Friday, July 03, 2015

On closed-door decisions

Memo to Don Lenihan:

It's well and good to point to past backroom policy debacles such as utterly unwanted Crown corporation giveaways as examples of a complete lack of public engagement.

But before lauding Kathleen Wynne as the face of open government, might it be worth noting that she's doing the exact same thing on too short a time frame for public consultation, while paying lip service to "dialogue" after it's too late?


  1. Anonymous6:11 p.m.


    Thanks for the note.

    In my piece, I am not looking to pass judgement on Wynne’s overall performance as a premier. I led the panel that recommended to the government that it undertake this public engagement initiative. I believe, as do my colleagues on the panel, that doing so will force the current and subsequent governments to design and deliver better processes and in a principled way.

    As the chair of the panel, I believe that, whatever controversies surround the government, this is a clear win for Open Government and I’m delighted that the premier is moving ahead on our recommendation. Should any other government, in Ottawa or elsewhere, do the same, I will be the first to praise its decision—without mention of its other faults.


    1. Fair enough Don, and thanks for the comment.

      The unfortunate part in Wynne's case is that the other fault in question is exactly the one you rightly lament in New Brunswick's case. And that's why it strikes me as difficult to tell - and praise her for - only the part of the story where she vows to do things differently than she's doing them now.