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FLARE Questionnaire: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

On the eve of #elxn42, we asked the party leaders for their takes on the issues that matter to you—including access to abortion, sexual violence, the wage gap and more. Read on to find out where Liberal leader Justin Trudeau stands before you hit the polls on October 19

justin Trudeau

Canadian women get paid 75 cents to every dollar men make. What would your government do to close that gap and ensure equal pay for equal work?
As a father, I want to know my daughter will have the same opportunities as my sons. The Liberal Party of Canada recognizes that women’s lost income potential because of the wage gap hurts Canadian families and hurts our economy. A Liberal government is committed to working with the provinces and territories to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work.

Millennials are now the biggest generation in the Canadian workforce, but they face an increasingly precarious job market. What will you do to address that instability?
Under Stephen Harper, a shortage of good youth jobs has become the new normal. Thousands of young Canadians remain unemployed or underemployed, and opportunities are so scarce that many have stopped looking for work altogether. This lack of job opportunities places a heavy burden on young Canadians and their parents. We need to invest in our shared future, and that means investing in young Canadians.

A Liberal government will immediately invest $1.3 billion over three years to create jobs and opportunities for young Canadians so they can get a strong start in their careers. Our government will create an additional 40,000 youth jobs each year over the next three years through a renewed Youth Employment Strategy, including 5,000 new green jobs each year. We’ll also offset the costs for employers to hire co-op students in science, technology, engineering, math and business.

What will you do to increase political engagement amongst millennial women?
I am proud that we have so many accomplished, passionate and engaged young women on our Liberal team at all levels—from our national campaign co-chair, Katie Telford; party president, Anna Gainey; exceptional candidates across the country like Karley Scott, Karina Gould, Chrystia Freeland, Mélanie Joly, Kamal Khera and Nirmala Naidoo; to our innumerable campaign managers, volunteers, and supporters. They are working every day to encourage more millennial women to get involved.

We also know that many Canadians are not on the voters’ list when they turn 18, and that must change. A Liberal government will work with provinces, territories and Elections Canada to include voter registration in high school curriculum.

How do we get more women into Parliament?
I fundamentally believe our society works best when women are at the forefront.

The Liberal Party has taken specific steps to encourage women to become leaders on the political stage. One such initiative was our Invite Her to Run program, where we asked our members to nominate great women leaders in their communities and encourage them to seek their local Liberal nomination, and we gave these women access to the resources, advice and support necessary to do so.

Once elected, there need to be fundamental changes to the operation of government to ensure that talented, qualified women stay in Parliament. I am proud to have announced that a Liberal government will ensure an equal number of women and men in Cabinet [there are currently 12 women and 27 men], and in the federal government’s appointment processes.

Furthermore, we recognize that women still disproportionately bear the responsibility of caring for children and sick or elderly family members. Liberals have announced several measures—including more flexible parental leave and compassionate care benefits—that will help give families the support they need, and help remove one of the most significant barriers to women running for political office.

Surgical abortions are not available in Prince Edward Island; instead women must travel at their own expense to Moncton or Halifax. What would you do to improve access?
Under my leadership Liberal MPs will vote in favour of a woman’s right to choose.

In June of this year, the province of Prince Edward Island took an important first step to improve access to abortion for P.E.I. women. They will no longer require a referral from a P.E.I. doctor, but call a toll-free number and make an appointment for an abortion to be conducted in Moncton. [However, women still have to foot their own travel costs.]

A Liberal government would work with P.E.I. to ensure that women have access to a full range of safe reproductive services.

Sexual assault and harassment—especially in the workplace—has been one of the biggest issues to emerge in Canada in 2015. What policies would you implement to curb this?
The federal government must provide leadership to tackle these unacceptable threats to Canadians’ safety, mental and physical health and economic well-being.

The Liberal Party recognizes that Canada needs a comprehensive federal sexual violence strategy—one that puts forward constructive measures that aim to improve workplace safety, puts an end to sexual assault and eliminates harassment.

Similarly, consent was a major discussion across college and university campuses in 2015. Do you believe that consent education should be mandatory at post-secondary institutions?
Liberals will develop and implement a comprehensive federal gender-violence strategy and action plan that aligns with existing strategies by other orders of government.

As a McGill University student, I got involved with the sexual assault centre’s outreach program to educate students in residences and fraternities. I was part of the first group of men trained to join women leading discussion groups on sexual assault and date rape.

I remember going with another student to see McGill’s president to voice concerns about a somewhat controversial staffing choice for the newly-created position of sexual assault ombudsman. It was a lesson for me on how resistant institutions can be when faced with these issues: we were thanked for voicing our perspective and politely ignored.

But this is 2015. We have a duty to protect and encourage individuals in these situations to come forward. The action must be fair, but decisive. It must be sensitive to all affected parties, but, recognizing how difficult it is to do so, it must give the benefit of the doubt to those who come forward.

There is a shockingly high number of murdered and missing indigenous women in this country. Will you call for a national inquiry? If not, why not and what will you do instead?
I have been very clear—a Liberal government will immediately launch a national public inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada. The process by which it is established will be fully inclusive, designed to find justice for the victims and healing for their families.

An inquiry would seek to recommend concrete actions that governments, law enforcement and other bodies can take to solve these crimes and prevent future ones—not by ignoring uncomfortable truths, but by understanding and taking action to deal with this national tragedy.

If elected, what’s the first thing you’d do to combat climate change?
If I have the privilege of forming a government in the fall, I will invite all Canadian premiers to accompany me to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, taking place in Paris in early December. We will carry this message to our international partners: Canada takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, and we will do more in the fight against climate change. We will lead on climate change because it is the right thing to do and because it is good for our economy.

When we get home, I will meet with provincial and territorial leaders within 90 days to implement a pan-Canadian framework with targets to reduce carbon emissions across Canada. We will set a national standard, in partnership with provinces and territories, which gives them the flexibility to design their own policies to achieve those targets, including their own carbon pricing policies.

Many young women have no idea how crazy expensive daycare is—and how hard it is to obtain a spot in the first place. How would your government make childcare more accessible and affordable?
A Liberal government is committed to giving more money to parents to help with the high cost of raising kids. We will send families a tax-free, monthly Canada Child Benefit worth up to $533 a month per child. This benefit will lift 315,000 kids out of poverty.

Moreover, we will give a tax break to the middle class by asking the wealthiest one percent to give a little more. Every Canadian with taxable income between $44,700 and $89,401 per year will see their income tax rate fall to 20.5 percent. This means a savings of nearly $670 per person, every year. We will also introduce a new tax bracket of 33 percent on incomes over $200,000.

Liberals will also fund the creation of thousands of new child-care spaces, enhance their overall quality and ensure that affordable child-care spaces are available to more families who need them. To do this, we will boost investment in social infrastructure by nearly $6 billion over the next four years, and almost $20 billion over 10 years.

More on #elxn42: 
#elxn42: The Party Leaders Take Our FLARE Questionnaire
Prime Minister and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s FLARE Questionnaire
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s FLARE Questionnaire
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May’s FLARE Questionnaire