23 August 2015

#22 Absolutely

It didn't start with the current Prime Minister, this centralization of power in the PMO. No, it started much earlier, but it seems to have been carried to its logical conclusion by the current government. Some of the early Tory ads (the ones not attacking others) showed it glaringly — the Prime Minister working long hours, alone in his office. I can't imagine how a government of one could be sustainable over the long term or legitimate for one second.

To be fair, it isn't one person doing this, but a select group of advisors and staffers working to determine the whole direction of the government, to be approved (not so much debated) by the caucus and then by Parliament. Not what comes to most of our minds when we think of democracy and good governance. But it is apparently considered efficient, what with none of that pesky dissent or fiddling with the direction that has been determined.

I used to find it fascinating, at the beginning of the current regime, how every major announcement came from the mouth of the Prime Minister, with the minister responsible for the file dutifully standing by and observing. There is another way to do that, of course, and this PMO has discovered it. Brief, well-honed talking points that can be handed out and parroted by whoever might be speaking. The multiple faces give the illusion that many are involved in the governing, but the scripted lines ensure that things move along in the direction that has been pre-determined.

Debate and dissent might be messy and might delay getting certain things done, but ultimately, that would be a lot healthier an approach to governing a country. Decisions get better when truly compelled to withstand scrutiny and to adapt to legitimate criticism.

Further reading here

He controls the reins
We ask what was the price of
absolute power?

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