Trudeau’s to-do list — and what’s in the way

His chest-beating about freedom, rallying cries against “woke culture” and his use of persistent persuasion in an effort to convince people Ottawa is to blame for their problems has brought a new wave of members to his party. The attention has generated a crush of Conservative donations, which could spell trouble for the Liberals.

Liberals are under new pressure to bank some wins and gear up against Poilievre’s growing anti-Trudeau base.

Here are some issues and priorities on Trudeau’s to-do list.

High inflation and potential recession

Inflation is a burning issue in nearly all Canadian households and threatens to upturn the government’s progressive agenda.

An Angus Reid poll last month suggested 4 in 5 Canadians feel their wallets being stretched. Half of the people polled said they wouldn’t be able to manage household costs if they were faced with a surprise C$1,000 expense.

Scotiabank economist Derek Holt has been critical of government spending. He called Trudeau’s C$4.5-billion affordability plan, timed to roll out in December, evidence of “never ending stimulus creep” out of lockstep with the central bank’s attempt to cool demand with successive interest rate hikes. Meanwhile, demand is up at food banks.

“If the aim was not to stimulate the economy in order to put up strong numbers until the next winter budget, then perhaps the amount could have been paid out in February — after holiday shopping, to pay down credit card bills, and with a couple of feet of snow on the ground across much of the country,” Holt wrote in a report last week.

Inflation could also influence a key area of policy focus for the Trudeau government: climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Retooling and retrofitting the economy to the tune of C$2 trillion over 30 years may not jibe with voters should they encounter a recession. The massive price tag underscores the scale of capital that will be required to fund a green industrial revolution that reforms high-polluting industries.

High inflation will create communication challenges for the government. Spending untold sums of money to help industry move through a green transition while taxpayers are saddled with dealing with runaway inflation is a recipe for discontent.

New affordability legislation

To tackle growing concerns about inflation and cost of living, Trudeau has promised that an affordability plan will be one of the first pieces of legislation to be introduced this fall.

Announced at his party’s summer caucus retreat, the C$4.5 billion, three-pillar plan is geared to give respite to low-income families. It would temporarily double the federal goods and service tax rebate for “low and modest” income earners and offer a one-time, C$500 top-up for rental support. It will also launch a national benefit to cover dental expenses for children under the age of 12, up to C$650 per child annually. Poilievre has warned the multibillion-dollar aid package could make inflation worse — and some economists agree.

The goal is to introduce and pass legislation before Dec. 1.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has a deal with the Liberals that would give Trudeau the votes he…

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