Time to Change The Prime Minister’s Office

Jul 10, 2024 | Freedom Forum

I am a longtime proponent for reform in Canada that makes the officeholder of Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office more accountable. The system is in bad need of repair. Consider Marc Garneau’s new memoir to be released in the fall.

Marc Garneau is but the latest JT Government Alumnus who now spits on the ground about his treatment by the Sunny Ways PM and the PM’s sycophants in The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Mr. Garneau’s upcoming book shares what many observers of the dysfunctional JT leadership already suspected – that the PMO is running the show and the individual MPs, whether in the Cabinet or not, are immaterial when it comes to developing public policy and government decisions.

In my view it would have been a greater service to the country had Mr. Garneau spoken up when he was working with the government than criticizing the government after he left. (By the way, I say the same for Mr. Bill Morneau.) His barking at the PM is meaningless now. He now has no portfolio pulpit from which to exhort for change. He can only rustle the leaves of the bureaucratic tree upon his departure. Hardly any lasting effect.

Certainly, in the “expert” opinion of the PMO Mr. Garneau, as a cabinet member, was not worthy of an audience with JT to discuss the issues of international policy. ““The prime minister’s aloofness led me to conclude,” said Garneau, “that he did not consider my advice useful enough to want to hear from me directly, relying instead on his staff.”

However, it was while he was in office as Minister of Foreign Affairs that he could have used what leverage he had to stand up and hold the PMO and the PM accountable. Yes, it would mean, no doubt, that he would have been “Jody Wilson-Rayboulded” but it would have had a much greater impact in correcting the bureaucratic dysfunction than writing paragraphs in his memoir that few citizens will ultimately read.

It is not easy for any MP to stand up to an entrenched Prime Minister who is surrounded by his enablers in the Prime Minister’s Office. I recognize it is easy for me, as an armchair pundit, to say what should be done. I have no idea what I would have done if I were in Garneau’s position. What I hope I would have done was to make a redline for the good of my country, rather than my personal interest, and stood for principle as Jody did. I could care less about a pension or anything else if I thought our international standing waned because the “aloofness” of a PM who is more concerned about acting and using platitudes than in the best interests of the country he is suppose to represent.

What a breath of fresh air it would be to see those remaining Cabinet members take a stand for the good of the country and not for their pensions. However, in this late stage perhaps all there is left around Ottawa’s Cabinet table are those who willingly succumb to the self proclaimed omniscient PMO. All the while convinced that “sunny ways” are yet ahead amidst the declining support in public opinion. The Wizard of Oz’s illusions are eventually found out.

The time to make a difference is when in power not when you write your memoirs. Rest assured when you do leave office and you knowingly failed to make a difference for truth, honesty, and justice for the good of the country then history will view your memoirs as anything but courageous.

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