Replatforming (Finally) Complete
Dom Bernard • Feb 28, 2017
It took slightly more time than expected, but the replatforming of the site is finally complete!
Those of you who had visited the site before 2017 might notice some user interface changes as well as a refresh of the overall look and feel. One notable change is the integration of the tweets timeline right on the homepage - to see the tweets without leaving the site, you can now click the (you guessed it) "See the tweets" button underneath the dark meter description box on the home page.
Although it doesn't really show from the outside, the code updates we made also greatly improve the scalability and reusability of the platform. Since last year, we've shared the code with quite a few people and have seen other countries effectively implement their own versions of the TrudeauMeter (such as the Argentine Macrimetro or the Jamaican AndrewMeter). Needless to say, each additional implementation was customized and required quite a bit of work from everyone's part. Going forward, that'll be much easier. More on that later.
Now that we're (mostly) done with the "behind the scenes" work, we can get back to updating the TrudeauMeter and keeping those promise statuses in line with reality. The 2017 federal budget is coming soon - just like last year, many promises are likely to be impacted by it. Stay tuned!
Updates Coming in 2017
Dom Bernard • Jan 17, 2017
Happy New Year to all!
2017 promises to be a fascinating year, both at home and abroad. With a new (and markedly different) administration south of the border, our own federal government well into its second year and approaching mid-mandate, a BC general election and the Conservative Party leadership election both happening in May, and major elections for EU heavyweights France and Germany, we will certainly witness interesting changes in the political landscape in the months to come.
The TrudeauMeter project is evolving as well. Behind the scenes, we've been busy replatforming the whole thing due to our legacy backend-as-a-service provider (Parse) shutting down its hosting services on January 28. From a frontend perspective, this change mostly won't affect how the website looks and works, but will open up exciting new opportunities for new projects going forward.
Here is a summary of the changes coming in 2017:
Frontend and functionality
- We're merging English and French comments together, meaning each promise's discussion section will be open for comments in both languages simultaneously.
- We're discontinuing the ability to login to track promises since most of the promise tracking already happens on each promise's open discussion section.
- Minor interface updates (look and feel).
- Server-side web framework re-coded from Parse and Express.js to Ruby on Rails.
- Hosting moved from Parse to Heroku on a PostgreSQL database.
These updates should be done by February, at which point we'll get back to updating the promises that currently have an outdated status. Thanks for your patience!
Analytics Tool Coming Soon...
Dom Bernard • Nov 04, 2016
As you can see from the last post, we promised you a report for November 04. Time has kept its promise (as it always does) but the report isn't ready yet. Maybe we should start a promise tracker for our own promises :)
We're working on a cool analytics tool that will allow you to track the progression of what was achieved or broken over time, based on what's in our database. That will essentially allow you to create your own "report" based on custom criteria you choose. Because every status update is accompanied by a supporting article (which itself has a date), once that's done, you'll be able to query what was accomplished at a specific point in time, regardless of what happens after that.
All that to say, we're working on it... Keep checking back to know when that will be done. We'll post an announcement on Facebook and Twitter once it's done too.
Federal Budget 2016 - Impact on Promises
Dom Bernard • Mar 29, 2016
The 2016 federal budget was unveiled by the government on March 22, 2016 - exactly a week ago today. As expected, that budget had an impact on several promises and we updated many promise statuses as a result.
We might have forgotten a few, as you know this is an eternal work in progress :)
Overall, the changes are: 33 promises in progress, 15 achieved, 10 broken. Here is the full list:Culture
- ARTS | In progress Double funding in Canada Council for the Arts to $360 million each year (from its current 2015 yearly budget of $180 million).
- ARTS | Broken (less money allocated than promised) Invest $25 million in additional funding for Telefilm Canada and the National Film Board.
- ARTS | In progress Restore the Promart and Trade Routes international cultural promotion programs and increase their funding to $25 million each year.
- CBC/RADIO-CANADA | In progress Reverse $150 million cuts in new annual funding for CBC/Radio-Canada.
