to stress that there is an equally important place in our society for a set of economic values and structures that embodies a forceful focus on making economic development compatible with social justice.
This approach to economic management will be Trudeau-nomics. Trudeau-nomics will treat chronic unemployment, permanent under-employment, non-existent employment benefits and poverty as social manifestations of unadulterated evil.
We have a lot to look forward to in the change of tone, style and attitude at work in Trudeau-stroika.
In particular, my attention was drawn to one specific factor of that much vaunted change: his new cabinet of ministers is not dominated by a majority of persons with heavy political experience and solid parliamentary experience at the federal level. “New blood” in the cabinet accounted for between 60% and 70%, depending on how you define the term.
When I mentioned this to my friend Rick, his immediate response was sharp, on the button, as some people say: If you want to solve long-festering problems and make meaningful change, you cannot use the same kind of thinking and the same mix of persons as those that created the problems in the first place.
From the very first day, the way things are being done speaks loudly of a change of tone and emphasis. In the selection of ministers, the issue of form becomes just as important as the issues of content and intent.
The cabinet itself is at one and the same time the messenger of change and the message of change. Even though there are no persons of Chinese or African heritage, the diversity in that leadership team contrasts strongly with previous cabinets in terms of gender, ethnicity and the number of younger faces.
But – and there is a but – it is also in the national interest that there be a structured, systemic and sustained change in the way the Liberal government reorders our economy. It is no secret that I reject the defeatist attitude that says there is little we can do about the harsh “realities” of today’s “market economy”.
Without going back into the big issues of economic theory and practice, I confess to two of my pet peeves in our day-to-day lives. Both peeves relate to post-secondary education.
I cannot accept the obscene fees being charged for post-secondary education and the even more obscene system of student loans that leaves our graduated professionals financially hamstrung for as much as a decade of their working lives.
On a similarly ethical note, I have used the most polite language I could find to express my revulsion at the use, abuse and exploitation of fully qualified temporary / contract / part-time teaching staff in our universities and community colleges.
Now the good news for Trudeau-nomics: There is a cabinet minister whose official mandate and personal vocation coincide with my vision of Trudeau-nomics – Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of families, children and social development. He is an economist who has been heavily focused on putting human issues such as poverty at the heart of our country’s economic policy.
In considering the extent to which the new Liberal government will bring meaningful change to our collective lives, I will not be fully satisfied until Trudeau-stroika is consolidated with Trudeau-nomics.
Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Honourable Minister Duclos, I am counting on you. Don’t let me down.

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