So What Have We Got –Part Three

Third in Series on Federal Liberal Platform .

19. We will deliver stronger national security oversight.

At present, Parliament does not have oversight of our national security agencies, making Canada the sole nation among our Five Eyes allies whose elected officials cannot scrutinize security operations. This leaves the public uninformed and unrepresented on critical issues.

We will create an all-party committee to monitor and oversee the operations of every government department and agency with national security responsibilities.

This may sound good, but I am not so sure what it means in practice . All security operations are responsible to the Government Minister who is responsible to Parliament. I will have to do some more checking on this one.

20. We will strengthen Parliamentary committees so that they can better scrutinize legislation.

Better government starts with better ideas. We will ensure that Parliamentary committees are properly resourced to bring in expert witnesses, and are sufficiently staffed to continue to provide reliable, non-partisan research.

To increase accountability, we will strengthen the role of Parliamentary committee chairs, including elections by secret ballot.

We will also change the rules so that Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries no longer have a vote on committees.

It has not been established that Parliamentary Committees are poorly staffed or lack resources. It is not explained in what way the chair of the committee will have his or her powers increased. Electing chairs may be a shallow effort if the Government has a majority on the committee . If Ministers or Parliamentary Secretaries are a part of the Committee well they should vote. I assume in most cases they would not be a part of the Committee and hence should not have the power to vote.

21. We will make the Canada Revenue Agency fairer, more helpful, and easier to use.

The Canada Revenue Agency exists to serve Canadians. We will overhaul its service model so that people who interact with the CRA feel like valued clients, not just taxpayers.

A client-focused Canada Revenue Agency will:

proactively contact Canadians who are entitled to, but are not receiving, tax benefits;
offer to complete returns for some clients, particularly lower-income Canadians and those on fixed incomes whose financial situation is unchanged year-to-year;
support more Canadians who wish to file taxes using no paper forms; and
deliver correspondence that is straightforward and easy to read.
We will allow charities to do their work on behalf of Canadians free from political harassment, and will modernize the rules governing the charitable and not-for-profit sectors.

This will include clarifying the rules governing “political activity,” with an understanding that charities make an important contribution to public debate and public policy. A new legislative framework to strengthen the sector will emerge from this process.

We will also invest an additional $80 million, over four years, to help the Canada Revenue Agency crack down on tax evaders.

This client friendly approach is positive . Hopefully ,it will not get lost in so called bigger issues and not get done like a lot of similar promised reforms . It will be interesting to see what comes out of the ‘ political activity’ and charities promise. Cracking down on tax offenders is always positive , if there is real follow through.

22. We will save home mail delivery.

By ending door-to-door mail delivery, Stephen Harper is asking Canadians to pay more for less service. That is unacceptable.

We will stop Stephen Harper’s plan to end door-to-door mail delivery in Canada and undertake a new review of Canada Post to make sure that it provides high-quality service at a reasonable price to Canadians, no matter where they live.

Popular, very unsure that this is in the overall public interest . I have a box apparatus on my street . Works great. One would have to look at the overall cost on this given that we are looking at promised three years of deficits. Ouch!

23. We will build a government as diverse as Canada.

Our country is stronger, and our government more effective, when decision-makers reflect Canada’s diversity.

We will include an equal number of women and men in our Cabinet.

We will also adopt a new government-wide appointment process that is open and based on merit.

This is rather contradictory. Should I be surprised ?

24. We will involve young people in government.

At its highest levels, our government needs to do a better job of understanding and addressing the needs of Canada’s young people.

We will create a Prime Minister’s Youth Advisory Council, consisting of young Canadians aged 16 to 24, to provide non-partisan advice to the Prime Minister on issues facing the country.

You don’t divide the population up like this . A better job can be done locally. There is presently a Minister of State for Sport and another for Social Development. Usually this is political correct window dressing , means little in practice.

25. We will consider the gender impacts of the decisions we make.

Public policies affect women and men in different ways. We will take these differences into account when making decisions in Cabinet.

We will also ensure that federal departments are conducting the gender-based impact analyses that have been required of them for the past 20 years.

This is all motherhood and sounds great. In practise , does this mean that every cabinet paper that goes to Cabinet must have a section entitled gender impacts ? What about senior impacts ? I feel left out . That’s discrimination. So one division leads to more division and soon you have utter silliness, if it does not already exist.

26. We will deliver easy online access to government services.

Accessing government services online should be easier. We will make the process easier and faster through individualized, secure accounts for Canadians who want to access their benefits and review key documents.

We will also create a single online point-of-contact for all government services, and work with the provinces and territories on ways to combine online access.

As we expand online services, we will also expand in-person service, such as reopening the nine veterans’ service centres closed by Stephen Harper.

Finally, we will work with the Privacy Commissioner as we develop these new initiatives, to ensure that Canadians’ data is kept safe and secure.

Has merit , but reopening all nine veteran service centres seems to fly in the face of more online services.

27. We will establish new performance standards for federal services.

Busy Canadians deserve better service from their government. We will establish new performance standards, including streamlining applications, reducing wait times, and offering money-back guarantees.

Performance will be independently assessed and publicly reported. We will start with the services hardest hit by years of cuts by Stephen Harper: Employment Insurance, veterans’ services, immigration, and EI and CPP appeals.

We will also ensure that all federal services are delivered in full compliance with the Official Languages Act.his is only effective if included in this promise there is an obligatory annual public score card to see if progress is being made . Otherwise , will get lost in the bureaucracy.

I would need to see how independently assessed and public reported is to work before agreeing to this.

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