- OFFICIAL LANGUAGES | In progress Reinstate the Court Challenges Program of Canada.
- BUDGET | Broken (the deficit is $29.4 billion for fiscal year 2016-17) Run short-term deficits of less than $10 billion in each of the next two fiscal years (2016 and 2017).
- BUDGET | In progress Reduce the employment insurance premium rate (per $100 of insurable earnings) from $1.88 to $1.65.
- BUDGET | Achieved Reduce the advertising budget of the government of Canada and the use of external consultants.
- FAMILIES | In progress Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement for single low-income seniors by 10%.
- FAMILIES | In progress Reduce the Employment Insurance benefits waiting period to one week (from two).
- FAMILIES | In progress Increase funding to the Public Health Agency of Canada by $15 million in 2016-2017.
- FAMILIES | Achieved Introduce a new Teacher and Early Childhood Educator School Supply Tax Benefit for the purchase of up to $1,000 worth of school supplies each year.
- FAMILIES | Achieved Increase the Northern Residents Deduction residency component by 33% (to a maximum of $22 per day).
- FAMILIES | Achieved Increase investments in the Nutrition North program by $40 million over 4 years.
- FAMILIES | In progress Introduce a new Canada Child Benefit which will be tax-free, tied to income, and delivered monthly.
- INVESTMENTS | In progress Quadruple federal investment in public transit over next 10 years.
- INVESTMENTS | In progress Invest $20 billion more in social infrastructure over next 10 years.
- INVESTMENTS | Broken (less money allocated than promised) Invest $6 billion more in green infrastructure over next four years.
- INVESTMENTS | In progress Make the New Building Canada Fund more focused on providing investments in public transit, social infrastructure, and green infrastructure.
- INVESTMENTS | Achieved Transfer uncommitted federal infrastructure funds to municipalities, through a temporary top-up of the Gas Tax Fund.
- INVESTMENTS | In progress Invest $200 million each year in a new Innovation Agenda.
- INVESTMENTS | Broken (less money allocated than promised) Invest an additional $100 million each year in the Industrial Research Assistance Program.
- INVESTMENTS | In progress Invest an additional $80 million in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency over four years.
- LOWER INCOMES | In progress Restore the eligibility age for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to 65.
- LOWER INCOMES | In progress Review escalating home prices in high-priced markets.
- LOWER INCOMES | Achieved Provide direct help to students from low- and middle-income families to help them pay for their education and ensure that debt loads are manageable by increasing the maximum Canada Student Grant to $3,000/year for full-time students and to $1,800/year for part-time students.
- LOWER INCOMES | Broken (less jobs created than promised) Invest $300 million more in the Youth Employment Strategy to create 40,000 youth jobs each year for the next 3 years.
- LOWER INCOMES | Broken (less money allocated than promised) Invest $40 million each year to help employers create more co-op placements for students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and business programs.
- LOWER INCOMES | In progress Ensure that no graduate with student loans is required to make any repayment until they are earning an income of at least $25,000 per year.
- LOWER INCOMES | In progress Invest $25 million per year in the Youth Service Program.
- TAXES | Achieved Cancel family income splitting.
- TAXES | Broken Broken (tax rate fixed at 10.5%) Reduce the small business tax rate to 9% (from 11%).
- TAXES | Broken Offer a 12-month break on Employment Insurance premiums to encourage companies to hire young people by waiving employer premiums for all those between the ages of 18 and 24 who are hired into a permanent position in 2016, 2017, or 2018.
- UNIONS | Achieved Reinstate the tax credit for contributions made to labour-sponsored funds.
- CLEAN TECH | In progress Invest $200 million more each year to support innovation and the use of clean technologies in our natural resource sectors, including the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy, and agricultural sectors.
- CLEAN TECH | In progress Make Canada the world’s most competitive tax jurisdiction for investments in clean tech.
- CLEAN TECH | In progress Establish Canada Research Chairs in sustainable technology.
- CLIMATE CHANGE | Broken (some subsidies to remain until 2025) Phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
- NATIONAL PARKS | Achieved Expand the Learn to Camp program.
