Monday, November 03, 2008

A strange message to send

I’m hesitant to make too big a deal about this story. Because, at the end of the day, I don’t really think the size of the cabinet is a major deal (who gets what is more important), and we Liberals have been known for making some pretty large cabinets in our day too – Paul Martin, come on down -- but I did want to draw attention to it because, as the article mentions, the increased costs…

The expanded federal cabinet presented by Prime Minister Stephen Harper could cost taxpayers an additional $3.9 million in salaries alone for the extra ministers and their staff.

The total cost of staffing ministerial offices _ roughly $24.2 million in salaries _ has increased 19 per cent with last week's shuffle, and has jumped 42 per cent since the Tories presented their first cabinet in 2006.
... do fly in the face of a government that is trying to project a message of belt tightening and fiscal prudence in an era of economic uncertainty. And usually, the Conservatives do a pretty good job of messaging with these little symbolic things. I guess they’ve decided this is one symbolic issue no one cares about.

Also from the same piece, I found this comment amusing:
At a time when governments need to clamp down on spending, Harper spokesman Kory Teneycke said the extra ministers will provide additional political oversight of departmental budgets.
More red tape, conservative true believers weep once more! Really, though, is Kory saying Conservative ministers aren’t up to the job of running reasonably-sized ministries, and that’s why they need to farm-out responsibilities to multiple ministers? You know, maybe he has a point.

But you know, there’s actually a pretty good system in place to provide additional political oversight of departmental budgets: they’re called parliamentary committees. Maybe not blowing them all up this time would be an idea.

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1 comment:

Barcs said...

As "big" as it is it is, 37 is still only 2/3 of the size of Martins cabinets (and same goes for Chretien's last couple years)

You should be happy that they are finally reducing the workload on ministers so that things can be done instead of putting them off because they are busy.