New Liberal government: Where does it get started?

Justin Trudeau's Liberals will soon return to the House of Commons with a majority government and a laundry list of campaign promises — along with some clear priorities that will likely be tackled before other tasks.

Justin Trudeau has said tax changes, missing and murdered women inquiry among 'immediate' priorities

Prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau waves while accompanied by his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, as he gives his victory speech in Montreal after Monday's federal election. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Justin Trudeau's Liberals will return to the House of Commons with a majority government and a laundry list of campaign promises — along with some clear priorities that will likely be tackled before other tasks.

Trudeau will be Canada's next prime minister after leading his party to a stunning majority government win over Stephen Harper's Conservatives and Tom Mulcair's NDP.

During the campaign, the Liberals released an 88-page plan to boost support for post-secondary students, clean up the environment and lower the tax burden for middle-class families. He also pledged to run three years of deficits to invest in infrastructure and bolster the economy. 

Here are some areas a Trudeau government will likely take on first. 

1. Tax cuts, tax hikes

Trudeau says the first bill of a Liberal government would include changes to income tax rates and tax credits for families.

The middle-class tax cut will reduce the tax rate from 22.5 per cent to 20 per cent for individuals earning between $44,700 and $89,401 a year. There was also to be a new tax bracket for people earning more than $200,000 a year; they will pay 33 per cent tax on their income.

Justin Trudeau offers positive outlook for Canadians 3:14

The Canada child benefit will replace the universal child care benefit that was central to the Conservative budget and election campaign. That means the end of the $160 monthly taxable payments per child under six and the $60 per month for those six through 17. The Liberals will dole out a non-taxable benefit on sliding scale based on income, with low-income families receiving $5,000 a year. That goes down as you earn more and stops for families earning more than $200,000. 

The Liberals are also cancelling income splitting for families, keeping the tax-free savings account limit at $5,500 and will reduce employment insurance premiums to $1.65  from $1.88 per $100 in insurable earnings — which is less of a reduction than the Conservatives had planned.

2. New climate with premiers

In an interview with CBC News's Peter Mansbridge, Trudeau said the first thing he would do for the economy is meet with the premiers to prepare for the Paris climate change conference, which runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, 2015.

Justin Trudeau is asked what first 100 days of Liberal government would look like 2:04

Trudeau has not specified a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but said he would create a federal framework to address climate change and take that to Paris.

Trudeau has also said he wants to talk to the premiers about EI reform, a new health accord, a national child-care framework, training programs, a Canadian energy strategy and support for Prairie farmers. 

3. Infrastructure money

Trudeau said he'll discuss where federal infrastructure money is going in his first meeting with the provinces. The Liberal fiscal framework says the government will spend an additional $5 billion on new infrastructure projects in its first year — split equally between public transit, green projects and "social infrastructure."

This would contribute to the first of three deficits the Liberals say they will run to stimulate the economy.

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      4. Call Obama

      Trudeau said the first world leader he will call is U.S. President Barack Obama. 

      "I look forward to speaking with President Obama," Trudeau said, "to talk about the kinds of challenges we're facing on our continent, whether it be around the environment and energy, whether it be on a border that is essential to move smoothly through for goods and services to both sides, to a relationship between friends and allies that has been tarnished over the past years."

      Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau sits down with Peter Mansbridge for an exclusive interview. 30:03

      Aside from bilateral economic issues, Trudeau will probably have to explain that Canada is withdrawing from the American-led airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq. Trudeau said Canada will contribute humanitarian aid and military resources to training local security forces in Iraq.

      5. Syrian refugees

      Since January, the Liberals have promised to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015. During the election, the party said that goal could still be reached if it won the election, and that it would cost $100 million.

      The Liberals would also spend $100 million to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees who are still in the region.

      But they will need to get moving quickly, because they haven't provided much detail beyond the projected cost and saying they have the "political will" to get it done.


      The Liberal platform also includes some steps the party will take "immediately" upon forming government:

      • Call an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.
      • Lift the two per cent cap on increases to First Nations education funding and establish a new financial relationship with First Nations.
      • Launch a new competition to replace the CF-18 fighter jet and scrap the F-35 fighter program.
      • Review defence capabilities with the aim of creating a more efficient military.
      • Hire additional mental health professionals to support veterans.
      • Reinstate the long-form census.
      • Implement imported gun-marking legislation.
      • Begin a review of environmental assessment processes.
      • Double the number of immigration applications allowed for parents and grand-parents.
      • Lift the visa requirement for Mexican travel to Canada.


      • A previous version of this story referred to $1,600 taxable cheques for each child in every family. In fact, the universal child care benefit consists of $160 monthly, taxable payments for every child under six and $60 monthly payments for children between six and 17.
        Oct 20, 2015 12:14 PM ET


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