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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Politics in 2016
« on: December 30, 2015, 07:21:17 »
I thought it appropriate to begin a new topic, about Canadian politics in 2016, with a column about the Trudeau Government's "reach" and "grasp" (lots of the former, not too much of the latter) by Jeffrey Simpson. It is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/globe-politics-insider/reality-checks-await-for-ambitious-liberals/article27954558/
Quote

Reality checks await for ambitious Liberals

SUBSCRIBERS ONLY

Jeffrey Simpson
The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015

The beginning of Justin Trudeau’s government recalls the lines from English poet Robert Browning: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”

The Liberal government is obviously not reaching literally for heaven, but instead, like all governments, for re-election. Long before that judgment day, it aspires for ambitious, far-reaching changes in many areas of government policy. Modesty is not a suit this government will wear.

In Prime Minister Trudeau’s covering mandate letter sent to his ministers, they are instructed that “our platform guides our government. Over the course of our four-year mandate, I expect us to deliver on all of our commitments.”

Not “most” of them. Not “many.” Not “all, if circumstances and money permit.” No, Mr. Trudeau says his government will deliver on “all of our commitments,” which, depending on how you count, total around 150.

Some of these commitments are unwise, as with any platform drafted in opposition. Some contradict others. Some will not fit within the framework of a balanced budget four years hence. None of these realities count in these early days of hope and ambition, and of reach exceeding grasp.

Another example. Faced with 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into residential schools – recommendations that range from the sensible and doable to the unnecessary or nigh impossible, and from the modestly to the hugely costly – Mr. Trudeau has declared his government will enact them “all.” Good luck.

The declaratory power of Trudeauesque ambition could be considered a refreshing change from the previous government, whose leader declared that he did not like “vision.” The Trudeauesque ambition also reflects a Liberal/liberal belief that government is the agent for social good, that it can deliver improvements in society and that contradictions and difficulties can be overcome by consultation, goodwill and effort.

Quickly and predictably, however, declaratory power has crashed against realities.

The government discovered that its ambition/promise to land 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada before Jan. 1 was impossible, as had been apparent from the moment the promise was made in mid-campaign. Sensibly, in the face of stubborn realities, the government backed off, and moved the target to the end of February.

Even that target seems too short a time to do the job properly. But long before this job is completed, lo and behold, well-meaning Immigration Minister John McCallum began speaking about bringing another 25,000 Syrian refugees next year, a commitment definitely not in the platform and for which no money has been allocated.

Reality also quickly dashed the campaign assumption that a higher tax on those earning more than $200,000 would rake in $3-billion. The Finance Department speculates it might bring $2.4-billion; outside experts think maybe $1-billion. Whatever the sum, a new federal tax will cause some provinces that have already raised taxes on the better-off to rethink their position.

Gone, too, is the target of a $10-billion deficit in the government’s first year, although the formal abandonment of this target has not been officially conceded. Just where the deficit will land, no one knows, but the amount will be so far beyond $10-billion that the government no longer speaks of deficits, preferring instead to discuss “debt-to-GDP-ratio.”

Economists understand this concept well, but it will befuddle many Canadians, some of whom struggle with understanding the much simpler idea of deficits. The more opaque the phraseology, the easier might be the political shift away from the platform.

There will be other disappointments. The idea that buying a fighter jet other than the F-35 will save enough money to refit the navy is a joke. Resetting relations between Ottawa and First Nations on a “nation-to-nation” basis when half of these “nations” have fewer than 1,000 people is easier said than done. And resetting the balance between natural resource exploitation and environmental protection by changing review procedures is a forlorn hope when so many environmentalists and aboriginal leaders use procedural objections as a pretext.

Before the election, Mr. Trudeau and his team benefited from low expectations. By pledging to use their majority to do everything in their platform, they have created high expectations that will not be easy to temper.

Citizens, provinces, interest groups, aboriginal people – just about every corner of Canadian society – have been promised something. The test will be to meet some promises, and walk back from others, which is what governing is usually about.


Some Liberal promises, unrealistic though they might be, will be hard to ignore. The country was tired of Prime Minister Harper's incrementalism and perceived penny pinching, and the boutique tax cuts that were too carefully (seemingly narrowly) defined; it wanted big, grand, visionary promises ... whether it wants to pay for them is quite another matter.

