Reading between the lines of the cabinet mandate letters
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent each of the 30 members of his cabinet a letter, with messages of congratulations, encouragement and exhortation. The letters also contained the ministers’ individual marching orders — the prime minister’s expectations of where they will focus and what they will accomplish, at least in the opening years of their mandate.
In this, Trudeau was following the practice of his predecessors dating back to his father’s days in the PMO. Justin Trudeau has departed significantly (and no doubt irreversibly) from past practice by making these letters — once the closely-guarded preserve of a handful of politicians and senior officials — entirely public. In so doing he both underscored and raised the stakes in his commitment to more open and accountable government.
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