Rob Dekker: Do Canadians have enough information to know if their government is doing a good job? | Unpublished

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Unpublished Opinions

RobDekker's picture
Ottawa, Ontario
About the author

Rob currently works on Parliament Hill and is on the Daybreak Non-Profit Housing Board of Directors.  He writes regularly on his blog #RedHeartBlueSign at on lifestyle, political and personal topics.

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Rob Dekker: Do Canadians have enough information to know if their government is doing a good job?

January 27, 2024

Originally planned as a ‘year-ender’ it moved into a direction that took me away from the typical year end review.  This is the final result of what came  out. 

I feel that all the ‘year ender’ interviews and reviews sound exactly like what we’ve been watching and listening to for the entire the year.  So much so that there is really nothing new to be learned from the interviews, either and print or on TV from the leaders.  Rarely will a leader present something new  - it’s all about the past 12 months.  Even more rare are the surprises.

In the interviews with the Prime Minister, there wasn’t anything more people would not have already known – it was a case of doubling down on what  has previously been stated.  Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre granted access for a year ending interviews to smaller media outlets.  The large mainstream media did not have the chance for a sit down with the Opposition Leader, they had to gleam through what was printed to get a glimpse of what was said.  Again, no real surprises.  Like the Prime  Minister, the NDP restated their talking points and are still working to sound different than the government.  

So why do these interviews take place? They are not for the those that are in the bubble or are always watching what is politically, instead they’re for Canadians that may not pay attention regularly to politics in this country.  It’s a time for Canadians to get their once or twice a year check in with our political leaders.  

In this year-end post, it want to convey a concern I have with the issues that are front and centre. The issues I think are top of mind of Canadians at the end of 2023 are Climate Action and the Carbon Tax; the Housing Crisis, and the Economy.  

My Concern?  My concern is that Canadians do not have the whole story on any of these topics, that includes me to point as well.  Communication from Ministers is very vague on policy and rely on high level talking points that don’t provide, in many cases, the certainty that Canadians want to hear from their leaders.  Does the information we are given persuade us that good decisions about what is happening with our country are being made?  

An example? Let’s look at Climate Action and the Carbon Tax.  Can Canadians say with definite  confidence the carbon tax is working?  When has the government last provided data that say we’re reducing our carbon output and that the increase in the tax will decrease even further our carbon footprint, and that Canada is closing in on its targets.  Has Minister Guilbault ever hosted a press conference and in plain speak provided the data to show Canada is reducing its carbon output?  Just how is the Carbon Tax driving Canada’s carbon output down? And is it?

Next, when I consider the government action on housing, the high level is the only level you hear from Minister Fraser and Prime Minister.  The issue I have is the gap between the announcement of the money and when people will move into the homes.  If you want that information, it’s the housing experts and NOT the government  that share the bad news of the years between the cashing of the cheque and move in day.  How does this gap in time do anything to address the housing crisis.  I’d also like to have the government explain how these announcements cut the cost of a house below the average $1000/sq ft.  Affordability is about reducing the cost of a house, not throwing money around and I see nothing being done to address this and explain how the high cost of building a home is addressed.

Does the average Canadian understand the debit to GDP ratio?  Does the Canadian household operate like that?  No.   But this is the government answer to say the economy is not as bad as we all think. I think the government uses this phrasing so much that we all will start buying the rationale and buy into the idea the economy is not as bad as we all know it is.  The problem is the Minister is not watching a bank balance at the end of a pay period to see if there’s money left for the milk, bread and eggs that are needed.  Until the government gets this, all the new phrasing and catch words will convince Canadians government action is doing something.  The government needs to understand the economic POV from the kitchen table, not the cabinet table.

Unless clarity is demanded, there will be no detailed accountability by the government AND our opposition leaders.  Our Leaders must start sharing more than the talking points when speaking about the major issues Canadians are tuning into.