Today marks the 100th day since Canadians voted for change on January 23rd. A friend asked me the other day whether Canadians voted to remove the Liberals or were they enticed to elect a new government. I pondered this question for a short time and found that the answer is a healthy mix of both. The Liberals under former Prime Minister Paul Martin had a shameful record while in government and during their first 100 days in power the Conservatives have provided Canadians with reassurance that the correct decision was made on that pivotal day in late January.
Let’s contrast the first 100 days of Conservative government (February 6th, 2006 – May 16th, 2006) with the first 100 days of the Liberal government under Paul Martin (December 12th, 2003 – March 21st, 2004):
In the first 100 days, the Conservative government can check off the following accomplishments.
- Introduced Federal Accountability Act
- Introduced legislation to get tough on crime
- Brought forward budget that addressed key Conservative election promises
- Focused Throne Speech passed unanimously by House of Commons
- Introduced new process for vetting of Supreme Court appointments
- Prime Minister travelled to Afghanistan to meet with Canadian soldiers
- Prime Minister travelled to Cancun to meet with Presidents of Mexico and the United States
- Immediately delivered $755 million for farmers as first act of cabinet. Additional $1.5 billion for farmers in budget
- Downsized cabinet to create a more efficient and effective government that will save taxpayers money
- Softwood lumber agreement reached with United States, supported by provinces and industry
- Residential schools agreement reached
- Led the world in dealing with new Hamas-led government
- Cut immigration landing fee in half
- Announced action on easing restrictions on foreign adoptions
- Announced plan to help new Canadians have their professional credentials recognized
- Plan introduced to reduce the GST, set for July 1st
- Plan introduced for Choice in Child Care Allowances, set for July 1st
- Delivered on promise for Quebec to have formal role at UNESCO
- Announced Air India Inquiry
- Delivered on promise to re-open Gander Weather Station
- Met with all of the Premiers in group and met with several Premiers one-on-one
- Announced plan to address water situation on reserves
- Nominated head of Public Appointments Commission
- Funding announced for highways in New Brunswick
- Funding announced to support international activities of Atlantic Canada companies
- Suspended claw backs under CAIS program
When the Liberals were elected, the PMO under Paul Martin promised “100 days of action”. Unfortunately, they didn’t even live up to this promise.
- Martin promised to address the ‘democratic deficit’. After only six days in office, his government invoked closure to cut off debate in the House of Commons and subsequently used time allocation in the Senate to force through the bill to allow for electoral re-distribution, to allow for an early election.
- Of the legislation introduced by Martin’s government in the first 100 days, 21 one of the bills were exact duplicates of bills introduced by Chretien, just re-introductions of Chretien legacy legislation. The only ‘new’ legislation was a customs tariff bill and a bill on MP health benefits. The legislation had to be re-introduced after the Liberals prorogued Parliament, because Jean Chretien and Paul Martin couldn’t sit in the House together.
- Martin’s Throne Speech commitments included promises that dated back to 1993 – such as replacing the Sea Kings or appointing an independent Ethics Commissioner. Similarly, the Martin Throne Speech reiterated many commitments made by the Chretien government – such as the Stryker purchase or the $2 billion for health care. In all, at least 39 promises outlined in Martin’s Throne Speech repeated, fully or in part, promises made in the 2002 Throne Speech.
- Martin promised to increase Western representation, but had one fewer Western minister in his cabinet than Jean Chretien had.
- Martin and his team spent their first 100 days in office continuing their war with their fellow Liberals, working to push out Liberal MPs who did not support Martin in the leadership race.
- Martin was forced to call the Gomery Inquiry into Liberal corruption in the fallout from the sponsorship scandal
- Martin’s advisors promised 100 days of action (National Post, October 20, 2003) and decision as they criticized the drift of the Chretien era. Instead, they delivered 100 days of scandal, 100 days of indecision, 100 days of spin and damage control, and 100 days of broken promises.