- WATER | Achieved Restore $1.5 million in annual federal funding for freshwater research.
- WATER | Achieved Restore $40 million funding for federal ocean science and monitoring programs.
- WATER | In progress Re-open the Maritime Rescue Sub-centre in St. John’s and the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base in Vancouver.
- ACCESS TO INFORMATION | In progress Improve open data accessibility.
- ACCESS TO INFORMATION | In progress Create a central, no-fee portal for personal information requests.
- ELECTIONS | In progress End first-past-the-post voting system and explore alternative options.
- WOMEN AND YOUTH | In progress Create a Prime Minister’s Youth Advisory Council, consisting of young Canadians aged 16-24, to provide non-partisan advice to the Prime Minister on issues the country is facing.
- EDUCATION | Achieved Provide new funding to help Indigenous communities promote and preserve Indigenous languages and cultures.
- EDUCATION | In progress Invest $300 million in additional annual funding for the First Nations education system for kindergarten through grade 12 programs.
- EDUCATION | In progress Invest $500 million over 2015 to 2018 for building and refurbishing First Nations schools.
- EDUCATION | In progress Invest $50 million in additional annual funding to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program.
- MÉTIS | Achieved Develop a Métis Economic Development Strategy with $25 million funding over five years.
- DOMESTIC SECURITY | Achieved Restore funding for Canada’s four heavy urban search and rescue teams.
- MILITARY | Broken (funding is less than planned until 2020-21) Maintain current National Defence spending levels, including planned increases.
- VETERANS | In progress Increase the value of the disability award.
- VETERANS | In progress Invest $25 million each year to expand access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance.
- VETERANS | In progress Invest $40 million each year to provide injured veterans with 90% of their pre-release salary with inflation indexation.
- VETERANS | In progress Re-open the nine Veterans Affairs service offices.
- VETERANS | Achieved Double funding to the Last Post Fund.
New Crop of Promises
Dom Bernard • Dec 09, 2015
As you might have seen from the messageboards, lots of you sent us info about promises that were made but originally not included on the website. We’ve recently added a bunch of them - see below :)
- Immigration > Refugees: Fully restore the Interim Federal Health Program that provides limited and temporary health benefits to refugees and refugee claimants.
- Immigration > Refugees: Appoint individuals with appropriate subject-matter expertise to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.
- Immigration > Refugees: Establish an expert human rights panel to determine designated countries of origin, and provide a right to appeal refugee decisions for citizens from these countries.
- Economy > Families: Make it easier and more affordable to hire caregivers.
- Economy > Families: Consult with provinces, territories and other stakeholders to introduce a National Disabilities Act.
- Economy > Families: Improve access and reduce the cost of prescription medications.
- Economy > Families: Establish a Pan-Canadian collaboration on health innovation.
- Economy > Families: Increase the availability of high-quality mental health services for Canadians.
- Indigenous Peoples > Social Issues: Review, repeal and amend all existing laws that do not respect Indigenous rights or that were passed without proper consultation.
- Indigenous Peoples > Social Issues: Ensure every new policy and law would meet with the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
- Indigenous Peoples > Social Issues: Fund the Freedom Road project for Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.
- Indigenous Peoples > Social Issues: Guarantee that First Nation communities have a veto over natural resource development in their territories.
More promise status updates are coming soon. Stay tuned!
Justin Trudeau Takes Office Today
Dom Bernard • Nov 04, 2015
This is it! Justin Trudeau is taking office today (Nov 4) - and you can now start tracking promises as promised (no pun intended) :)
Since more than a thousand of you wanted to become Promise Trackers, it quickly became clear that it would be impractical for a few people to email everyone individually to sign you up into the system. Hence the delay to allow us to code a solution that would make our lives easier and prove more sustainable for the future. A few important points before we begin:
- The platform is brand new and might still have a few bugs. If you find any, please report them into the main forum and upvote the big ones.
