This second edition of the CFPJ Report Card covers everything from defence and diplomacy to foreign aid, refugees and immigration. Its purpose is to evaluate the government’s performance in crucial areas of foreign policy and to identify any gaps between the rhetoric of electoral showmanship and the harsh realities of policy implementation. Last year, after 100 days in office, the Trudeau government received an average of B+ and according to our experts, performed at a reasonable level. These assessments were based mostly on promises made and the convincing rhetoric from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his Cabinet. In 2017, the shine has clearly worn off. No A grades were assigned, not even to the much promised file of climate change and the environment.
In general, the Report Card concludes that, since taking office more than one year ago, the Trudeau government has fallen off pace, reversed direction in some areas and stalled on others. Only some of Trudeau’s election promises have been kept. Indeed, the most crucial promises now may be out of reach, or worse, less relevant than they were just a year ago. While the Trudeau government made strengthening aid and development policies a key component of its foreign policy agenda, it is clear a good working relationship with Canada’s neighbour to the South is attracting the most attention and resources. This is true for all key issue areas including trade, defence, border security, infrastructure, foreign policy and immigration. Considering that the Liberals promised openness, transparency and accountability, holding the government to its election promises, particularly in light of these recent developments, entails, now more than ever, rigorous and continuous evaluation.