Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fit to govern?

Diane Francis has been doing an interesting "credentials audit" of the federal political parties as a measure of their fitness to successfully steer Canada’s economy in an increasingly competitive world. It doesn’t look good.

In her National Post column last week the Conservatives come up short:

....two dozen people who are qualified to run a charity, launch a special-interest group or be Minister of Justice because they are lawyers.

...only one person qualified to be Minister of Finance [David Emerson].

In a second column the Liberals faired even worse:

...."talent pool" is so bereft it is downright worrisome. savvy technocrats street smarts. This is a crew capable of running Greenpeace, a farm, giving university lectures or running a law firm.

This week’s column covers the NDP and the Bloc. No surprises here:

...both have different names but are, at the root, merely European labour parties.

...[neither have any MPs] who would have the slightest clue about the nuances of tax, capital markets, income trust or most economic policies.

The recommended solution:

Canada's governance gap could be closed if candidates:

1) were required to pass a rigorous economic IQ test and
2) were paid the average of their past five years' salary with a cap of $500,000. This would encourage trained applicants to run.

That’s what I like about the American system - a separate, appointed, highly qualified executive branch to run the government.

However, it’s unlikely that anything will change (for the better) anytime soon - so I guess we just have to count our blessings and be thankful we’re as well off as we are.


Johnny Canuck said...

"a separate, appointed, highly qualified executive branch"

ya, right...ask the people in the Gulf Coast how fit and qualified the current bunch is to govern...

Anonymous said...

"ask the people in the Gulf Coast how fit and qualified the current bunch is to govern."

Johnny that was a local screw-up through and through. As much as the media likes to hang it on the Bush administration they were not the ones who misspent millions of construction money well before Katrina!

joe said...

Johnny: Let's compare disasters. A massive flood in MB a few years ago resulted in our military renting some heavy lift aircraft to get aid to the victims. PMJC showed up, threw a sand bag for the camera and then left the people to fend for themselves. Canada was under wise leadership the media said so. New Orleans had a mayor that screwed up royally, Louisiana had a governor that screwed up royally people's homes were wrecked, people died and Bush got blamed because the media doesn't like him.

Anonymous said...

Err.. and Dianne Francis qualifications are? How about the rest of the financial reporters qualifications to report on financial issues...?
(real conservative)

JR said...

I mostly agree with anon (3:54) and Joe on Katrina. There were management problems at all levels but I'd say most of the blame belongs with the city and state.

But even if it was all the feds, so what? I didn't say that the US method of appointing it's executive branch was perfect, that things could never go wrong, just that I liked it better than our own. You can't deny that it greatly widens the pool from which a qualified cabinet can be selected.

As for Diane Francis' qualifications - she's a financial journalist with a couple of decades of experience and author of a bunch of books on business and finance, etc. See her bio here.