Roundup: Release the Mandate Tracker!

The government unveiled their “mandate tracker” website yesterday, put out by the Privy Council Office, which aims to track the progress of commitments made in ministerial mandate letters, which the government (rightly) touts is the first time these kinds of things are being publicly tracked. But the grousing immediately began – that these are not campaign commitments being tracked (and really, it would be inappropriate for PCO to be tracking those), that some of the progress is subjective, and that it’s a “propaganda tool” for the government.

That’s fair criticism, and sure, it’s cute that the government calls promises they no longer intend to keep as “not being pursued” (rightly in some cases, like electoral reform – because it was a stupid promise), and yes, there is some subjectivity to some of the measures like how they’ve improved Question Period – and if anyone wants to compare how it’s being run right now as compared to the zoo that it was in the Harper era, with the jeering, hooting baboons and the reading of non-sequiturs, they can go right ahead, but it is different, and I would argue, better most of the time. (Yes, many of the government’s responses are pabulum – but given how mendacious and disingenuous most of the questions are, that’s not a surprise either).

Suffice to say, it’s a step. The Conservatives never put anything like this out for public consumption, and had a habit of retconning some of their own promises (remember the promise around wait times? And how they tried to recast it as a different promise among the five that they made and supposedly kept? Good times). And while sure, it looks like they’re grading their own homework, you don’t have to take their word for it. You the public, and We The Media can fact-check these things, and hey, there’s something in the window for us to fact-check against. Great. I’m failing to see where the downside of any of this is.

Meanwhile, here is some more informed analysis:

https://twitter.com/JenniferRobson8/status/930544368938897409

Good reads:

  • While Justin Trudeau tried to sell ASEAN on more progressive values, the president of the Phillipines was “insulted” by Trudeau bringing up human rights.
  • At the peacekeeping summit, the government is expected to unveil a $15 million fund to help with training and capacity; the UN is fine with this approach.
  • Canada has initiated a court challenge around softwood lumber duties in the US.
  • A public service union says that they can replace the Phoenix pay system faster than fixing it. It’s completely hilarious.
  • The government is looking to increase the ethanol blend in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent as part of cleaner fuel standards.
  • Andrew Scheer has put out a…pedestrian video to help get better known.
  • Kady O’Malley’s Process Nerd column looks at what happens during an investigation by the Ethics Commissioner (and contextualises some claims being made).
  • Susan Delacourt looks at Ontario as a large-scale experiment in progressive governance that is leading the way for much of the country.
  • Andrew Leach looks at the case for the Alberta government committing to a Keystone XL “subscription” for bitumen shipments.
  • My column looks at Senator Bellemare’s suggestion for a “sober second thought checklist” to be enshrined in the rules, and why it’s a bad idea.

Odds and ends:

As Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces, Her Excellency Julie Payette was presented with RCAF astronaut wings, which are now on her C-in-C uniform.

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