Canada's military veterans are suffering another condition of late: envy. They watch National Defence Ombudsman Gary Walbourne, relentlessly petition government to improve the lives of soldiers. Veterans long for their Ombudsman, Guy Parent, to have the same backbone.
Police accountability has never been a strength on the federal, provincial and local levels. We are still lacking independent civil and independent bodies that would investigate the actions of law enforcement when such tragic incidents happen.
Leaving it up to the minister in charge to decide what is acceptable and what is not, or what is lawful and what is not, is far from a democratic and accountable model. We need review mechanisms with the necessary autonomy, independence and structure to create true accountability.
Part of this strategy includes something that makes us all uncomfortable and would make any politician unpopular very quickly if they ever suggested it: patient, government and physician accountability. We all take responsibility for making our health care system sustainable. Seems simple in principle, but what would that really look like?
Black lives do matter, but not everything is black and white, and at the end of the day, after the dust settles and the smoke clears, after the bullets stop flying through the air and after the protest signs have been lowered, remembering that old adage might be what matters most of all.
With additional extraordinary powers granted to CSIS since the passing of Bill C51, one only can wonder whether these visits are becoming the norm rather than the exceptions. The disruption powers included in Bill C-51 allow CSIS to seize documents or computers, enter people's properties, spy on them without a judicial warrant.
It all comes down to accountability. It isn't about luck. It is about effort, attitude and willingness. Stop giving yourself excuses why you are where you are, why you don't have what you think you should have, or why you don't have what others have.
This may come as a shock to some readers: Teachers are human beings -- nearly all of them. This means that, like the rest of us, they make mistakes, behave badly, and sometimes just lose it. It also means that, like the rest of us, most teachers are basically good and honest people who work hard to do a very difficult job. But some are not. And the ones who are not should not be teaching.
The extent to which the Liberal government takes seriously its response to these petitions will demonstrate how much it embraces openness and accountability, whether or not it chooses to support or oppose these requests. In two years, the Trudeau government is scheduled to review how the new system is working and how it might be improved. In my view, the prime minister should put in the measures found in my original motion where e-petitions gaining a high level of public support, say 100,000 signatures, could trigger debates in the House of Commons.
Forcillo and Yatim didn't live in a vacuum. Ontario has hundreds of thousands of public sector employees, and millions of citizens. The point that is conveniently missed is the lack of accountability in Ontario is not something unique to the relationship between police and citizen. It's not as if the police has a unique culture, interfacing with a society that the rest of the public sector doesn't engage. Accountability is a two-way process. We have a cultural accountability problem.
The true test of the Trudeau team's openness will come when actual decisions are being made, when real people start to object, when the human beings running the place start making mistakes. The national press gallery may be charmed for now, grateful that the Harper years of cold war are over. It will not last. Parliament Hill reporters are top professionals who will be ready to pounce when things inevitably go off the rails. When that happens, will the smiling ministers of day one remain available to be interrogated, challenged, or even hectored?
Ontario physicians are well-paid. No one is arguing that. But right now, their paycheques are the only ones in the Liberal crosshairs. Let's look at other well-paid public sector employees. Google the Sunshine List; it's all laid out by name, occupation, and taxable income.
Sadly, too many public officials are all too eager to scam taxpayers and charge fraudulent expenses. That is especially true if they feel they are accountable to no one. Accountability begins with transparency. After all, you can't judge a person's actions if you don't know what they've done. Just as companies are accountable to their owners and shareholders, so elected officials are accountable to their citizens and taxpayers.
2015 is shaping up to be a year where boards, once again, will be under intense pressure and scrutiny to get it right. Here is a list of trends and key issues, along with what boards are or should be doing in response.
When dealing with myself, if I am 'off again' with accountability, I calculate what I would have to pay someone an hour to do the work I am avoiding or not holding myself accountable for doing. Then I ask myself if I would pay someone that amount of money to surf Facebook, chat on the phone with their best friend, spend an extra 5 minutes grabbing a coffee on their way into work
I teach my students and counsel board clients that shareholders elect directors; directors appoint managers; directors are accountable to shareholders; and managers are accountable to directors. This is largely theoretical.
While troop-contributing countries have been fed a steady diet of the excesses committed by the Taliban, many thousands of Afghan civilians have had to endure untold suffering through error, ignorance, negligence and over-reach of the international military forces sent in to create security and stability in the country.
Nobody takes on a hospital or embarks on a campaign for safer care without good reason. There are a whole range of institutions and resources that are stacked against you, from big law firms to hospital patient relations departments which are there mainly to do management's bidding. Don't even think about trying to get anywhere with a hospital's board of directors. There seems to be some unwritten rule in Canada that no matter how urgent or justified the matter, a hospital board will never respond to the pleas of a family seeking answers.
It is a good time to be a political junkie. I'm a dual (US/Canadian) citizen and the next three years will feature almost constant elections. The year 2014 will bring local elections here in Oshawa, Ontario as well as Congressional elections in the US. It is not likely that much will change in terms of personnel, incumbents tend to win and that rule is pretty universal. Elections though do provide an opportunity to raise issues and there is a long list of issues that require attention. Here are the most important issues I'd like to see addressed.
What would Abraham Lincoln or Vaclav Havel think of Rob Ford, or the growing list of other politicians fallen into an unethical swamp? Two leaders who fought against the tyranny of slavery or of communism would surely shake their heads at our sliding scale of accountability.