Thursday, May 19, 2011

Governance conundrums & other notes

1. I would smile if I were this guy too. Very smart social networking site that gets the short shrift in comparison to the Twitters, the Facebooks.

2. An interesting international governance conundrum demonstrating how important succession rules are. Now that DSK has resigned as IMF Managing Director, all eyes turn to the process. Paul Martin has come out strongly for a merit based succession, as rational governing types of long ago Canadian eras would be expected to advocate, rather than sustaining the tradition of Europe leading the IMF. There's talk of that evolution, with other emerging nations floating names (Turkey, Singapore, Israel) but it seems that the French finance minister, Christine Lagarde is the front runner and yes, European successor. Despite the touting of Carney by Canadians, there seems to be little mention of him as an option in the world press. A prediction on how succession will work? "...the leadership of the IMF and the World Bank will be decided through “political agreement, behind the scenes.

3. Associated Press covers the John Baird promotion, here's some of what the U.S. would have seen:
Canada’s new top diplomat has a reputation for being hyper-partisan. He often escorts Harper’s wife, Laureen, to official events when Harper can’t make it.
Baird, 41, oversaw how Canada spent its stimulus money during the global economic downturn. He has also served as a minister in Ontario provincial politics. He has little international experience.
4. There was an indication from Flaherty yesterday that the political subsidies may be in the budget about to be brought back before parliament:
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Wednesday he will reintroduce the 2011 budget in June, and that it will "fundamentally" resemble the document unveiled before a national election was sparked. Flaherty added that the budget will include some promises made during the election campaign, but didn't elaborate. Among the possible measures is a multi-billion-dollar compensation deal for the French-speaking province of Quebec related to a harmonized sales tax, and a promise to scrap a taxpayer-financed subsidy for political parties.
Recall that Harper rather explicitly promised a phasing in period of three years during the campaign, with consultation:
The Conservative leader said on Friday he would not cut the subsidy without discussing a transition plan with the other political parties to phase out the program.

"For the transition on the subsidy, we have in mind a transition of three years," Harper said.

"We will talk about what idea they may have in that regard. This is where we want to go and where we think voters want us to go."
A promise designed to make him look reasonable about it during the campaign. If they are intent on bringing in the subsidy changes in the budget, a document they don't appear to be consulting on, then either the three year transition period as promised will be in the budget or we'll see something else that is...less.

5. The latest on Liberal party issues from Canadian Press: "Liberals eye fall of 2012 for choosing successor to Ignatieff." Fall 2012 seems better than summer 2012. Summer next year means campaigns will start gearing up shortly. If the party is supposed to be all about rebuilding now it makes sense to put off leadership for a period which allows that to happen. For those processes to be given priority (note the NB Liberals process for e.g.). Some might even say summer 2013 is better, I've heard that. But clearly there are those advocating even for the fall of this year. Which is why it would be good if everyone could vote on the date, i.e., choose from multiple dates, at that fast approaching special convention to be held this June. Contact your riding association for details on the day and mechanics of delegate selection.