Syncopation: Revisited

This is a common theme of my blog so regulars beware:  Well worn ground ahead.

I am talking, of course, about the fact that government officials in New Brunswick (elected and staff) are pathologically incapable of expressing consternation or disappointment with the results of their efforts.  It’s almost like a lock down on expression.

The sequence is exactly the same.  In opposition, the MLAs will complain ad nauseum about issues – job creation, health care wait times, education test scores, quality of highways, red tape, – you know the drill. Then they get in power and for the first few months they continue to say they are concerned about these issues. 

Somewhere between 6-12 months they start to realize that they now own these issues (can’t blame the previous guy) and will defend to the death the same results that 1-2 years ago they were attacking as unacceptable.

I don’t understand it.  Maybe it is part of the culture of politics.  Maybe it is just highly professional and institutionalized spin control.  Maybe it is part of the narcissism of politics – never admitting mistakes until there is nowhere left to hide  – and even then blaming someone else.

Why couldn’t a government minister say the words “we are not happy with the results of program x and we will be moving in a new direction”?  Why can’t they ever say “we were wrong”?  

I have heard that the most successful governments are those that put their reforms in place within the first 12-18 months.  This makes sense to me because after that – there is almost no self-criticism.  It’s auto-pilot until the next group wins the election and the cycle starts over again.

There are a lot of voice calling for changes in the area of economic development.  It would be wise to listen to these voice.  Not to across the board agree with everything but to give a hearing and then build a consensus for change.

Admitting mistakes, failure or just a lack of satisfaction is a sign of strength not of weakness.

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2 Responses to Syncopation: Revisited

  1. Anonymous says:

    “I have heard that the most successful governments are those that put their reforms in place within the first 12-18 months.”
    > This statement pretty much sums up what I have been saying for years. When a government spends its first year or two with reports, studies, and task forces, it just means that they didn’t have a clue of what they were going to do. Incidentally, New Brunswick is the ONLY place where I have seen this kind of thing happening.

  2. mikel says:

    More well worn analysis ahead: virtually NO government entity adapts itself from ‘inside’-that also goes for the next thread on BNB. This is the fault of the media as well as citizens. You can get a protest at the legislature for abortion, french immersion, or for Gaza, but nobody ever cares enough to attack a government body. That’s beginning to change, Charles Leblanc’s readership went up by 200 people per day when he started covering the public inquiry in Bathurst, and now a real organization has grown out of that.

    It’s difficult though, NB is mired in forty years of Irving propaganda. So while there was real interest in Bathurst, when you look at comments even at CBC it was pretty much ‘hey, get over it’. No interest in public policy at all.

    When a group really starts badgering them, perhaps even just at their weblog (although thats sure to do a TJ if it gets TOO critical there), then governments respond. Until then, the simply question is….why WOULD they operate any other way if they don’t have to?

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