Canada can’t get things done

Tristin Hopper had a great piece in this past weekend’s National Post about our federal government’s inability to get big (and small) things done.

He provided some examples:

  • Military procurement;
  • Pandemic response;
  • Pipelines;
  • Transit;
  • Clean water on reserves;
  • Diplomacy;
  • Dams; and
  • 24 Sussex Drive renovations.

You should read the whole piece but the common theme between them all is that we’re either paying much too much for much too little or just not getting the thing done at all.

We have a problem of diminishing state capacity. And what’s worse is that it’s not being recognized as such.

If we pay much too much for much too little transit, for example, all focus appears to be on the latter, and we get journalistic think pieces and political speeches on the need for the new revenue streams or inter-governmental transfers. Diminishing state capacity is being misdiagnosed as something like austerity, despite record-breaking budgets.

That’s a mistake, and this problem can not be solved until it is understood.