The Etobicoke Proposal
People live within the social structures that they are prepared for. Despots rule where people are unable or unwilling to strive for more representational forms of government. Here in Canada we have achieved the level of social state with capitalist values, should we now rest on our laurels, waiting for the US, Russia and third world countries to catch up, or should we forge ahead as our nature, nurture and abilities dictate? If we do naught then we must admit to being at our peak or in utter stagnation. The latter must be true because everything under the sun can be improved on, ad-infinitum. So, if improvement is our destiny then how can we improve on our present government? A good way to start might be to list what we don’t like about our current government then try to solve each item on our list either individually or in groups of items. One thing that a government must do, every government MUST do with continually greater efficiency, is represent it’s people! That’s what it’s all about, and if we continue to strive we must eventually have true democracy where every citizens thoughts carry equal weight and all aspects of government and society are ratified by the populace. This will remain true to the extent and duration to which we involve ourselves in the governing of out country. Thus, you get the government you deserve and I think we deserve better. What don’t we like about government? Politics and politicians. Most of our disapproval can be laid squarely on the backs of the people who ‘ work’ as politicians. Thos maneuvering peacocks and jackdaws who are better suited to their political popularity contests than the complex requirements of their office. I want my finance minister to have degrees in economics, to be a whiz at math and be able to think outside the box, but first he has to look good. This same potential finance minister will also need a stage presence, good diction, a clean bright smile, a firm handshake, the right connections and a long affiliation with a political party. If this same guy keeps his head down and toes the party line for a couple of terms he might be in a political position to make a difference. It’s no wonder that government is filled with people who are good at politicking and rather short of people with governing skills. The researchers, mathematicians, economists and humanists in our midst have much more rewarding things to do with their lives than get involved in politics. They may all have great ideas that we might have benefited from, they may have truly wanted to help govern and change things, but they are unwilling to lose their lives to the miasma of politics. One kind of person seems to move easily through politics continually reaching the top and taking a disproportionate number of important positions, often the most important positions. Thus we get a government slanted in the favour of this personality, a government that reflects, nay, has the character of this personality that is predominant in its members. The fast talking, witty, aggressive smart-ass businessman/lawyer that could sell a vacuum to a man with a dirt floor is what politicians are or strive to be, with few exceptions. It is quite possible that we would be served exceedingly well if we placed these people in ambassadorial and foreign relations positions. Their salesmanship, networking and debating skills (read: deception and coercion) could be used to negotiate gainfully with foreign countries. Instead we’ve placed them in a position where they must use their skills against their own populace in an endless popularity contest where they vie for and handout various important positions like so many prizes. Of course they do manage to run the government while doing their political ‘thing’, but let’s face it, that’s only a part of their job and probably the boring part compared to all the other things politicians do. One question you might ask is, which is harder, performing the duties of a ministerial or cabinet posting or gaining and maintaining the position of party leader. Another you might ask is, what are the crossover skills between the two jobs. Does democracy require popularity contests? Do you find your views effectively expressed by a party? Should vote on our favourite party or person and then give them years to interpret our wants and needs as they see fit? It may be that voting on individuals is not the answer; instead we should be voting on how to proceed with each individual issue. There is still a future for the politician of today although it probably isn’t with the government. It is apparent that the public will is inadequately represented when a party or person is given a position of power. People in power tend to legislate themselves more powers until personal initiative is the rule and not the exception. At this point representation has broken down, broken campaign promises tops 50% and dubious pet-projects fill the term. Just before the next election a very public fulfillment of some of the original campaign promises with a bevy of new promises in tow, and a hefty tax bribe/kickback seal a dirty deal for a second term. The only option is to switch parties which means a different set of broken promises and a different group of people utilizing personal initiative on their own agenda while employed by the government. It is quite obvious that if we are to make any significant changes in government then we must remove the first stumbling block on the road to democracy and fair and equal representation, namely the politician. It will be a difficult separation at first, we are fond of our celebrities, but don’t shed a tear to soon because I imagine the same faces will turn up on the airways as lobbyists employed by public influence companies who will offer their services to private/special interests. Public influence company may sound Orwellian but it’s just another clearer word for advertising agency and would certainly be more transparent than backdoor lobbying with politicians.
