Connecting the dots - Macleans.ca
 

Connecting the dots


 

To recap, Stockwell Day is a winner, moving from International Trade to President of the Treasury Board to handle the difficult task of enforcing fiscal discipline on government operations. Peter Van Loan is a loser, demoted from Public Safety to International Trade because the Prime Minister was dissatisfied with his performance, even though Day’s move from Public Safety to International Trade a little over a year ago was seen as an important promotion to a pivotal file. Meanwhile, Vic Toews, who seemingly couldn’t be trusted to oversee the difficult task of enforcing fiscal discipline on government operations, moves from Treasury Board to Public Safety, where he will be charged with a massive review of national security.


 

Connecting the dots

  1. To be honest, because they're all just mouthpieces for Harper anyway, does this at all matter?

    • Not shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic, more like the deck chairs on the SS Minnow.

  2. Are you hinting that this is all just a ridiculous sideshow?

  3. The "promotion" spin was probably the only way to move Day into Treasury Board in order to do some of Harper's dirty work.

  4. Give me the Conservative Ministers over the Liberal alternative any day. While the Lib supporters here question the competence of Conservative Ministers, it is clear that the Government has being doing a good job.

    And guess what…..no Goverment ministers have been caught in massive money laundering OR embezzlement scandals. Of course that is simply due to the fact that the Ministers in question are Conservatives as opposed to the previous Liberals, who, as we know, didn't meet a public teat they wouldn't be willing to suckle from, or cookie jar they wouldn't bury their arms in.

  5. Aaron, why is International Trade a considered a demotion for PVL? It seems like trade is one of Harper's priorities.

    • In a conservative world, international trade handles itself. It's not as much a demotion as it is a humiliation.

    • I suspect it has something to do with the size of the departmental budge & number of employees they're responsible for.

  6. What was your favourite accomplishment of the Government in 2009?

  7. For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to intern close to but not quite inside the ahllowed halls of power in Ottawa, the Treasury Board is more or less the Department of Everything the PMO Can't Be Bothered With But Still Kinda Important. Theoretically they're in charge of budget compliance, but in the civil service they're mostly seen as the compliance Nazis, making sure government symbols are used properly on web sites, hiring procedures du mois are adhered to, etc.

    I'm not exactly sure what it says about the inner workings of our gov't that Hall-Monitor-in-Chief MacKay is seen as more important than the Minister of Public Safety.

  8. I don't think anyone can explain that…

  9. No, they've just trashed us abroad, ruined our reputation, lost us a war and the ICC may be looking into their actions.

    Oh…and blew the surplus, while giving us the biggest deficit in our history.

    No, no scandals at all. Sigh.

  10. uhm, that, and TB scrutinizes and approves/denies the terms and conditions of every single program that the government seeks to create or amend. That's kind of a pretty big deal.

    • Agreed. I'm being a little cynical about how beaurocratic power struggles between various political structures seem to take up more attention (not necessarily the same thing as more work time) than their main function. The T-Board has grown considerably beyond its core function. I've always assumed this is because it's more proactive & ambitious than most other parts of the civil service, and because it can exert control over most departments & ministries. Someone has to keep the various departments working in more or less the same direction. In the year I spent at Industry Canada in communications (late Chretien era), it wasn't exactly "Treasury Board is watching you", but there seemed to be T-Board guidelines for just about everything I did. As a whole, they made pretty good sense, but I suspect that if the actual Ministers stopped playing politics for long enough to provide consistent direction for their own departments, the T-Board wouldn't need to take on this role.

  11. Is someone going to be taking a hit for failing to convince he U.S. to drop 'buy America'?

  12. Did anyone else get a chill at the thought of a Conservative government undertaking a "massive review of national security?"

  13. That's easy. Working together with the Ontario and BC Liberals to harmonize the provincial sales tax. Of course, Harper and Flaherty only did that because they're populist opportunists who hate economists. Or something like that.

  14. Won't know until the books are cracked open, will we?
    Kevin Page seems to think Flaherty's vision is pure fantasy – am I supposed to take Jim's word for it? We did that in Ontario once before y'know….

  15. Keeping the economy in good relative position.

    It's pretty difficult to argue with Canada's performance compared to its G7 peers, considering what rough shape the USA economy is still in.

  16. What massive money laundering or embezzlement scandals were the Liberals accused of… 4 years after getting elected in 1997?

    And at least one senator has been accused of some unethical dealing with infrastructure money. To say nothing of the "financial considerations" Harper said were offered to Cadman for his vote, a private girls school getting $500K in infrastructure money in a cabinet minister's riding, etc.