My suspicion is that the "honeymoon" will last until the budget is brought down. The Sun chain of newspapers never was "on board," nor were most of the Globe and Mail and National Post; the TV networks, from whence Canadians get most of what passes for information are still in the thrall of the telegenic and available prime minister and of cabinet ministers who still talks too much about issues that are not part of their area of responsibility. My guess is that post budget even the TV networks, which are very weak on analysis, will stop slow the cheerleading.

For my part: I'm still inclined to give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the benefit of the doubts ... but there are many doubts and they are growing in size and number, day-by-day.
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2015, 10:17:53 »
Personally do not think that Trudeau is the brains behind this government. He is the front person. While senior PS do provide the expertise, a body of unelected Liberal old school are pulling Trudeau's strings.

An example would be Trudeau's letters to his Ministers. I do not see him even coming up with the idea, let alone the direction. He signed the letters though, as he was told to do. Understand that a leader may formulate an intent and someone drafts the executables.

IMHO.
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2015, 11:49:13 »
totally agree, JT has the brand name ans is quite malleable, the look on his face when confronted with the realities in Paris. Likely these events made him even more dependent on his "unofficial advisors". I have no doubt he was genuine in his desire to help the Syrians and enjoyed handing out stuff to them. But a real leader has to step back from that and allow his people to conduct those tasks and focus on the leadership side.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2015, 00:21:46 »
Frankly, if we want to have a serious discussion about this government, its priorities and goals we should be making this a discussion about Gerald Butts and whoever else in the Liberal cabal that can be identified. The Young Dauphin is merely the front, watching him is like determining the direction of the Muppitt Show by watching Kermit the Frog, rather than understanding the vision of Jim Henson.
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2015, 08:56:21 »

An example would be Trudeau's letters to his Ministers. I do not see him even coming up with the idea, let alone the direction. He signed the letters though, as he was told to do. Understand that a leader may formulate an intent and someone drafts the executables.

IMHO.

You do know that mandate letters are the norm in our system right?  That all of the last government's ministers also received them right?

What was different is that they were made public.
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2015, 13:13:28 »
The Young Dauphin

You realize that title was reserved for the heir apparent of the crown of France.  Justin Trudeau is the Prime Minister now, not the leader of the third place party, so you need to get a new nickname for your favorite bête noire.
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2015, 13:39:48 »
You realize that title was reserved for the heir apparent of the crown of France.  Justin Trudeau is the Prime Minister now, not the leader of the third place party, so you need to get a new nickname for your favorite bête noire.

The Sun King?
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2015, 13:45:18 »
The Sun King?


Ooooooo. I like that and I'm going to use it. :nod:
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2015, 13:50:33 »
Frankly, if we want to have a serious discussion about this government, its priorities and goals we should be making this a discussion about Gerald Butts and whoever else in the Liberal cabal that can be identified. The Young Dauphin is merely the front, watching him is like determining the direction of the Muppitt Show by watching Kermit the Frog, rather than understanding the vision of Jim Henson.


You are watching a political machine in action ... it is not unlike the one which was in control for the past nine years, except that the management is, for now, at least, much more dispersed.

Prime Minister Harper had two problems that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does not face:

     1. An abundance (in politics two is too many) of conservative crackpots wanting to push the party out of the policy centre, the mushy middle; and

     2. A need to drag his party's two factions (PCs and Reform) into something like a cohesive whole.

Management of the Trudeau regime may, almost certainly will become more and more centralized as some ministers screw up or step on one another's toes. Mr Butts and Ms Telford are not all that much different, in either substance or style, from what went before.

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2015, 14:09:32 »
PPCLI Guy:
Quote
You do know that mandate letters are the norm in our system right?  That all of the last government's ministers also received them right?

Yes, I received mandate letters from the Bde Comd on appointment a couple of times.
Quote
What was different is that they were made public.

Made public was a PR exercise for obvious reasons.

Do you really think the PM gave intent, direction or was the finished product presented for signature?
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2015, 16:47:13 »
PPCLI Guy:
Yes, I received mandate letters from the Bde Comd on appointment a couple of times.

Do you really think the Bde Comd wrote the mandate letter you received (BTW, I have never heard of a Brigade level mandate letter before...), or do you think he passed on his intent to a Staff Officer who prepared it for his or her review?

Quote
Made public was a PR exercise for obvious reasons.

Or a firm belief in the principle of transparency.


"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2015, 16:50:39 »
The 2016 speculation and feelings based statements thread seems to be going just as planned.

The truthiness of 2016 thread.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2015, 16:53:51 by Altair »
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2015, 16:52:08 »
Or a firm belief in the principle of transparency.