- The goal of the platform is to track promises using reference documents. It basically allows you to suggest a promise status update and send a link to a news article/document that supports your suggestion. Please only post valid links, one link at a time. You’ll see I already did that for the promise about Operation IMPACT and the one about Canada Post. If you’re particularly interested in a promise, you can simply bookmark it for easy future access.
- Once you’re signed in, you’ll be able to reset your password by going to the "Your Profile" section. There’s no automatic "Forgot password" mechanism yet so don’t forget your password for now :)
The rest should be pretty straightforward. You can sign up (and sign in) right here (note the new "Sign in" link in the header as well). Note: this functionality has been removed in 2016.
Dom Bernard • Oct 26, 2015
It's a brand new week and here are some important updates:
- An ever-increasing and amazing number of you want to become Promise Trackers - more than 550 so far!! That's great and we'll make it happen - but it'll require a bit more time. If you haven't been contacted yet, that's ok. You will be contacted eventually with the email address you provided. Here's what will happen - we'll create a mini-forum accessible from this site and provide each of you with a username and a private password (which you'll be able to modify). Once inside the forum, you'll be able to post articles and suggest updates to a promise's status. By doing this all together, it'll become pretty easy to spot promises that need to be updated, and what articles/documents we'll post on the site to justify any changes we make. The goal is to have everyone onboarded by Nov 4 - thank you for your patience!
- In other news, you might have noticed there is now a search box above the big promises table on the main page. That should make finding what you're looking for easier and faster. For example, if you type "mex" you'll get the two promises that involve Mexico or Mexicans. It also works for statuses: if you type "not started" you'll get the list of all 173 promises that are currently in that status - or if you type "in progress", you'll see the two promises that currently have that status. Bonus freebie: although the official word is "marijuana", try searching for one of its many synonyms - it'll also work :)
- Another big and important change: references to where the promise was found now appear on each promise page. Most of them come from the Liberal platform - but a few others come from other sources, such as news articles or media (like this one).
Dom Bernard • Oct 23, 2015
Thanks for coming back! We've had a great first day so far with more than 100,000 views! Thanks for being a part of it!
Here are a few updates which I'm sure you'll appreciate:
- Many of you (150+ so far) want to become Promise Keepers. That's great and we haven't had the time to contact all of you yet - stay tuned and by beginning of next week we should be all set.
- A few promises are worded in such a way as to be classified as "In progress" right now - think Ensure judicial appointments to the Supreme Court are functionally bilingual or Maintain participation in NATO Operations REASSURANCE and UNIFIER. Realistically, these promises can only be broken if the government ends up doing the exact opposite of what it's already doing - that being said, the new government is not in place yet and Trudeau will only be sworn in on Nov 4. So we'll keep them as "Not started" for now and they'll automatically become in progress once the new government is in place. We felt the one about Operation IMPACT was the only exception since one of the very first thing Trudeau did as Prime Minister Designate was to call Obama to tell him our jets would leave earlier than originally planned.
- Showing where the promises come from. We all agree this is very important. That'll be done within the next two days - it'll show somewhere on each promise page where it was found.
- Search box. We're working on it. It'll be simple, but it'll work.
- La version française sera en ligne dans les environs de vendredi après-midi - merci de votre patience!
- There were quite a few comments about adding the Liberal promise to revert changes that prevent Canadian expats who have lived abroad more than 5 years to vote. Turns out that promise is already in there: that provision is part of Bill C-50 and Trudeau said he would scrap it: Scrap Bill C-50 (Citizen Voting Act).
- There were also a few comments about who's behind this website. That's fair to ask and might not have been obvious at first sight - short answer is, as you might have seen in the comments, I (Dom Bernard) started it along with a few friends who helped me write some of the backend code and compile and translate the promises. We're not getting paid for it, we all have full-time jobs and are doing this as a great side project that also has the serious side of being about the direction our country is taking. In time, we hope the community will run itself as we track and see all the progress our new government will accomplish over the next months and years. For the record, there's a link to my company in the bottom right corner of every page and all my contact info is there. And of course none of us is affiliated with any political party. That would just ruin everything :)