Putting Canada on the ‘right path’: Justin Trudeau touts accomplishments of 1st year in office

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is making the right economic decisions that will put Canada on course for mid- and long-term  growth.

Exactly one year since Canadian voters sent a majority Liberal government to Ottawa, Trudeau said his biggest accomplishment so far is “making a dent” in helping the middle class.

But during a wide-ranging interview with CBC Radio One’s The Current, Trudeau said he has “so many challenges” ahead: growing the economy, fixing the “broken” relationship with Indigenous Canadians and building clean jobs for the future by striking the right balance between protecting the environment and building the economy.

“These are the kinds of balancing acts that are ongoing, and we’ll continue to work very hard on them,” he told host Anna Maria Tremonti.

Despite disputes with the provinces over a national carbon pricing scheme and health-care funding, Trudeau insisted he is building a “collaborative” relationship with the premiers. He also defended a contentious assertion by Health Minister Jane Philpott that there must be more accountability around how federal health dollars are spent.

“Mr. Harper refused to actually talk with the premiers about health care, just kept sending cheques to the provinces without even checking that the money was being spent on health care,” he said.

“We simply want to say yes, we’re going to continue to invest in health care, we know it’s important for Canadians, but we want to make sure that the federal money invested in health care actually gets spent on health care by the provinces. And I don’t think that’s unreasonable.”

Defending spending

Facing a deficit that is much larger than expected, Trudeau also defended his government’s massive spending on infrastructure, insisting it will put Canada on the “right path” for medium and long-term growth.

He said his government has spent more on infrastructure in the first 10 months in office than the Conservatives did in five years.

Trudeau also spoke about Canada’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, rejecting the notion that it is a “reward” or “prize” but rather a way to ensure Canada’s voice is heard around the world and to offer solutions to the world’s biggest conflicts.

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