May 29, 2018

Waves of Change: The Post June 7 Reality

Authored by:

Joanne Dobson

Joanne Dobson

There is no such thing as tools down for stakeholders during an election campaign.

While we are all watching the election in Ontario with bated breath, we shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of preparing for a post-June 7 environment under a new government.

Regardless of the outcome, whether it be the Progressive Conservatives, the NDP or the Liberals at the helm, the government will be new and different. Each party leader has made a significant number of commitments, both in their platforms and on the campaign trail, and interested parties will attempt to hold them to account.

Once the dust has settled after election day, there is a finite amount of time to introduce, remove or change a policy in advance of a Speech from the Throne. Currently, the Cabinet Office - otherwise known as the Premier’s Ministry - is working on policy briefing books and mapping out all post election scenarios so they are as prepared as possible to brief the incoming Premier, the transition team and the new Cabinet once appointed.

The transition team will be responsible for putting in place the team that will execute the government’s agenda. This means choosing cabinet, identifying senior ministerial staff and helping the Premier’s close advisors draft the speech from the throne and mandate letters for Ministers.

Typically, transition teams are made up of experienced individuals who know what’s needed to get the ball rolling in early days of a new government. As it has been some time since the NDP or PCs have taken part in this exercise, they will need a strong start out of the gate to prove they’re not too green.

After past campaigns, the period between Election Day and the unveiling of the Speech from the Throne have been anywhere from 30 to 50 days. With so much to be done, this leaves a small window for stakeholders to get their key messages across before the legislative and policy agenda is set. Stakeholders should be preparing their position papers and briefing notes through a lens of alignment with each of the parties that could form government. The absolute best case scenario is that the position you’ve been advocating for, is turned into government policy.

And with a race as close as this, it is important to keep in mind how minority governments could change the landscape of decision-making even further. Having a policy position that is clearly understood and easily endorsed by both sides of the Legislature is crucial to getting business done in a minority government scenario … though expect a slower pace for decision-making than you would have in a majority government.

Breaking through the post-election noise by bringing factual and timely information to the table is the only thing that will ensure you are not out of step with Ford, Wynne or Horwath before they lay out their priorities for the next FOUR years.

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