A state on autopilot

In what other G7 country do people with tents and sleeping bags queue up to get a passport?

Posted at 6:00 am

In fact, this “passport crisis” is a good illustration of what is currently happening in Justin Trudeau’s administration. As if the entire state apparatus was on autopilot.

Passing is the most obvious example of this situation. Of course, issuing a passport requires a minimum of checks and that takes time. But the current crisis could be avoided with a little planning.

Everyone knew that many Canadians who were unable to travel during the pandemic saw their passports expire without bothering to renew them. They didn’t need to see a psychic to know that when travel restrictions were lifted, they would show up at passport offices and that additional staff would be needed.

What has the government done? Nothing. And since then, all he can do is apologize.

If the government is acting these days, it is because a situation has become downright unbearable, such as arriving at airports, particularly in Toronto.

Despite days earlier the government had rejected a Conservative proposal to end most health measures, this week it announced just that – all “on the basis of science”, of course.

However, you still have to wait for the application ArriveCanwhich has become largely useless is no longer used, even if it causes unnecessary delays.

Recent events mean we must speak again about the endless delays before the occupation of downtown Ottawa ends in February. These days we see that the Trudeau government is unable to agree on a version of the facts that allows recourse – for the first time – to the Emergency Response Act. The file has been recovering in the House of Commons in recent days, and not to the Government’s advantage.

Indeed, the law provides that after its use, the nature and the reasons on which the government has decided to invoke it must be examined. Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has repeatedly said the law was invoked at the request of police forces. But neither Ottawa Police nor the Royal Mounted Police claim to have made such a request.

Canada also attaches great importance to its support for Ukraine. But that didn’t stop Global Affairs from sending a senior official to welcome the Russian embassy on its national holiday. Worse hard to find timed coordination and clear contradiction in the messages.

Finally, Treasury Secretary Chrystia Freeland delivered a speech earlier this week that has been described as important to a group of Toronto businesspeople.

With everyone talking only about inflation and recession, we would have expected action to reassure Canadians and help those less fortunate get through this difficult time. But all the Treasury Secretary could do was repeat what was in her budget last April.

This once again gave the impression of a government running on autopilot, content to react when the pressure is too great, rather than taking the lead.

One might have thought that the government would indeed have taken the lead with its handgun bill, although this was essentially the government’s response to requests, including from the mayors of major Canadian cities.

But anyone following the files already knows that the draft law will have little effect. All the police will tell you that the problem isn’t the legally purchased guns that would end up in the hands of criminals. These almost exclusively use weapons without a serial number or other means of identification, arriving illegally from the United States. It can therefore be assumed that the law will not change much on the streets of major Canadian cities.

However, the deal with the New Democratic Party, which effectively allows the Trudeau government to operate as if it had a majority, would have given it the impetus to carry out its reform program.

Quite the opposite happened. The government seems paralyzed and can hardly draw inspiration from its leader. Mr Trudeau is in his third term and we know that no prime minister has received a fourth term for more than a century.

But while the prime minister is no doubt contemplating his departure, the government as a whole seems incapable of taking any initiative. Like absolutely everything in Ottawa is on autopilot.

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