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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:38 am    Post subject: Morneau, Joly , Hehr named cabinets poorest performers Reply with quote

( the government that surrounds Trudeau isn't especially impressive and we have more evidence of that in this article but as to who he'd replace these ministers with , that isn't really known )

Morneau, Joly, Hehr top list of cabinet’s poorest performers this year: strategists

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has faced questions on ethics and potential conflicts of interest, while Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly is in her home province’s bad books.

Sources named Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, and Sports and Persons with Disabilities Minister Kent Hehr as some of the weakest links on the Liberal front bench this year. The Hill Times photographs by Andrew Meade


PUBLISHED :Monday, Dec. 18, 2017 12:00 AM

While some members of the Liberal government’s front bench soared this year, others sank, and strategists say Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly were among cabinet’s worst performers in 2017.

“Morneau is regarded as strong on policy and weak on politics. You can survive in many portfolios as a minister with that being true, it’s not true in Finance,” said Chad Rogers, a partner at Crestview Strategies and former Conservative staffer.

Mr. Morneau (Toronto Centre, Ont.) was in the opposition’s crosshairs all fall over a series of conflict-of-interest and ethics questions, from his failure to disclose his holdings in a numbered corporate which has a villa in France, to news that his assets in his former company, Morneau Shepell—which have since been divested amid a backlash—were not in a blind trust, but rather held through other corporations.

Most recently, the opposition parties have questioned the sale of $10-million in shares in Morneau Shepell days before federal tax rate changes were announced.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer (Regina-Qu’Appelle, Sask.) called for Mr. Morneau’s resignation on Nov. 29. The NDP meanwhile has been pushing for the government to scrap legislation on proposed pension changes, Bill C-27, from the Order Paper in light of questions over whether Mr. Morneau was in a conflict of interest in introducing it—since he still held shares in his former pension management company—something the federal conflict of interest and ethics commissioner is currently investigating.

In a poll conducted by Nanos Research for CTV in early November, 34 per cent of the 1,000 respondents surveyed said they felt Mr. Morneau had done a poor or very poor job, 32 per cent said he’d done an average job, 25 per cent said he had done a good or very good job, and nine per cent said they were unsure.

“He’s certainly injured, you can’t deny that,” said another former Conservative staffer of Mr. Morneau.

“He’s a drag on the PMO, he’s been knocking them off message for months. Nobody knows how much longer he’s going to be finance minister, which makes him kind of a lame duck,” said the source.

Warren Kinsella, president of Daisy Consulting and a former federal Liberal staffer and strategist, has been an outspoken critic of Ms. Joly (Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Que.), even suggesting she should resign in a recent column in The Hill Times.

“Netflix, the Holocaust Memorial, Canada 150, the hockey rink [on Parliament Hill], like, it’s just one thing after another,” said Mr. Kinsella of Ms. Joly. “She is a disaster.”

One Ottawa lobbyist told The Hill Times that Ms. Joly has “been the biggest disappointment this year.”

Expectations were raised during broad consultations on the government’s big cultural policy revamp, Creative Canada, said the lobbyist. But when unveiled in late September, it ended up being a “jumbled package that didn’t really announce anything, that just made Quebec and every cultural stakeholder angry,” said the lobbyist—the English stakeholders because they had expected more, and Quebec stakeholders in large part over the $500-million agreement with Netflix, which had little provision for French-content.

“She was told specifically two things, right: keep the institutional players happy, which she’s done quite well—so CMF, CBC, Arts Council—but she was also told, ‘Do not anger the Quebec culture community, keep the peace,’” said the lobbyist.

“Mélanie Joly has demonstrated time and again that she’s not done the homework, and Canada 150 has been a huge flop. Everyone looks at it and goes, ‘What a giant waste of money.’ None of it has been deemed meaningful,” said the lobbyist.

While Mr. Morneau and Ms. Joly may have faired the worst among the front bench in 2017, they’re not alone.

Loose lips sink ships, as they say, and Sports and Persons with Disabilities Minister Kent Hehr (Calgary Centre, Alta.) has been taking on water of late after a number of reported instances of the minister making inappropriate comments to constituents and stakeholders.

First it was reports of comments during an Oct. 19 meeting with thalidomide survivors, wherein he’s been quoted as saying, among other things, that they “probably have about 10 years left now. That’s good news for the Canadian government.” Mr. Hehr denied having made that particular remark, and later apologized in the House for others made at that meeting—such as, “everyone in Canada has a sob story”—some of which he said has been “misconstrued.”

Then came alleged comments made to Jennifer McCrea, who’s been involved in a suit over maternity leave benefits, and told media the minister was “very condescending” during an October 2016 interaction, including reportedly saying, in response to her asking why Ottawa was fighting the matter, “Well, Ms. McCrea, that is the old question, like asking … ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’” Mr. Hehr subsequently apologized in the House, saying that he regretted his comments, which he described as “brash and inappropriate.”

And then last week came reports of a meeting with Kim Davis in Nova Scotia during his time as veteran affairs minister. Ms. Davis’ husband is a veteran struggling to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, and, among other things, Mr. Hehr is reported to have told her, “You married him. He’s your responsibility.” Mr. Hehr has denied making these comments.

“Having three, separate egregious criticisms against you—I don’t see how that is recoverable, because that’s being personally offensive to your stakeholders,” said the former Conservative staffer.

