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Liberals launch tracking website to help Canadians hold them accountable

Liberals launch tracking website to help Canadians hold them accountable
From Global News - November 14, 2017

OTTAWAPeople looking to know how the Liberals have fared on fulfilling their promisesas well as how far they have to gocan now visit a website the federal government has set up to track the tasks Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assigned to his cabinet ministers.

Canadians should have the best tools possible to hold us accountable, Trudeau said in a statement Tuesday accompanying the release of the website.

We want Canadians to know exactly what were doing and help drive progress on issues that matter most to them.

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Soon after his Liberals won their majority government in 2015, Trudeau decided, in an unprecedented move for a federal government, to publish the traditionally secret mandate letters written to cabinet ministers.

Now, the Privy Council Office has launched a website tracking the 364 commitments found in those mandate letters, allowing people to check whether a specific pledge has been met, is on track, is going through challenges or, as in the case of electoral reform, has been abandoned.

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The mandate letter tracker, which will be updated about every two weeks, also revealed that a promise to give companies that hire younger workers for permanent jobs a one-year break on employment insurance premiums is no longer being pursued.

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Based on research conducted by the Department of Finance, it was determined that this was not the most effective or efficient way of spending public resources to create jobs for young people, the website explained.

Neither is a commitment to remove the GST on new capital investments in all affordable rental housing.

The government concluded, based on research and evidence, that there were more effective ways of encouraging the construction of affordable rental housing, the website said.

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The Privy Council Office, which is the bureaucracy that supports the prime minister, designed the tracker and asked each department to evaluate its progress, with an official acknowledging there was some back-and-forth on how to classify things.

It was a consensus among several players, said the government official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity.

So, the official acknowledged, the process was not devoid of politics, especially since the priorities in the mandate letters were set by Trudeau and, ultimately, ministers are responsible for meeting the commitments.

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