Andrew Coyne, writing in the Ottawa Citizen, notes that, in just over a month since it took office it has had four “oops” moments. He writes:
“The 25,000 Syrian refugees who were supposed to be admitted before New Year’s are now down to 10,000 because — who knew? — it would be impossible to screen them all in that time, certainly not on Canadian soil as the Liberals had originally planned.
The fighter jets that were supposed to have been brought home from Syria are still flying missions because — who knew? — our allies are not entirely happy to see us desert them.
The tax increase on the rich that was supposed to pay for the tax cut for the near rich is at least $1 billion short of the mark and probably $2 billion, because — who knew? — the Liberals have discovered the rich tend to respond to government attempts to take more of their income by reporting less of it.
And, of course, the deficit that was supposed to come in at a modest $10 billion for two years is now headed for, well, your guess is as good as mine — $15 billion? $20 billion? Already the Liberals are hinting that some of the other promises on which they were elected — restoring home mail delivery, for example — might have to be delayed or reversed.”
Then he goes on to ask: “Why must the rest of us depend upon the government of the day, of whatever party, to tell us the state of the country’s finances, when we know they are probably lying?”
It’s a good question. We have, as Mr Coyne notes, gone part way down the right path by establishing the PBO, but we need go father. I, generally, disapprove of the cumbersome and burdensome ways the Americans administer their government, but we all should admit that they do a better job of examining their fiscal situation. (The fact that they are incredibly bad at doing anything about it is another matter. They have put the information out there, they have failed to do something with it.)
We need a better structure, within parliament, for committees, aided by officials from the Library of Parliament, to study and report, publicly, on issues. We need more power for the committees and more and better qualified (and paid) officials to support the committees.
This, not rejigging the electoral system, is how to make parliament better.