Trudeau Dismantling Conservative Legal Policy in Canada

Justin Trudeau

On October 19th, Justin Trudeau was elected to become the next Prime Minister of Canada. Trudeau, a liberal, succeeded a string of conservatives. Trudeau campaigned in Canada on the promise of change, similar to the campaign run by Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. election. Trudeau is wasting little time trying to make a difference!

Under Trudeau’s predecessor Stephen Harper, new “tough-on-crime” legislation was quickly passed through the House of Commons and refugees saw their benefits and voting rights greatly reduced. These were two of the many issues that Trudeau promised to change, and has already begun to work on.

Recently, newly sworn-in Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said she and her ministry will review the use of mandatory minimum sentences. She made clear her desire to look more broadly at the criminal justice system in terms of rehabilitation and “not just simply being tough on crime.”

The executive director of Canadian Council for Refugees Janet Dench also expects the new government to drop the appeal in the Tories’ 2012 case.

What’s more, Trudeau’s election has given the cannabis industry hope of national marijuana legalization in Canada, something Trudeau promised he would address “right away” after becoming elected.

While change can certainly be good, too much change at a very quick rate can be too much to handle.

Prior to Trudeau’s 4 international meetings in the coming month (the G20 Leaders Summit, APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, Commonwealth heads of Government Meeting, United Nations Climate Change Conference), former Canadian diplomat and Vice-President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute Colin Robertson is recommending patience as Trudeau goes out to meet the world’s leaders.

“In global affairs, it’s not the quick step, it’s the long term. So it’s not the first 100 days, it’s going to be the first 1,000 days,” Robertson said. “My advice to the prime minister at these big four events that are coming up would be to look, to listen, and to learn.”

It will be exciting to see how Trudeau’s sweeping changes will impact Canada, and whether any of his policies (namely, the potential for nationalized marijuana legalization) will impact the international community at large—especially us here in the U.S.