The Perils of Policy Pronouncements

When you woke up this morning, did you look at your closet, set aside a particular outfit while saying “and that is what I will wear on May 3rd, 2015”?  I hope not. Making a decision on future behaviour so far removed from the reality of the situation could make for a disastrous outcome.  You don’t know what the weather will be, where you’re going to be that day, what condition the clothes will be in.

And you certainly wouldn’t want to make that wardrobe prediction publicly, especially if you had vocal and unkind critics ready to point out each and every mistake you make. Wear the chosen outfit despite its unsuitability, and they’ll cry “Poor decision-making!” Change you clothes to fit the situation and your detractors will howl “LIAR!”

So, why would anyone running for the Liberal leadership create a detailed policy platform, a full 2 years before the next general election? No matter how well-educated and experienced your campaign policy staff are, there is a wealth of vital governmental information that they cannot have access to.

They also have no idea on who they’ll be working with.The adoption of any policy item depends on support from the majority of MPs, and until you know who you’re working with, it’s foolish to assume that they’ll agree to implement your ideas.

And the most important reason for not releasing a completed policy platform? You need to listen to the people you plan on representing as Prime Minister. Rolling out a fully formed policy platform now means, for the next 2 years, you’re telling Canadians that you have all the answers, and their input isn’t needed.

Don’t get me wrong: Giving the voters a clear idea of the direction your policies will follow is very important. But the voters need to be a part of the policy conversation, not simply the audience.

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