Yesterday the Drummond report was released. The 543 page document including 362 recommendations from a four member panel commissioned to look at where Ontario’s Public Services are and where they and the province (and by definition that means us) is heading. To say they left no stone unturned is a bit of an understatement. I was up late just digesting the executive summary before moving on to some of the detailed sections.
Considering even many public officials did not have time to go through the entire report yet, I found it rather dissapointing the people from all sides of the political and public service spectrum were quick to dismiss sections of it. This report has some very good ideas but the first thing people should do is read it not as a support of the left or the right but as a citizen of Ontario. Although some of the issues will be controversial they must be looked out with out the partisitan lenses we have been seeing more and more in all levels of governments. This is a trend I am not happy with.
Several comments from the report must be agreed upon by all sides.
“Spending simply cannot return to recent trends”
“The only way to get out of deficits and stay out, in a period of limited economic growth, is to reform government programs and the manner in which they are delivered.
This should be viewed as an opportunity, not a problem. Ontario can and should have the best public services in the world; this is an opportunity to reach for that goal. To get there, we should study promising practices around the world by others who have faced similar issues.”
“The calling of public service must be restored to a position of honour and respect, so it can draw the province’s best and brightest. Their performance should be adequately compensated and rewarded — not for effort, but for results. There is huge value in a public service that can think deeply and wisely about public policy and deliver effective programs in an efficient manner.”
Mr Drummond also finishes up his forward with the following. “Although we have not made a formal recommendation on this point, I urge you to consider holding broader consultations on the economic and fiscal challenges facing this province. Ontarians have not yet grasped the extent to which the slow decline of this province’s manufacturing base has undermined both its historic economic advantage relative to the rest of Canada and the provincial government’s long-term ability to finance the public services they treasure. You should go beyond a legislative body to review our report and consult as well with the wider public through town hall gatherings and meetings of stakeholders. An informed public is essential to the success of the reforms.”
In the next blog post I’ll be going into some detail about some of the items in the report.