The content of the letters read like a campaign speech, and a mirror of the Liberal campaign from the election. If Trudeau actually wrote like that, he's clearly a political robot from another dimension. The link to "transparency" is dubious at best.

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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2015, 16:57:05 »
The content of the letters read like a campaign speech, and a mirror of the Liberal campaign from the election. If Trudeau actually wrote like that, he's clearly a political robot from another dimension. The link to "transparency" is dubious at best.

Compared to all the other mandate letters you have read?

Oh that's right, no other letters have ever been publicly released......

I think perhaps it is time for me to leave this so-called discussion to the foam-at-the mouthers of both political stripes.
"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2015, 17:00:52 »
Compared to all the other mandate letters you have read?

Oh that's right, no other letters have ever been publicly released......

I think perhaps it is time for me to leave this so-called discussion to the foam-at-the mouthers of both political stripes.
It's very rare that actual discussions happen in politics threads.
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2015, 17:01:37 »
I am not a fan of PM Trudeau, I don't trust his ability to lead or his ability to use his head and create good policy, but I'm still waiting for him to actually do all kinds of stupid before I hop all over it. The electoral reform, for example, is one of those things worth chastising him over. But the Conservative-supporters on this site are starting to drive me much more batshit insane than PM Trudeau.

Who cares about his mandate letters? Who cares if they were a PR stunt or genuine? It's like the CO's first speech to the troops on his first Battalion parade after the Change of Command. It is a lot of PR and also genuine at the same time usually, but it doesn't mean s**t and no one really takes it all word-for-word until he gets his feet under him and starts to actually command and see the problems / strengths / weaknesses he has to deal with and consider before making decisions.
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2015, 17:05:53 »
Mandate letters from e.g. the PM to ministers, or from CEOs to regional VPs or from Boards of Directors to COOs/managers, are pretty much standard practice and, in my (limited) experience pretty generic ~ mostly "motherhood" with a few good management platitudes thrown in for effect.

In business what counts are the conversations with e.g. the VP Sales regarding the head office's expectation for your region or, perhaps, from one particular member of the executive committee to the new general manager expressing the Board's wishes on one or two specific issues. In th case of ministers the politics will be found in very few, very unofficial notes from the PMO to ministers' (political) chiefs of staff.

These are the first ministerial mandate letters I have ever seen, but they "ring true," to me ... which is worth  :2c:

Transparency is never a bad thing ... but you remember what the road to hell is paved with, don't you?  :nod:
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2015, 17:06:40 »
So far, in a thread where E.R. Campbell posted an article, there has been 14 posts that have merely been insults and accusations hurled at politicians and between members themselves.

Again proves why the Politics forum of Army.ca needs a firewall.
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2015, 17:09:35 »
So far, in a thread where E.R. Campbell posted an article, there has been 14 posts that have merely been insults and accusations hurled at politicians and between members themselves.


My bad.  This thread speaks to my lesser angels.
"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2015, 17:11:40 »
...
I think perhaps it is time for me to leave this so-called discussion to the foam-at-the mouthers of both political stripes.


 :ditto: ... back to "listening watch."
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2015, 17:37:17 »
I think perhaps it is time for me to leave this so-called discussion to the foam-at-the mouthers of both political stripes.

I guess I forgot to check "Must agree with PPCLI Guy" to gain access here. If you're going to continue to look down on people having a (relatively) calm discussion, you probably should just not post in this area, as it clearly offends your delicate sensibilities.

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2015, 18:25:08 »
Quote from: Rifleman62 on Today at 13:09:32
Quote
Yes, I received mandate letters from the Bde Comd on appointment a couple of times
.
Quote

Quote from PPCLI Guy: Do you really think the Bde Comd wrote the mandate letter you received (BTW, I have never heard of a Brigade level mandate letter before...), or do you think he passed on his intent to a Staff Officer who prepared it for his or her review?


In case you did not read my original post, repeat
Quote
Understand that a leader may formulate an intent and someone drafts the executables.

IMHO.


Never heard of a Bde level mandate letter? What is it now called when the Div Comd passes his intent to the Bde Comd and the Bde Comd to the CO's?

I made what I thought was a polite a comment on the current PM and you feel that you must damn the comment and the writer and others who do not follow your beliefs.

P.S. Happy New Year.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2015, 18:34:34 by Rifleman62 »
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2015, 18:46:46 »
Quote from: Rifleman62 on Today at 13:09:32.


I made what I thought was a polite a comment on the current PM and you feel that you must damn the comment and the writer and others who do not follow your beliefs.

