FUREY: Trudeau Liberals are failing on the basics that Canadians rely on

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There are some Canadians who may be under the mistaken impression that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s job is primarily to fly around the world attending climate parties, contract completely asymptomatic COVID multiple times and pal around with polarizing California Governor Gavin Newsom.

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After all, that’s what Trudeau’s been most visibly up to in recent weeks. He acts like those are the routine tasks on his daily checklist.

But to whatever degree those footloose and fancy free activities do fall under the job description of PM, they’re very much tertiary ones. They’re not the meat and potatoes of the job.

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Ask yourself this: What does the federal government actually do? What are its key duties? And when are the times you or your family have actually engaged with a federal government service?

That last question is an interesting one, because we don’t interact with the feds all that much on a daily basis. The bulk of the government services on which Canadians rely comes to them from the municipal and provincial level.

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But the federal services that we do rely on, the ones that Trudeau and his cabinet are responsible for managing, are now failing in real time for all to see.

Let’s take the airport debacle. Canadians have a right to expect orderly, fast and efficient customer service at airports, both for domestic and international travel. That’s all been sent haywire in recent months mostly due to the government’s inability to let go of pandemic restrictions.

Now that most Canadians acknowledge that COVID has receded to the background and the pandemic is for all practical purposes over, people have returned to travelling with gusto. Yet the feds both can’t handle it and refuse to admit the pandemic is over.

The Ministry of Transport is tasked with providing a service to Canadians and they are failing. Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra was clinging to outdated pandemic rules like Gollum to the rings, rather than embrace evolved policies and swiftly solve the massive backlogs at airports.

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(As I was writing this paragraph a reader email came into my inbox, with the correspondent noting: “I flew from Calgary to Montreal last night. Reminds me of airports in third world countries… Has the governance in Canada led to 3rd world status? It eerily resembles it.”)

Then there are the unprecedented long lineups at Passport Canada offices across the country. Someone looking to renew their passport shouldn’t have to camp outside a government building like it’s Sunrise Records in 1997 and the Backstreet’s Back Tour just went on sale.

Outside a passport office in downtown Toronto on Victoria St. Friday, people planning trips waited at least three hours in line on the sidewalk. “Some people couldn’t wait so they left,” said Felix Suleu who waited at the front of the line at 1:30 p.m. He arrived at 10:20 a.m.
Outside a passport office in downtown Toronto on Victoria St. Friday, people planning trips waited at least three hours in line on the sidewalk.“Some people couldn’t wait so they left,” said Felix Suleu who waited at the front of the line at 1:30 p.m.He arrived at 10:20 a.m. Photo by Scott Laurie /Toronto Sun

The passport application and renewal process is a very basic service delivery. Yet the government can’t handle it. They either won’t or can’t get a grasp on the situation.

Speaking of basics, there’s also the problem with the rising cost of groceries, gas, housing and just about everything else. While inflation and cost of living aren’t traditional service delivery, they bear mentioning along with the other federal fumbles.

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The Bank of Canada’s target of keeping inflation to 1-3% is arguably a federal service provided to Canadians to deliver a secure and stable economy and way of life. They’ve failed to deliver. Both the bank and the Trudeau cabinet’s attitude towards spending has worsened our economic situation, as various experts including a recent Scotiabank report attest.

These are the things that matter. They’re some of the core functions of the federal government. You can ace every climate change speech in the world, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t assist a person with renewing their passport in a reasonable amount of time.

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