Web­site will track Lib­eral com­mit­ments

The Western Star - - CANADA -

Peo­ple look­ing to know how the Liberals have fared on ful­fill­ing their prom­ises — as well as how far they have to go — can now visit a web­site the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has set up to track the tasks Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau as­signed to his cab­i­net min­is­ters.

“Cana­di­ans should have the best tools pos­si­ble to hold us ac­count­able,” Trudeau said in a state­ment Tues­day ac­com­pa­ny­ing the re­lease of the web­site.

“We want Cana­di­ans to know ex­actly what we’re do­ing and help drive progress on is­sues that mat­ter most to them.”

Soon af­ter his Liberals won their ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ment in 2015, Trudeau de­cided, in an un­prece­dented move for a fed­eral gov­ern­ment, to pub­lish the tra­di­tion­ally se­cret man­date let­ters writ­ten to cab­i­net min­is­ters.

Now, the Privy Coun­cil Of­fice has launched a web­site track­ing the 364 com­mit­ments found in those man­date let­ters, al­low­ing peo­ple to check whether a spe­cific pledge has been met, is on track, is go­ing through chal­lenges or, as in the case of elec­toral re­form, has been aban­doned.

The man­date let­ter tracker, which will be up­dated about ev­ery two weeks, also re­vealed that a prom­ise to give com­pa­nies that hire younger work­ers for per­ma­nent jobs a one-year break on em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums is no longer be­ing pur­sued.

“Based on re­search con­ducted by the Depart­ment of Fi­nance, it was de­ter­mined that this was not the most ef­fec­tive or ef­fi­cient way of spend­ing pub­lic re­sources to cre­ate jobs for young peo­ple,” the web­site ex­plained.

Nei­ther is a com­mit­ment to re­move the GST on new cap­i­tal in­vest­ments in all af­ford­able rental hous­ing.

“The gov­ern­ment con­cluded, based on re­search and ev­i­dence, that there were more ef­fec­tive ways of en­cour­ag­ing the con­struc­tion of af­ford­able rental hous­ing,” the web­site said.

The Privy Coun­cil Of­fice, which is the bu­reau­cracy that sup­ports the prime min­is­ter, de­signed the tracker and asked each depart­ment to eval­u­ate its progress, with an of­fi­cial ac­knowl­edg­ing there was some back-and-forth on how to clas­sify things.

“It was a con­sen­sus among sev­eral play­ers,” said the gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial, who briefed re­porters on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

So, the of­fi­cial ac­knowl­edged, the process was not de­void of pol­i­tics, es­pe­cially since the pri­or­i­ties in the man­date let­ters were set by Trudeau and, ul­ti­mately, min­is­ters are re­spon­si­ble for meet­ing the com­mit­ments.

CP PHOTO

Prime Min­is­ter-des­ig­nate Justin Trudeau and his wife So­phie Gre­goireTrudeau lead the new Lib­eral cab­i­net to Rideau Hall in Ot­tawa on Nov. 4, 2015. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has launched a web­site to track the 364 com­mit­ments Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau out­lined in man­date let­ters to his cab­i­net min­is­ters.

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