P.S. Happy New Year.

I am not sure how I damned you, other than disagreeing with your point.  If offence was taken, I apologise - none was intended, or even offered.

As to Brigade mandate letters, I can see where you are going with this one.  I have seen a large number of directives from commanders at various levels.  They have been called "Command Philosophy", Left and Right of Arc", Commander's Visualization" etc - I suppose that they are, in some ways, "mandates", although I prefer to think of then as Commander's Intent.
"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2015, 19:10:00 »
Thanks for the reply with the info.


 
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Re: Politics in 2016
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2015, 22:55:29 »
Even an ardent Liberal, Warren Kinsella, is against the Trudeau plan for electoral reform. If his Liberal base thinks its out to lunch, how can anyone support this?

http://warrenkinsella.com/2015/12/ten-reasons-why-its-wrong-to-change-our-electoral-system-in-the-way-the-change-is-being-proposed/

Quote
Ten reasons why it’s wrong to change our electoral system in the way the change is being proposed
December 30th, 2015, 11:03 am

I was on a CTV panel when the Speech from the Throne was read out.  This part wasn’t a surprise, but I was surprised the Liberals were doubling down on it:

“The Government will . . . take action to ensure that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.”

There are ten reasons I can think of, off the top of my head no less, why they are wrong to ram this through, as they seem intent on doing. Here they are.

1. The government has no specific mandate for any specific change. They need to go and get one. Four sentences on page eight of a glossy campaign document that was likely read by only a few hundred Canadians isn’t sufficient.

2. A change – whether to ranked ballots, or proportional representation, mandatory voting, online voting, or whatever – like this is very big. Any government who wishes to make a change to the way our democracy actually functions needs to be acting (and seen to be acting) in a way that is quintessentially democratic. Refusing to listen to critics isn’t being democratic.

3. The likely changes seem to be weighted in favour of the incumbent Liberal government. That’s wrong. It renders the whole thing illegitimate from the start, and possibly illegal.

4. It’s being rushed. A wholesale and undefined revision of voting laws by 2017? Is any group of people clamouring for that much change, that fast? Is it possible to revise approximately 150 years of voting rules in about 15 months? Maybe – but if you have a solution to a problem, you need to persuade the people (who are the bosses, after all) that they have a problem that is worth solving.

5. Several provinces, including Ontario during an election in which I was involved, have sought a mandate to change election rules. Every one of them went down to defeat. The federal government needs to pay heed to that – but they’re not.

6. It’ll be challenged in court, and possibly hung up for years. In particular, it’ll be noted under section three of the Charter – the document, note well, that was birthed by the current Prime Minister’s father – no government is permitted to override “the right to vote.” What does that mean? Well, our highest court in Figueroa [1 SCR 912, 2003 SCC 37] decreed: “In a democracy, sovereign power resides in the people as a whole and each citizen must have a genuine opportunity to take part in the governance of the country through participation in the selection of elected representatives.” The Supremes are likely to be sympathetic to an argument that a ill-defined, rammed-through gutting of election laws doesn’t give the people “a genuine opportunity to take part.”

7. It is politically unwise. When Stephen Harper tried to rush through changes to election financing laws, ones that he too had made passing reference to in a just-held election campaign, Liberals were rightly incensed – and they very nearly defeated Harper for trying to rig the rules in his own favour. The changes being suggested by Trudeau’s government are far more fundamental – they go to the very heart of our democracy itself. That’s more important than financing of political parties.

8. Proportional representation, in countries which practice it, leads to instability. Majorities become rare, and continual election cycles become the norm. Simultaneously, fringe groups – neo-Nazis and the like – start to win seats, and acquire legitimacy as a result.

9. Ranked ballots – which the Liberals likely favour, because it favours them – is also problematic. Does a ranked system truly reflect a voter’s voting preferences? (Probably not.) Doesn’t it result in more voting errors? (It does.) Does lower turnout happen? (Usually.) Doesn’t it produce lots of run-offs, which paradoxically leads back to the very system that the government is seeking to change in the first place? (Um, yes. Yes it does.)

10. It’s our democracy, not a particular political party’s. It isn’t a perfect electoral system, but it has been at the centre of collective efforts to produce a near-perfect nation. Mess with it at your own risk, Mr. Trudeau.
- See more at: http://warrenkinsella.com/2015/12/ten-reasons-why-its-wrong-to-change-our-electoral-system-in-the-way-the-change-is-being-proposed/#sthash.jHXAolvH.dpuf