A 100 Days of Action

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.


CTV True North Politics Panel

Here is a link to my particiapation on the latest CTV True North Politics panel. Lots of fun as usual.


CTV Power Play

Enjoyed participating in CTV Power Play today looking at what happens next with the CPC. Our segment includes long time friend Bill Casey, Norman Spector and myself. My section starts at 6:20


Rubbing Salt Into a Wound

Imagine putting in 12-18 hour days for anywhere from four to eleven years as an elected MP representing your party through good and bad days, being at PMO’s beck and call throughout those years, given up 100s of hours of family time, only to be ignored when it should matter. And that is not counting the last election campaign which wasn’t an easy one for any Conservative candidate.

To arrange a post-election caucus meeting without defeated MPs present to discuss what happened to them is insulting and yet one more example of the heavy handed attempts at message control coming from the out-going folks at PMO. This is really rubbing salt into a wound.

I can’t think of one good reason for defeated MPs not to be there. Will they be upset- probably and rightly so? Can they contribute positively to any discussion of the campaign- certainly. Refusing permission for them to attend the caucus meeting is an ill thought out decision designed to protect a few or perhaps one person from hearing in the words of their own MPS how they saw the campaign unfold.

This is just one more dumb move that helps to illustrate how out of touch the centre has become. I hope defeated MPs show some backbone and turn up anyways. They have a right to be there and they should be there.

This is an excellent opportunity to ask each individual who wants to be interim leader whether or not they support our defeated MPs attending the caucus meeting. It will give the new caucus a chance to see what type of backbone the potential interim leader has and we will get to see if they are inclusive and serious about changing the way the Conservatives operate.

Hopefully someone will intervene or have second thoughts and right what is clearly a wrong-headed idea.


The People Have Spoken

First let me begin by thanking all of those who stood for election. Whether you won or lost last night you stepped up and took part in the democratic process. That is an experience you will never forget. Thank you as well to the legions of staff who worked for MPs who were defeated and now find themselves looking for work. Your hard work and long hours will never be appreciated by the public, but without you nothing gets done in Ottawa.

Election 2015 was more like a referendum. Hope vs fear, positive vs negative. Trudeau and his team were successful in delivering their message, the Conservatives, NDP and Greens were not. Trudeau’s campaign reminded me of Obama’s first one in 2008 which focused on hope and change and like Obama, Trudeau must now deliver.

Trudeau will have ample opportunity to deliver on change in the next few weeks both externally at international conferences such as the one coming up on climate change, with Canada’s military role in Syria and here at home with the role of committees, the appointment of a cabinet and the decision on when to call the MPs back to work in Ottawa.

One leader has indicated that he will be stepping down, two others probably should as in the end their electoral failure rests on their shoulders. The buck passing does stop at their desk. Either way we are in for some exciting times.