Tim Powers, vice-chairman of Summa Strategies and another former Conservative strategist, noted that Mr. Hehr’s “supposed tone of lacking empathy,” based on reports of his comments, is one that runs “afoul” of the tone of empathy, understanding, and respect that the government has been trying to promote.

National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier (Gaspésie-Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Que.) has also found herself in the opposition’s firing line recently over the Canada Revenue Agency’s call for employers to track discounts given to staff so it can be added to their income, and disqualifying adult diabetics from a disability tax credit.

“Her department was just savaged by the auditor general, for both accuracy and for customer service. She’s definitely a weak link,” said the former Conservative staffer.

National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South, B.C.) hit a rough patch this past spring over his comments and description of himself as the “architect” of Operation Medusa, a crucial 2006 battle in Afghanistan, which led to opposition accusations of “stolen valour.” The minister subsequently apologized “unequivocally,” and has since kept a lower profile on the front bench.

Similarly, Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef (Peterborough-Kawartha, Ont.) had a rough start to the year in her old democratic institutions portfolio, with the collapse of the Liberal promise to replace Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system, but has since been flying low on the radar.

“You can start going around the table of major ministers who had big hopes and a lot of attention around them, and now we don’t hear from or see them,” said Mr. Rogers.

Government House Leader Bardish Chagger (Waterloo, Ont.), who is also the minister for small business and tourism, was another under-performing minister highlighted by some sources.

“Her big initiative was changing the rules in the House,” said Mr. Kinsella, referring to proposed changes to Parliament’s Standing Orders first raised in March, which he said, “practically” caused “a revolt in the House of Commons,” and ended with a “hasty retreat.”

The former Conservative staffer also named Ms. Chagger as a poor performer as House Leader, based on the government’s comparatively low tally of passed legislation and the “toxic” atmosphere in the House Chamber.

“Her job is to make Parliament work and to ensure that the government passes its agenda,” said the source.

But strategists say they don’t expect a shuffle anytime soon—at least not before the next federal budget, which is likely to be released in February or March. Mr. Morneau unveiled the last federal budget on March 22.

“I would be shocked if the government got rid of Morneau before the next budget, that would be a major admission of error on their part on a number of fronts,” said Mr. Powers, adding it’s likely not the kind of message the government would want to send shortly before a budget, and that it’s the minister’s “busiest time of the year.”

“I would suspect there would be more likely to be one [a shuffle] come the end of the [next] session,” he said.

Speculation has been swirling for a while as well over a possible prorogation, something governments historically have done around the mid-mandate mark, as it allows them to reset, and clear off, the Order Paper, and deliver a new Throne Speech on priorities. The Liberal government officially passed the halfway point on Nov. 5. As strategists have highlighted, prorogation also offers a natural opportunity to rejig the government’s front bench.

Previously, there was conjecture prorogation could take place this past fall, or early in the new year. But with little legislative progress this fall, and some big items still on the Order Paper—from the government’s marijuana legalization package, bills C-45 and C-46, to Bill C-66, on expunging “historically unjust convictions” of same-sex persons, all currently at second reading in the Senate—strategists now say, if at all, prorogation would likely happen at the end of the upcoming spring session.

As highlighted in a recent CBC News piece, by mid-mandate the previous Conservative government had seen 61 bills through to royal assent, while the Liberals have so far passed 34 government bills—four of which received royal assent just last week on Dec. 12.

Mr. Rogers said he sees two possibilities. First is the “Morneau-survives scenario,” if no more troubles comes to fore: that the government will think about prorogation after the next budget, “because they will need a Throne Speech” and “need to clean up the order paper,” with fall the “next natural point” for one to happen, he said.

“The Morneau-gets-worse scenario is you push up the timeline for a prorogation and a mini-shuffle,” said Mr. Rogers.

“If you’re the strategist inside the Prime Minister’s Office you have to decide: is it too disruptive to move someone?” Or, can the “second most important job in government” continue to be in the hands of “someone who can’t communicate well or do politics well?” he said.

Andrew Balfour, a senior consultant with Navigator in Ottawa and former Liberal strategist, also said if he was calling the shots, he’d “wait until the summer to prorogue and do a shuffle.”

“That would allow for a Throne Speech in the fall and a clean, fresh, election-ready cabinet. I don’t see how you can do a shuffle before the budget and if you do it early in the summer you allow for ministers to learn their new files and build new staffs,” said Mr. Balfour in an email response to The Hill Times.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They tried to get a list of the top performers in the cabinet, but the truth is -- there aren't any! So they had to go with the worst performers.

Heyr is accused of disrespect ... and perhaps he can be forgiven for not realizing that the Ministry of Athletes and Cripples was a real department of government, rather than an empty title. Melanie Joly is a more difficult case. What does she know about 'culture'? She's in the cabinet because her genitals were right.

Even their worst performers are petty and mediocre and of no consequence. These are make-work jobs, with pretend ministries.

The one real stink-o performance that counted was that of Bill Morneau.

First, he lied. OK, used a loophole and then pretended he didn't, or something like that.

And then he acted like he was affronted by the very question. And refused to say whether or not he had profited from his foreknowledge of his own policy.

Did he ever answer the question? It was such a poor performance that even the lap-dog Canadian media felt repelled.
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Morneau, Joly , Hehr named cabinets poorest performers

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