Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Glacial Pace of Change in Ottawa

For years I have been unhappy with how slow the federal government operates. It takes up to years to pass legislation that should be able to go through the parliament in weeks. The speed at which the civil service delivers most of the programs of the federal government is too slow to be able to meet the demands of the society.

Currently we have money rolling out for the federal stimulus program, but it is barely reaching projects and very few projects are underway. By the time the bulk of the activity of stimulus package is under way we will be into a growing economy. The need will no longer exist for the stimulus money. The federal government took too long to get the program underway and then has taken too long to approve and forward the money for the projects.

There is no earthly reason the federal government could not have had the stimulus program underway the day after the budget and then been cutting cheques my the end of March. The Canadian Federation of Municipalities had a long list of projects ready to be built that only needed funding.

I see this over and over again when it comes to the federal government. There is almost no program the federal government administers that does things in a timely manner. The federal government needs to develop a way to streamline how long it takes to pass legislation and then there needs to some way to make programs be delivered more effectively.

The end of the Senate would speed up the legislative process. The role for the senate has really disappeared as we have moved as a society to one that expects more direct input from the public. The Senate was created to be the exact opposite of public input, it was created to slow the actions of the will of the people. If the needs of the regions need to be represented, this can be done by the provinces and specifically when the first ministers gather.

How do we speed up the delivery of programs? I believe the best method would be to transfer as many programs to the provinces as possible. EI should be linked and delivered together with the provincial welfare programs. Canada Student Loans should all be done by the provinces. There is no need to a federal health department. The same is true of all the natural resource issues. Fisheries should be managed by the provinces, on the westcoast that is only BC, but in the east it would have to be cooperative structure, so there might be a role for some sort of DFO.

The more that is taken from the federal government and delivered by the provinces, the more efficient and effective program delivery would be.
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