George Petrolekas's picture
How will 'events' shape this government?
Posted on Nov 16, 2015

One month in, we're getting an idea of the new government's decision making.

When asked what is most likely to blow governments off course, Former UK PM, Harold Macmillan, is reputed to have answered "Events my boy, events."

Already, with ISIS attacks in the Sinai, Beirut and now France, events are starting to shape the new Canadian government. The new PM has been adamant that Canada would withdraw its fighters from the anti-ISIS campaign. Canada also committed to taking 25,000 Syrian refugees and, despite the fact that there has not been enough time to properly organize, it is still full speed ahead. The concerns voiced by many resettlement groups that extending the deadline to February or March might help Canada better succeed has been ignored, and the government has been persistent and insistent that it will not reconsider either. But beyond events, there is another indication of how decisions are shaping up – and that being the refusal to allow a runway extension at Billy Bishop airport.

In each case, Liberal campaign promises are being tested. With respect to Billy Bishop airport, the refusal caters to a small group of vocal opponents, and does not strongly enough consider of the economic benefit to Toronto – let alone a key order for 30 airplanes to Bombardier, the troubled manufacturer of the C-Series low-noise, low-emissions jets. This decision affects jobs.

Promises politicians make should be kept, after all, we tend to disdain what we would call flip flops in politics. But more importantly, we expect politicians to adjust promises on the basis of new information, or events which should force a recalculation. That does not seem to be happening.

So far, the new government seems inclined to to stick to its promises, no matter the impact of events or new information. That does not sound like evidence-based decision making.