Public Management - Lecture 005

3 Pages

Management (MGS)
Course Code
Sandford Borins

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DISCUSSION OF MID-TERM 25 February 2014 Q1. What did Allan Blakeney mean by “state of the nation”? What is the rationale for this practice? A1. “State of the nation” is an annual speech to Congress by US President. It is a period for unstructured discussion that allowed ministers to raise issues of political concern. In Blakeney, it was a political committee of cabinet that would report on the sale of party memberships, the state of constituency organization, and other matters of organizational interest. There was also discussion on how they were doing with the public, to question how public was reacting to programs of departments (B&B, p. 29). Q2. Premier Wynne has presented her fiscal year 2014-15 budget to the Ontario Legislature and the two opposition parties have made it known that they will both vote against the budget and defeat the government. You are the Premier chief of staff. One of your junior staff members suggests that Premier Wynne follow Prime Minister Harper’s precedent of 2008, when, with an impeding defeat of his economic statement in the House of Commons, he asked the Governor General to prorogue Parliament to give the Government time to produce a budget that would win the support of a majority of the MPs. Do you think the Lieutenant Governor would be likely to agree to such a request? Why or why not. A2. No because it was not a precedent. It was Harper’s “economic statement” not a budget, Harper’s prorogation was 2 months after election. Q3. We watched a news story in class showing a meeting where representatives of Canadian veterans publicly criticzed Veterans’ Affairs Minister Julian Fantino over the Harper Government’s plan to close eight Veterans’ Affairs offices in smaller cities and reassign their functions to local Service Canada offices. What might the Deputy Minister of Veterans’Affairs have done in advance to prevent this from happening? A3. This refers to the Deputy Minister, not Fantino and the implenetation of co-location and meeting preparation. The public often does not see the intent of the government’s cabinet as a whole and often misinterprets the government’s reasons as a negative change. What the Deputy Minister of Veterans’ Affairs should have done before hand was positively support the importance of the local Service Canada offices and its contribution to Canada so that when they are reassigned it does not seem like a threat but a promotion. Q4. Two of the most important federal committees are Priorities and Planning and Treasury Board. The Prime Minister almost always chairs Priorities and Planning and almost never chairs or is even a member of Treasury Board. Explain why. A4. PM chairs Priorities and Planning because of its key role in setting direction for the government. They are not a member of the Treasury Board because it is very detailed, a waste of the PM’s time, and too early intervention in budget process. Q5. Why is green the dominant colour of the Ontario Government’s website (, rather than blue, red, or orange? A5. Green is a politically neutral colour, it is the dominant colour of the Ontario Government’s website to not show any bias or favoritism as blue, red, and orange is the representational colours of the Conservative, Liberal and NDP respectively. Q6. Why is it important for there to be “no daylight” (that is, close cooperation) between the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister (federal) or Premier (provincial)? A6. To avoid ministers attempting to go over the head of the Finance Minister to the PM, because the Finance Minister handles significant issues of government budgets and fundings, this topic should be secure and private as this position is highly important. Q7. An old bit of so-called political wisdom is that politicians should never put a date and a number in the same sentence (especially if the sentence is in future tense). What is the reasoning underlying this advice? What have many governments (for example, New York City and Ontario) done that disregards this advice? What is their rationale for disregarding this advice? A7. Politicians should never put a date and a number in the same sentence to not be held accountable for promises by opposition, media, or public. It is also often related to a too detailed policy and those are difficult to live up to (false promises) because future is always highly unpredictable and unforeseen changes make exact or specific policies difficult to achieve. The more detailed it is, the more difficult to obtain and change is less flexible. Some governments disregard this advice because they feel as though this approach helps to secure votes as having a detailed and established goal makes citizens believe their policies are going to be implemented and trustworthy (not just empt
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