In a speech on March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt mentioned for the first time the concept that he would deliver 100 days of action now that he was elected.
Unfortunately that concept has drifted across the border and we also tend to hold our politicians to the same standard. Forget about the fact that we have very different systems of government, we still hold our politicians to account for their first few days in office. The result is that 100 out of roughly 1460 days take on far too much importance.
Let’s look at Trudeau and his aggressive agenda which is all about showing him to be in charge and delivering on election promises. Essentially this amounts to an aggressive photo op that will last a few weeks. Time will tell if this is the best course of action considering the Liberals have been out of power for so long.
I don’t know anyone who would have objected (after such a long campaign) to Trudeau bringing MPs back in the second week of January, instead of in December (except for all the groups waiting cap in hand for a handout). Frankly you need time to get organized and up to speed and that includes Trudeau, his PMO staff, his new ministers and their new staff. It is a huge leap from the opposition benches or private business to a minister’s office. This is not helped by Trudeau’s commitment to attend a number of international events. Being briefed on the road is far different to sitting in your office with all of the departmental experts sitting in front of you as they go over the details and the pros and cons of issues, your election promises etc. All of which are new decisions that you now face on a daily basis. Nor can those briefings be passed off to key PMO staff as in the end with every decision taken, the buck stops on the desk of the PM.
Roughly a 100 PMO staff need to be hired. Ministers still have to hire a chief of staff plus roughly 10 staff each. They too have to be briefed as does their new staff. In some of the larger departments this can take 3 plus days. Trudeau will be throwing these new ministers (more than a few without any parliamentary experience) into the lion’s den of Question Period, roughly a month after they are sworn in. Awaiting them will be the Conservatives who in many cases will know the files far better than the freshmen ministers and the NDP who will be out to redeem themselves in the eyes of the voters.
All to say there is no rush. While it is nice to look busy and to be seen to be bringing change to Ottawa, sometimes acting too quickly can be more of a negative than a positive. It is a pretty common rookie mistake.