“I’m looking for the government to do less virtue signalling and more listening to people,” said Manley, who is now special business adviser at Bennett Jones LLP, a law firm based in Toronto. “They were taken to the woodshed. I hope they know that.”
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Manley said junior ministers aren't necessarily a bother, and he included Maurizio Bevilacqua, the one-time minister of state for finance, in just about everything because he liked having “another pair of political eyes.”
However, under Jean Chrétien, everyone knew what his or her job was. At Industry, Manley had little involvement with the day-to-day oversight of the regional development agencies, but they required his signature to spend money. Ministers were given a lot of responsibility and it was their fault if they screwed up. Harsh, but it left room for the prime minister to get involved before it was too late.
There might be a lesson for the current prime minister in that. “When the PM owns everything, it’s all on him,” Manley said.