Saturday, January 6, 2007

Don't Worry Shawn, it's the SuperCrats to the Rescue

Remember that wacky idea Shawn Graham announced back in August to hire a team of people who would be brought in to tell the civil service what to do…affectionately referred to as The SuperCrats? Well as quickly as Shawn backed away from that idea in public, he has been quietly putting it in place. The latest signal comes from an interview given by Supercrat #1, Chris Baker, the Deputy Minister of Policy and Priorities.

Baker told the Telegraph Journal that the role of the Executive Council Office (ECO) is changing from an office that co-ordinates proposals from various departments to one that actually develops the policies and assigns the work to the various departments. In other words, policy development in the New Brunswick is being centralized within a small group of people.

Political scientist Donald Savoie has written a well-respected book that argued against these types of policy development models that concentrate power. He has stated that in these models “the risk is that ministers are relegated to being cheerleaders for the government.”

So if Donald Savoie thinks that cabinet ministers will no longer have input or be able to lead their departments and the Premier’s Office is supposed to let the ECO operate independently, who gets to create policies? Cue Chris Baker and his team of SuperCrats!