Roundup: Appointment backlog woes

The National Post has a really good piece looking into the current backlog of appointments and the effect it’s having on the functioning of government. It’s something that has been talked about a lot, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a good breakdown of those vacancies, and the effect that it’s having. It’s one of those subjects that sounds pretty easy to grumble about, but it’s also something that we should take a step back and realise that to a certain extent, the goals of reforming the appointments process has been laudable, and in many cases, overdue when it comes to increasing the level of diversity into these positions. Over the course of my reporting, a lot of civil society actors have praised the move (while still being concerned at the timeframe it took for getting the processes up and running) because they all know that the outcomes will inevitably be better over the longer term now that the bulk of positions aren’t simply being filled by straight white men.

That said, I also wanted to just put a bit of additional context around some of this backlog in saying that as much as the Conservatives are baying at the moon about some of these appointments right now, that they were no saints when it came to this sort of thing either, and reformed the appointment process for some of these positions themselves, creating massive backlogs in the process. The two that come to mind immediately are the Immigration and Refugee Board, where they took a functioning system and drove it to dysfunction when they changed that process to “de-politicise it” (with plenty of accusations that they just made the system easier to put their own cronies in) and turning a system where the optimal number of files was churning through into a massive backlog that they tried to blame their predecessors on (sound familiar?). The other was the Social Security Tribunal, which they completely revamped as part of their changes to the system overall, and I’m not sure it ever got fixed before they lost the election, only for the Liberals to turn around to reform the appointment process yet again. So yes, some of the backlogs are bad, but in some cases, ‘twas ever thus, and we should keep that in mind.

Good reads:

  • Opposition members are looking to haul the government before committee to talk NAFTA renegotiation, in the hopes they’ll lay out their strategy. The Liberals said no.
  • Our military aircraft haven’t been flying in the Iraq mission for weeks, but nobody will say why.
  • There hasn’t been a lot of uptake in First Nations communities and the North for the Canada Child Benefit.
  • The Correctional Service of Canada has approved the first transfer of a transgender inmate to a women’s facility.
  • Elections Canada found that a 2015 incident where Pierre Poilievre wore a Conservative-branded shirt to an official ministerial announcement broke the rules.
  • Fewer asylum seekers are crossing illegally in Manitoba, but more are in Quebec.
  • The stats are showing that terror incidents are on the decline globally.
  • Lisa Raitt hopes her being deputy leader will be a boon to the party’s feminist credentials – but won’t actually talk feminism as feminism.
  • Jonathan Kay pays tribute to the departing David Johnston.
  • Andrew MacDougall writes about how foreign aid isn’t keeping pace with new realities, including how technology has changed migration patterns.
  • Supriya Dwivedi makes some very salient points about the signal the Conservatives are sending when they use poll numbers to justify their Khadr outrage theatre.

Odds and ends:

The “Unite the right” votes are going on in Alberta this weekend, and we’ll see if it starts to get weird.

2 thoughts on “Roundup: Appointment backlog woes

  1. Scheer says Trudeau not “working hard enough of the NAFTA file”. This coming from a party that couldn’t negotiate a soft wood lumber agreement with the Americans while in its final mandate. Scheer just isn’t ready.

  2. I think it’s about time to put a moratorium on the use of the word “reform” in straight-up news stories when it comes to changes promoted by politicians. Reform is a value-laden word connoting a positive change, an improvement. What constitutes an improvement is often highly subjective, yet, in much of the writing out of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, changes proposed by the government or a political party are described as “reforms.” Using a less charged word would better serve both reporters and the public.

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