Remember Justin, pot is just small beer.

Ok, point made. Moving on, Canadians have far more important issues to consider than legalizing marijuana. Let us not keep gilding the cannabis. Sure the news media are always in a rut with their questions but there is certainly more exciting news. What about the way Prime Minister Harper is saying things in the high Arctic unchallenged by a responsible opposition. You cannot allow him free rein up there to destroy peoples’ lives and livelihoods.

But we are also concerned about the current process Canadian Liberals are using to develop their policy options. Where are the open discussions taking place? What are you doing to ensure that all Liberals get an opportunity for input? Who is posing the questions that need to be asked?

You have to remember that rebuilding a largely moribund political party requires the best thinking of academics, politicians, community leaders and the rank and file. The same as candidates having to come from the electoral districts so do the policy ideas—from everybody and not just selective elites.

One of the Liberal policy team members came to Babel recently and was fed a number of ideas. It was not a broadly based discussion but supposedly involved those capable of thinking. One of the suggestions proffered was to depoliticize our federal civil service.

While Canadians have always maintained a certain fiction in regards to how politicized the senior levels of bureaucrats might be, this suggestion was that we deny the politicos of the day the right to hire and fire those senior bureaucrats. The gentleman proposing this was suggesting the system used in the United Kingdom model as the ideal. (It was also the system that suggested the hilarious British television series Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister in the 1980s.)

There are some of us still around who remember when Canada had a Chinese wall between its senior civil servants and politicians. It ended with the Pierre Trudeau era in Ottawa in the 1970s. There is a reasonable balance between these positions.

The only good thing about that suggestion was that the person suggesting it thought it was particularly good because he did not think it would cost anything. And that Justin is why policy needs to be more thoroughly discussed before you wing it!

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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