Activist government is back in vogue.

Canada’s opposition parties understand this. That’s why Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are touting a plan that would see the federal government incur more than $20 billion in new debt to build public infrastructure.

It’s also why Tom Mulcair’s NDP is promising government-funded child care, an ambitious scheme that, if it works, would be the most important federal social program since medicare.

Neither pledge would have been out of place a few decades ago. Indeed, a few decades ago even Canada’s Conservatives were promising a national child-care program.