Shortly before the House of Commons adjourned for the summer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided which of the government’s priorities would receive his special attention — four commitments on which he hopes to deliver results.
“We think they’re the four most important things in the country,” says a senior government official.
And now, every two weeks, as this government goes about trying to make something of itself, there will be “stocktakes.”
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From early on, Trudeau’s government, laden with myriad promises, has been taking guidance from the teachings of Michael Barber, a British political adviser whose theories of result-oriented management have come to be known as “deliverology.”
Barber, who has attended each of the cabinet’s three retreats and made at least one visit to Ottawa, preaches establishing “delivery units,” setting priorities, measuring outcomes and methodically reviewing progress — a process that, ideally, drives a government to fulfil its commitments and produces meaningful results for the public.
The prime minister’s priorities are styled as “growing the middle class,” “improved relationships with, and outcomes for, Indigenous peoples,” “stronger diversity” and “international engagement that makes a difference in the world” (the last of these seems to focus generally on international priorities).
“We think, in short, that’s our mandate, that’s what we got elected to do,” says the government official. “And it’s all interrelated.”
‘Stocktakes’ to fulfil a mandate
The plan is that every two weeks the prime minister, relevant ministers, their senior advisers and Matthew Mendelsohn, the former deputy minister in Ontario who has been charged with overseeing the government’s “results and delivery” efforts, will meet to discuss one of these priorities — how policy is being implemented and what results are being achieved.