Now that we’ve gotten rid of the preening politicians it behooves us to make changes in the way government operates in order to salvage all of the benefits of their departure and to lay framework upon which the new system can representationaly define itself. The new system should be almost infinitely accountable to the individual citizen, with very few exceptions. A good place to start would be to open the ‘books’, publish a full financial statement as would be available to a CEO or controlling-share holder in a company. This is our country is it not? If it was our company we would see the financial statements, we could help decide how to make or save money. That is exactly one of the changes we will have to make in our new government, we need to know everything it does and the cost of doing those things if we are to make informed proposals and vote effectively. Gone are the days of an ignorant and uneducated population waiting for a grandfatherly ruler to find some insight to change their lives. The current adult population of Canada is, by a vast majority, very informed, media savvy, globally conscious and able to use a simple computer interface (which will prove to be fiscally essential to the operation of the new government). The current voting system in Canada is so expensive that it actually precludes effective use, the new system will eliminate the costs while improving availability and convenience. Citizens will login to the government intranet through an internet enabled terminal or through free terminals in government building waiting rooms (a perfect moment to reflect on government issues). Citizens will use their SIN I.D and a password to gain access to various government services, vote, write proposals and view files, records, proposals and statistics. Two new arms must be attached to this government in a form resembling subsidiary companies. These subsidiary governments will apply to the central government in the form of proposals for their budget and mandate and will make full financial disclosures. These two arms will be the military and police government and by their nature must remain meritocracies, with their highest ranking officers being subject and answerable to the central government. These two services will be available to support successful proposals (directives) while working on their current mandates. The soldiers and police will probably feel more comfortable and righteous in their actions knowing that every law they are enforcing and every mission they’re on has been voted on and ratified by the majority of the voting population of Canada. Clarity of mission and mandate is no small thing in dangerous situations. Within the central government many things would remain the same with the same bureaucracy in place to do the day to day work and staff the government offices. Only the top tier would be modified, that former realm of the politician. Formerly ministerial and governmentally appointed positions would now be evaluated for their requirements and then posted for job applications. Until such time as all things are representationaly modified a suitable system for hiring government facilitators might proceed as follows. Applications would be sorted for suitability then arranged in order of merit. The top ‘x’ number of applications would then be given to the police government for national and international vetting. The returned list of vetted applicants would be retained and added to as time goes by. From this list, of perfectly suited candidates, one person would be randomly chosen to fill the position thus rendering all human influences, from idolatry to intrigue, moot. They would continue in that position making quarterly financial reports while actively undertaking the government directives that are the domain of or even partially related to their office until such time as they are relieved of their duties by the electorate or voluntarily give notice of retirement. Pensions should be based on number of years served with violators of office receiving no pension. In the new government misappropriation of funds would be a criminal violation along with favouritism, cronyism, and a host of abhorrent practices that we take for granted today. We’ve gotten rid of the politicians now we have to make sure the facilitators don’t fall into the same traps.
So, we have our triad government with the military and police wings acting as the right and left hands of the central government which could properly be described as the mind of the whole. We also have an entire governmental machine in place with all the employees, managers, facilities and systems in place to carry out the directives of the, now, non-existent politicians. These more than capable employees will now work in concert under the supervision of facilitators completing the assignments deemed necessary in order to achieve their government directives. AS we have likened the central government to a mind or, more appropriately, will of the government body so we might liken the facilitators to a brain of the government and rightly they would be some of the most intelligent citizens of Canada (excepting those to intelligent to get involved at all).All the actions and expenses of the facilitators and their office will be transparent and available for scrutiny by the electorate.
Who is the electorate and how do they get the government to do their will? The electorate is every voting age citizen of the country, in effect the owners of the country (well… who else does it belong to, big business, foreign interests, the IMF?…). The influence machine that is in place will always be there but now it will have to schmooze and bribe the public directly. It will use popular media and former politicians to sway the public in it’s own interests but at least someone else will be paying their wages. The government facilitators, on the other hand, will be doing nothing but completing the directives of the electorate.
How does the electorate develop, agree upon, and convey these directives? Why, through the Gov-net of course, a vast multi-computer storehouse of information and computing superpower. The virtual middleman between the electorate and the offices of the facilitators. On the Gov-net the electorate will log in and then be able to view all the operations and expenses of each office. They will be able to read government statistics, accomplishments and goals. The user can read and vote on proposals as well as write and submit their own. A proposal would remain open until a percentage of the population has shown interest by voting and would then proceed to final voting where a time limit for decision would be imposed. Proposals showing insufficient interest would be considered not pertinent and might be submitted at the provincial or municipal level. Proposals from the other two tiers of government or from facilitators themselves will become pertinent immediately and will be flagged for special attention by the electorate. This may be seen as a special dispensation and is open to myriad forms of abuse and should be the most scrutinized of tools lest it be misused. Upon electoral ratification a successful proposal would be delivered to the appropriate facilitating offices where they would be evaluated and given an implementation timeframe. This would be representation, this would be Democracy!
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