    Lots of fishing things going on, more money spent than any government in our history and the government is already showing it doesn't care about accountability.

    You don't think there is any money troubles? Just you wait.

  17. Yes, it's embarrassing that the rejects from Ontario are now playing on the national stage. You'd think our experience would have warned people off!

  18. I kinda liked that Citizenship Guide myself.

    The HST is huge thou, probably the best policy making of the year.

    • There! The Citizenship Guide! The Conservatives did that, and they did it without *help* from the Liberals, or the provinces or anything else. I don't think there is an asterisk after this one.

      So, that's one good thing. Is there anything else?

  19. And at least one senator has been accused of some unethical dealing with infrastructure money.

    Only one senator, Leo Housakos, was "accused" of anything by the Opposition, and he was completely exonerated. As the Senate ethics officer said: "I therefore find that the allegations against Senator Housakos are unsubstantiated and without merit."

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2009/12/21/

  20. While I agree that they didn't ruin a good thing, I'm not sure that's a truly laudable achievement. I mean, "congratulations, Prime Minister Harper, you managed not to completely bungle a strong economy, yet!" I can't think of something that *they* actually did to make the economy stronger.

  21. No more chilling then if they ignored national security.

  22. Thanks for that clarification. December 21-22 were very busy and I missed that news item.

    My point though was not to single him out so much, but to point out that comparing Harper in 2010 to Chretien/Martin in 2000-2006 is a bit of a ridiculous rose coloured glasses look at the nature of all politicians.

  23. Isn't his point, just that. That the media are making stuff up. Or the Conservative spinmeisters are. Or both.

  24. Not all of the claims in Scandalpedia are unfounded. In fact, most are true.

    No, most are unfounded. That's why the site no longer exists. The Liberals didn't want to get sued for posting libelous smears.

  25. "they've just trashed us abroad, ruined our reputation, lost us a war and the ICC may be looking into their actions"
    Whachoo talkin' 'bout Willis?

  26. Nope!

  27. Actually, it's economists who like harmonization and populists that don't, so I think you have that last line reversed. That said, I think I'd label that under "things the Tories convinced some provinces to do" more so than "things the Tories did", but fair enough. So, the HST in Ontario/BC was a laudable accomplishment of the Tories in 2009. I'm not sure you can still find any Tories who will admit publicly that they had anything to do with that, but they did, so credit's due on that one.

    Any thoughts on anything the Tories did in the other nine months of 2009?

  28. Yeah, I think I have to go with Lynn on this one. Canada's in very good shape compared to much of the G7 coming out of the latest big recession, I'm just not sure anything the Tories did had very much at all to do with that. Props I suppose for not completely messing up a good thing (depending upon one's definition of "messing up") but even I think there have to be better accomplishments for the Tories from 2009.

  29. So, that's a "yes" then?

  30. I can't speak for Ontario, but not everyone in BC would view this as a laudable accomplishment, no matter who takes the credit.

  31. Which they did.. how? By enacting policies that were apparantly "forced" upon them by the Liberals?

    Interesting.

  32. You mean the HST legislation that died on the floor when Harper prorogued?

    That's an accomplishment? A dead bill?

  33. You do realize the rest of us didn't have any thing to do with who y'all voted for in Ontario, right?

  34. I defy you to point out the professor.

  35. Which is why it's harder today than it used to be to find a Tory member who'll admit publicly to having anything to do with it. I should have said that I would count it as a laudable accomplishment. It's still more something they convinced someone else to do than something they really deserve credit for doing themselves though, imho.

  36. Guffaw! He's the guy with the radio…

  37. Too bad Harper CONs continue to backpedal as fast as possible from that 'accomplishment' with the hope that it just sticks to the 'Liberal' label. Another example of their non-accountability/non-accomplishment platform.

  38. But let's not count the chickens just yet. There are still some thousands upon thousands of 0-for-40 mortgages out there ticking away… Along with their 5%-for-35, it could still be an implosion that would knock a leg off Harper's three-legged stool…

  39. Yeah, but to immediately make the same mistake . . .

  40. Actually, it's economists who like harmonization and populists that don't, so I think you have that last line reversed. That said, I think I'd label that under "things the Tories convinced some provinces to do" more so than "things the Tories did", but fair enough. So, the HST in Ontario/BC was a laudable accomplishment of the Tories in 2009. I'm not sure you can still find any Tories who will admit publicly that they had anything to do with that, but they did, so credit's due on that one.

    Any thoughts on anything the Tories did in the other nine months of 2009?