Craig Brockwell | June 2019
At Solstice Public Affairs, we would rather lay out how your organization can use the budget as a signal that paves a path for the next year for your government relations plan than analyzing line by line each budget element. We did this with the recently released federal budget. In this way, we hope to help guide you in a clearer path forward.
A budget generally signals the end of a cycle of lobbying activities or as a first approach for a newly elected government. In the case of the Ford governments Budget 2019, it represents the latter.
I’m sure many realize that budgets are not only fiscal roadmaps but political roadmaps. As such they are events that signal to individuals and organizations that the government is ’open for business’.
A government’s first budget would normally reflect many of the policy initiatives laid out in a Party’s platform during an election. However, the Ford Conservatives laid out very few planks during their election campaign in 2018. Consequently, this budget was open to influence in many ways: as the result of previous Conservative positions while in opposition, new lobbying activities, and as reactions to various economic and political happenings in their first months of governing.
From my initial read of the Budget some time back, it seemed to me to be a mixed bag; in some cases, we see initiatives that very definitely are taken from their opposition playbook. Some initiatives have been 180 degree changes from formally stated PC positions. We also see some surprising items that few could have predicted or are positions their critics could never have imagined.
Consequently, this budget reinforces the Solstice opinion, that the unpredictable nature of the Ford government which we have seen in their initial governing year, is clearly validated through this budget.
So where do you or your organization go from here given the particular nature of the budget?
In one of our newsletters subsequent articles, Small Signal, Big Change? by our new Associate, Greg Seniuk, you can take a closer look at line items to find the triggers for some action on your part.
In his article, Greg observes an opportunity within the budget and analyzes it so as to make it clearer as to the possibilities that an organization can take in staking a path forward. Greg’s experience while in government provides a more refined sensibility as to these possibilities.
One thing is very clear: you cannot look at the Ford government through the same lens as you have with previous governments. By all indicators this government is quite different in how they develop policy, how they move forward from previous policy and how they react to public reactions to government initiatives.
When moving forward in one’s lobbying activities, it is important to note that in the subsequent months since the Provincial budget was presented, the government’s polling numbers have gone south and have consequently become problematic for them. This reality adds an additional filter for you to consider when developing your path forward.
Outside of these polling numbers we would always advise that you need to develop solutions for a government that resonates with their ideals and principles. We would also advise that you find solutions that help in a government’s political narrative.
With these filters in mind, we suggest that the Ford government needs to find solutions that they can implement to change the recent polling numbers.
The path is clear, develop a list of your needs and then translate these into solutions that fit the Ford government narrative and at the same time bolster their polling numbers.
And then seek a government relations firm that can move your issues forward in the coming year.
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