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Canada Rex Murphy: In this time of crisis, we need more decision makers, not less

19:51  24 march  2020
19:51  24 march  2020 Source:   nationalpost.com

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National Post 3 days ago Rex Murphy . © Geoff Robins/AFP via Getty Images Health-care workers There are perhaps no two politicians in Canada more philosophically or ideologically opposed that This is how fellow citizens in our once Dominion act. The impulse to help when help is needed is It is a matter of opening hearts to each other, as a balm in a time of anxiety; and the route to calm is an

For those still seeking some quantum of solace after the devastating Trans Mountain court decision , turn your hungry eyes to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi. In anticipation of another G7 meeting to be held this month in Halifax on the always resonant themes of

Bill Morneau, Justin Trudeau standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Finance Minister Bill Morneau, left, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrive at the House of Commons before tabling the federal budget in Ottawa, on March 19, 2019. © David Kawai/Bloomberg Finance Minister Bill Morneau, left, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrive at the House of Commons before tabling the federal budget in Ottawa, on March 19, 2019.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

I had planned to write a piece about the Conservative leadership convention, making the point that a pandemic is not the perfect environment for large political gatherings, that the normal traffic of large meetings and public debates that is the business of those seeking leadership does not harmonize with lockdowns and stay-at-home advisories. Moreover, though it may be discomfiting to hear, we have done without effective Conservative leadership for a while now and could probably survive waiting an extra month or two before bringing a fresh instalment on stage. Thus, the idea of continuing the campaign during a public health crisis is very simply a bad one. If the Olympics can be postponed, Canada can suffer the delay of a Tory leadership contest.

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most of all, as we have seen this week, above the courts and the legislatures. Meantime we are days away from the most significant policy decision this government will make — presuming it Should that decision be negative, should Alberta once again be denied its right to pursue its economic interests

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In this context, Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay’s call for the vote to be held sooner, rather than delaying it, is simply bizarre. Let us wait till the situation is under control enough to allow some normalcy to return and then, with full and unrestrained public participation in the process, may the Conservatives look to see who best may lead them. That was the column I intended (and more or less have delivered anyway).

But it is small potatoes (petites pommes de terre) compared to the outrage and absurdity of what, I gather for a brief while, was being contemplated from the brain trust gathered at the top of the Liberal government: granting unfettered authority to Finance Minister Bill Morneau and the Liberal cabinet to have complete control over taxation and spending, without Parliamentary approval, until Dec. 31, 2021.

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Most businesses problem is not one of loan guarantees, but of the impossibility of requesting a loan. We are not in a crisis due to lack of access to credit, but rather a crisis due to the disappearance of activity. Keeping the tax wedge system in a crisis of this magnitude generates a double negative.

From what dim pit did that idea emerge? What was the “thinking” (the word is far too kind) from which it emanated? Has this minority government been so super-competent, so alert and agile in all its responses to this crisis, that there is a hidden clamour to denature Parliament and hand all power and authority to the troika of unquestionable sages (Morneau, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland) of the minority government? If so, I have missed the acclaim.

Because of the nature of this crisis, criticism of the prime minister and his government has been more muted than normal, perhaps understandably so. But the government has been stumbling, hesitant when it should be decisive and far from inspirational. Instead of seeking to restrict input and advice, instead of even thinking of bypassing Parliament, leaders in government should be extending the influence of those outside their inner circle. Wisdom, after all, doesn’t come with a partisan label.

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In each case, decision makers adopted beliefs that defied economic history. In the 1920s “ We hope that the weight of evidence in this book will give future policy makers and investors a bit more Avoiding the Next Crisis By definition, this - time -is-different thinking is so infectious that it saps the

Even if a financial crisis is now less likely, one will occur eventually. To contain the damage, the Treasury and financial regulators need adequate From a political perspective, Congress’s decision to limit these crisis -fighting tools was predictable. Many of the actions necessary to stem the crisis

They should expand the circle of decision makers and allow voices of experience and authority to join their deliberations. Why is Jane Philpott still an outsider? Why are some of the more serious and adult members of the opposition parties not more welcome? I would add former prime minister Stephen Harper to this list, and as I do so, I am aware of the flood of witless dismissal that will come with that suggestion. But why we would not avail ourselves of his executive expertise and judgment at the moment is a puzzle.

These are the times when we need more Parliament, rather than less. If Marcus Aurelius or Plato were leading the country, maybe — and only maybe — should we consider forgoing our legislators for a time. But alas, they are not available.

Government today is instead overrun with an army of spin doctors and communications strategists, the “invisibles” who contain power and authority, and who — often more than the politicians, and certainly more than talented backbenchers — determine policy, communication strategies and come up with all the “brilliant new ideas.”

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Then the authors show where the decision makers could have used history more effectively to come to better conclusions. In these , little political bias shines through. Look for the story, not for the problem, test the presumptions, and identify what would cause a need to change your plans for action.

RECENTLY, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said that if we want to fix the gridlock in Congress, we need more women. In this experiment, the men’s risk-taking earned them more points. Do organizations with women in charge actually make less risky and more empathetic decisions in If more women were key decision makers , perhaps organizations could respond effectively to small

a bridge over a body of water:  Parliament Hill is seen without any visitors in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. © Adrian Wyld Parliament Hill is seen without any visitors in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020.

I have little doubt that this band of wizards issued the brain-stopping notion of castrating Parliament, eliminating the input of over 300 elected MPs during a crisis, the very kind of occasion when a fusion of the best ideas from all parties is most needed to earn the acceptance of all Canadians. “All” should be the word of our times.

This now abandoned proposal still has meaning: it is an insight, an aperture, into the quality of thought of our national leadership. Someone thought, for example, that giving Morneau the right to bypass the national legislature for 18 months to rearrange our economy — which is now in parallel jeopardy with our health and which will be, almost certainly if it is not already, out next huge crisis — was a good idea. What zany concocted this absurdity? We should be concerned that such an idea was given credence, as it says a lot about the quality of thought at the top.

We need all leaders, all qualified voices, not a series of edicts from people who are severely overconfident of their abilities and understanding. We are Canadians, not Liberals and Tories. At this moment, let us try to live that truth.

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