Prime Minister’s ‘Reset’ Plan Must Put Obligation to Canadians First

November 18, 2020 Updated: November 18, 2020


A recently resurfaced video of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressing the United Nations brings up some crucial questions. The meeting at which he spoke took place in September, but the video clip only made the rounds on social media this past the weekend.

Trudeau said in his speech that the ongoing pandemic presents a great “opportunity for a reset” and to strengthen efforts to build new kinds of systems to address the world’s ailments.

“This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change,” he said.

“Building back better means getting support to the most vulnerable while maintaining our momentum on reaching the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

These remarks suggest that the prime minister sees the conditions of the pandemic as a launchpad to impose ideological objectives rather than dealing with the crisis at hand and putting his obligation to the Canadian people first and foremost.

This is potentially deleterious, as a key ingredient of a government’s success during the crisis has been maintaining the public trust. During the early days of the pandemic, the federal government enjoyed a significant increase in public trust, which provided the necessary public solidarity and willingness to go along with the government’s response.

In May, the annual Edelman Trust Barometer found that 70 percent of respondents said they trusted the government amid the pandemic. Regardless of whether Canadians have been satisfied with the government’s response to the pandemic since then, this trust shouldn’t be taken for granted. Mixed messaging and perceived politicization will only erode this trust.

The U.N.’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been in the works since well before the pandemic, with representatives of 193 U.N. member-states (including Canada) meeting in September 2015 to devise a new framework between developed and developing countries, the mission being to create a more prosperous, healthier, and environmentally safer world.

Specifically, with its guiding slogan being “leave no one behind,” the Agenda seeks to eradicate poverty and hunger, empower women worldwide, provide quality education, and ensure economic growth everywhere based on cleaner energy and investment. Indeed, it is an ambitious laundry list of objectives that participating governments hope to achieve within the next decade. As always with idealistic causes, objectives are more easily declared than achieved and require costly actions that are bound to eventually be a source of much public discontent when the costs become more manifest.

Trudeau’s assertion that the pandemic is an opportunity for a reset adds another layer of concern for those familiar with the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset. Launched in September as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Great Reset is a global initiative that seeks a transformation of the way markets and society operate, including global coordination in areas such as regulatory and tax policy, and promoting “more equitable outcomes.” This could include, the organization says, changes to wealth taxes and new rules governing trade.

Clearly, the pandemic has illuminated many structural shortcomings in societies that should be rectified, and some international co-operation will be inevitable to do so in the aftermath of this crisis, so change is desirable.

But most citizens, I’d venture, are exhausted, fearful for the future, and would just like their family—and their country—to be secure and comfortable. They would like to trust the government with creating the base conditions for that and nothing else. The idea of the government subordinating its judgment to a grand, global political project undermines the trust that things will be properly looked after on the home front, including Canada’s national interest.

Shane Miller is a political writer based in London, Ontario. Follow him at @Miller_Shane94.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.