A look at policy areas scrutinized by a new book on the Trudeau government

OTTAWA — A group of two dozen Canadian academics took a deep dive into the promises and policies of the Trudeau government as part of a new book that examines the prime minister’s pledge-fulfilment record since the Liberals won power in 2015.

The researchers’ efforts explore more than 10 key policy areas from the Liberals’ election vows four years ago. Here’s a sampling of their conclusions:

Support for the middle class

The book says the Canadian economy has expanded and the jobless rate has fallen to near-historic lows since the start of the Liberal mandate. But it points out that average real weekly earnings for middle-class jobs slipped 0.2 per cent over that period. For all occupations, the research found 1.1 per cent growth overall with increases of 0.2 per cent for the bottom earners and 0.7 per cent for higher earners. “These results show that the Liberal party is right in targeting the middle class, but it has not yet succeeded in curbing the economic forces that place this segment of the population in a difficult position in the current economic context,” the book said.

Indigenous peoples

The book concludes that when it comes to the federal relationship with Indigenous Peoples, the Liberals’ ambitions exceeded achievements. The researchers called the Liberal plan “bold agenda” for this policy area and categorized the promises assessed in the book in two distinct areas: reinvestment in services, and renewing the relationship. “Despite the goodwill to implement the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, it is difficult to imagine that in a four-year term it would be possible to revolutionize a 150-year-old system that is fundamentally colonial,” the book said.

Health policy

The authors of the chapter on health policy found that, in general, the Liberal government’s actions showed a return to a more-interventionist approach in this policy area. The Trudeau government, they wrote, sought to expand the scope of the Canada Health Act to include home care, mental health and pharmacare. The Liberals also focused on harmonized, national performance indicators as part of its commitment to produce results.

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