OTTAWA— A chastened Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would adopt a conciliatory approach to governing with a minority mandate, but signalled his determination to carry out the governing agenda advertised during a politically divisive campaign.
Trudeau plans to unveil his government cabinet Nov. 20, saying it too would have gender parity among ministers, but said he will not co-operate with any opposition party in any kind of formal or informal coalition.
In an olive branch to the West, Trudeau said he intends to proceed with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project that the NDP and Greens want halted.
He said he will introduce a progressive income tax cut as his first legislative act — a confidence measure he expects the progressive parties to support but the Conservatives could vote against. Asked to show where he’s compromised in the past, Trudeau said he’d passed measures progressives should have supported but didn’t but now might.
“In a lot of the things we’ve done over this first mandate whether it was moving forward on the Canada child benefit that lifted thousands of people out of poverty, particularly kids, moving forward on the national housing strategy, moving forward on lowering taxes for the middle class on raising them on the wealthiest one per cent, these are all things upon which there would be a broad consensus in the House or a positive consensus from progressive parties. In the last parliament progressive parties voted against those measures.
“I expect them to be able to vote with us on things like the very first thing we’ll do which will be to put forward a bill on lower taxes for the middle class.”
In his first news conference since Monday’s election when he failed to win the necessary 170 seats to command a majority in the House of Commons, Trudeau acknowledged his government faces a big challenge now, having been wiped out in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and facing a revived Bloc Québécois in Quebec.
But he pledged to work hard to bring together all regions, and said that he believed voters gave all parties a mandate to work together to make life more affordable for Canadians and to put forward a plan to fight climate change.
Trudeau told reporters at the National Press Theatre that he “regrets” the divisive tone of the 2019 campaign. He said many important issues were not discussed that should have been and acknowledged that the focus was often on him — a fact he took some responsibility for, although he did not say why.
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