Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he will wait until 2015 to articulate his party’s policy platform, insisting that he doesn’t want to limit the consultation process just because some people are “impatient” for more details.
Speaking outside a Liberal caucus retreat in Prince Edward Island on Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau also announced that the Liberals will return to Ottawa next month, even though Parliament has been prorogued and is not expected to resume until October.
Mr. Trudeau said Liberals would return to Ottawa in the third week of September and hold meetings and roundtables in an effort to engage more people in the party’s policy-making process. Asked repeatedly for more information about his party’s policies, Mr. Trudeau told reporters he has no plans to address until the 2015 federal election.
“My responsibility is to put forward a comprehensive, robust platform in 2015 that is going to demonstrate to Canadians that the Liberal party is serious about working hard for them and responding to their concerns,” he said. “And I’m not going to short-cut that process, which is a serious and responsible process, just because people want to know right now and they’re impatient to know.”
Mr. Trudeau is expected to focus his message this fall on support for Canada’s middle class, setting the stage for a battle with the Conservatives over issues such as personal debt and youth unemployment. The Liberal leader said he participated in roundtable meetings on youth employment and internships throughout the summer and plans to continue holding public policy forums over the next two years.
He told reporters that his caucus also discussed transparency, another key theme the Liberals plan to push forward on this fall. Mr. Trudeau said the party would follow through on its pledge to have MPs’ post their hospitality and travel expense reports online.
“I think Canadians demand a level of transparency from their government and from political parties that the Liberal Party is happy to step up to and happy to take the lead on,” Mr. Trudeau said. “I know the other parties will not take long to realize that they cannot operate in secrecy anymore.”
The Liberal Leader added that he was recently briefed on the situation in Syria by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. He said his party is extremely concerned by recent events in the country and called the use of chemical weapons “unacceptable.”
The issue requires a “significant response” from the international community, he said. “I am fully expecting that Canada will have a role to play.”