07 March 2013

No planning and priorities: Conservative cabinet committees - 2013 #nlpoli

There’s one little gem in James McLeod’s pile of censored orders in council that isn’t censored.

It dates from January 2013 and gives the current list of cabinet committees.

There’s the economic policy committee:
economic policy
There’s the social policy committee:
There’s the treasury board:
And there’s the routine matters committee:
Charlene Johnson and Tom Hedderson also sit on that routine committee.

There’s a curious omission in this list and it doesn’t appear to be a case where the committee make-up didn’t change after the cabinet shuffle with Jerome Kennedy and Tom Marshall.

There’s no planning and priorities committee, apparently. That’s odd because P and P is usually the key cabinet committee chaired by the Premier and responsible for the strategic direction of government. Kathy used to have one in her cabinet.  Every cabinet in Canada uses a planning and priorities committee.  Most have had one for the past three decades or more.

At some point, the Newfoundland and Labrador one seems to have vanished without an effective replacement.

That would explain a great deal.

It would explain, for example, why the Premier often seems to be unaware of what is going on inside her government.  She wouldn’t know because she doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the running of cabinet.  And that, more than anything else, is what the Premier is supposed to be doing. 

Rather than being the boss, Kathy Dunderdale often appears to be nothing more than the government’s official spokesperson, the dead parrot as it were.

In the absence of a P and P committee,  cabinet would have to hope that the key committee chairs could sort out among themselves what to do.  They would be:
  • Joan Shea, chair of economic policy,
  • Susan Sullivan, chair of social policy, and,
  • Jerome Kennedy, president of treasury board.
Whatever the government is doing, these three would know about it and approve of it. 
In December 2010, cabinet had a P and P committee.  It’s members were:

p and p 2010