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Trudeau's Liberals check their to-do list: 67 promises down, more than 200 still to go

Trudeau's Liberals check their to-do list: 67 promises down, more than 200 still to go
From CBC - November 14, 2017

Justin Trudeau's Liberals, elevated to power on promises to do all sorts of things and awash in enthusiasm for data and evidence,are proposing now to account for what they have been doing with their time in office: to quantify both their own ability to keep a promise and track whether keeping those promises is contributing to measurable improvements in the welfare of the country.

Now it is down to how well they keep score on themselves.

First, this morning, the Liberals are launching amandate tracker: an online accounting of the government's progress, or lack thereof, on each and every commitment specified in the mandate letters issued by the prime minister to each cabinet minister.

By the government's own countCBC News was given an early look at the websitethere were a total of 364 commitments specified in those letters.

At the midway point of its term, the government believes it has fulfilled 66of those promises. (Another commitment to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees is considered "completed" but "modified" because that mark was not reached until February 2016, instead of the promised deadline of Dec.31, 2015.)

Three commitments are listed as "not being pursued." These include, most infamously, the promise of electoral reform, but also promises to remove the GST from new capital investments in affordable rental housing andprovide a 12-month break on employment insurance premiums for companies that hire young workers,.

The majority of commitments are listed as "underway." Of those, 218 are listed as "on track," while 13are described as "underway with challenges." The promise to balance the federal budget by 2019 is considered an example of the latter the challenge apparently being that it's almost definitely not going to happen.

The website will be updated regularly over the next two years.

Measuring themandate

The Trudeau government's own tally can be compared with acount maintained by researchers at Laval University. Based on 353 promises identified in the last Liberal election platform, those researchersgives the Liberals credit for keeping 110 commitments so far and breaking 12.

But beneath thosenumbers, there will be room for debate. The site provides some explanationfor each commitment, and how well the government has accounted for itself should be closely parsed.

When Jean Chretien's Liberals issued a 36-month progress report in 1996, they claimed to have fulfilled 78 per cent of their promises. But they also credited themselves with beginning to both replace the GSTand wind down what was then known as the department of Indian Affairs both the department and the tax, you might notice, are still with us.

Any governmentshould be happy to list off its good deeds. And, depending on how many more items the government is able to complete between now and 2019, much might depend on how much progress the Liberals are able to demonstrate on those commitments not quite fulfilled.

But the mandate tracker is also just the first part of an effort to quantify the government's efforts.

'Deliverology' goes public

In a few weeks, a second report will attempt to linkthe government's priorities and actions with metrics that track real-world progress and change.

Since coming to office in the fall of 2015, the Liberals have dwelled on a school of thought known as "deliverology" an approach, developed by an advisor toTony Blair's Labour government in the United Kingdom, that aims to prioritize the delivery of policyand the measuring of results.

Doing the math on more data

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