Critical produced a stable incremental government that was efficient

Critical response paper: How Governments get
stuff done











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Molly Podrebarac

Dr. Jorg Broschek

PO264-A: The Practice of
Politics in Canada

January 22, 2018

            The paper written by Rachel Curran outlines
seven key guidelines that are necessary for governments to follow in order to
make the best political decisions and policies. The author uses examples
through contrasting Steven Harper’s incremental government who successfully implemented
the guidelines with the direction of Curran, in comparison to the abrupt
Trudeau government who developed “deliverology” methods, however has struggled to
produce real change (Curran 1). The guidelines consist of the following; governments
needing to be realistically ambitious of the policies they state they will
achieve, prioritizing matters given by the bureaucracy, being firm about
cabinet timelines, creating a clear and efficient decision making process,
ensuring the government is instilled with working parts, having compensation
abilities for unexpected events, and being able to deliver on policies promised
(Curran 2-6).  Curran states that through
the use of these seven guidelines, governments are better able to produce a
system that is the most efficient and develop the best policies within the
governing term (Curran 1). Curran was a lawyer of 15 years within the field of public
policy and affairs. Curran worked with Steven Harper during his terms as Prime
minister, and used her past knowledge on policy making to guide Harper
throughout a smooth and effective term. Harper under the direction of Curran
followed the seven guidelines produced a stable incremental government that was
efficient in getting work complete. Curran wrote this article articulating the
guidelines and rules that must be adopted by all forms of government in order
to avoid conflict and become the most efficient.

            The seven
guidelines that Curran presents all follow a centralized theme that political
leadership is essential, must be properly managed, and that it is always
contextualized (Curran 1).  Within
lecture we talked firstly about the importance of political leaders having to
be charismatic, have good inter-personal skills, propagate personal visions as
solutions, and repress problems. There are many other characteristics of strong
political leadership, however these characteristics must always be
contextualized. This meaning that leadership must always be connected to the
citizens and it is essential for the continuation of relationships and development
of new ones to occur. This article connects the need for strong leadership to
many of the theoretical approaches that governments encounter. Firstly, the institutional
approach can relate to the first guideline that governments cannot be
unrealistically ambitious (Curran 1). This guideline addresses the idea that it
can take efforts of many complex initiatives to all work together on all levels
of government, to create policy that is being passed without conflict (Curran
1). This relates to the institutional approach that is centered on
constitutional laws and regulations that can either constrain authority:
through the challenge of getting approval and cooperation from many different
fields of government to pass policies. Or it can administrate authority, which
can also be shown through the governments powerful regulation and control over
policy rules and regulations when they successfully passed. As well, the
rational choice approach ties into the second guideline, which is prioritizing
jobs given by the bureaucracies “must do tasks”. This guideline is essential in
order to pick the most important aspects of the political list so that the
civil service lines to accurately line up with political cycles (Curran 3). This
relates to the rational choice theory, which provides a formulized model of how
people behave, and how they achieve goals. This relates to this idea of the
prime minister and cabinet needing to prioritize and understand the list given
by the bureaucracy, and what is essential to reform in the current term of
political needs. The historical institutionalism approach can relate to the
guideline that addressees being firm on Cabinet timelines, it is clear that
throughout political history the prime ministers Cabinet and privy counsel have
had increased influence in policy making and agenda setting compared to the
cabinet ministers. This “center government” is a historical trend that has yet
to change, but rather grow and create conflict on effective decision-making and
financial disputes, often leading to delays in political matters (Curran 4). Finally,
the two matters of having a government attached to working parts and being able
to maintain government through unexpected events both relate to the political
economic approach. These guidelines stress the need for a strong economy that
can rely on resources and institutions to create policies in all forms of
government (Curran 5-6). Curran states this is necessary to deal with unexpected
political deficits that can occur such as the 2008 global financial crisis,
where Harper successfully used this method to deal this epidemic (Curran 5-6). Therefore,
throughout this article, the seven guidelines are clearly connected to the
society centered political methods focused on matters of political economy, as
well as state centered politics through institutional and historical
institutional approaches.


















Curran, Rachel. “How
governments get stuff done.” Policy Options. Dec, 25th 2017,