Plank Leader: Joe Foster
Note: This plank consists of a number of short but interrelated issues, positions and arguments.
Principles and Policy Statement
email handling in government. Mails sent through web site are worse, as sender have no idea who could be held responsible for non reply. Thus in all cases, the mail sender is at the courtesy of the receiver. "All mails should be sent thro' a dedicated tool that can send the mail to the concerned lowest dealing official in any organization / department and all superiors can see transparently all communications received and anyone responsible should respond within a specified time, say one working day or two working days." source: Krishnan Dev of the public service of India.
public accounts reform but little action even from the PSAB. Municipal Governance is a particular weak point as Federal-Municipal Relations are in flux.
civic best practice, management best practice and governance best practice. There are also lower level technology best practices including wiki best practices. See quality management and total quality management for more on this mindset.
quality management in government, the accountabilities and responsibilities of all government officials will be clarified, simplified and published. Within the public service, this will be done using standard industry methods for ensuring that all processes are relevant, and programs are carried out efficiently and effectively. This will entail restructuring within departments where appropriate with the goal of reducing the numbers of executives by 25% over a period of 10 years.
Incentives and mechanisms will be established to encourage any government official to suggest improvements to government operations and bring to the attention of a special sub-committee of the Auditor Generalâ€™s office, any potential misconduct. (The pejorative term whistleblower will no longer exist once this proposal is implemented - people will not be so stigmatized, nor even visible.)
industry standards and common best practices will be implemented across government departments. Where useful to government, industrial consortia will be encouraged or even required, e.g. to make possible an expanded municipal role in emergency response.
PSAB capital asset standard will make Municipal Governance more transparent. Each federal political party will be required to publish its candidate protocol, member protocol and officer protocol in a standard way so that any complaints about decisions within such parties can be adjudicated.
civics education, especially at the school level, will be actively pursued to make citizens aware of the importance of democratic participation. Canadian citizens who are 16 and 17 years of age, will be encouraged to vote in all federal voting activities. These introductory votes will be counted as half votes.
Ethics Commissioner will be appointed by Parliament and report to the Senate. the Commissioner will monitor, in conjunction with the Auditor General, the honesty and integrity of government officials. The authority of this position will cover all individuals and groups within government. The principles and values as set out within the Green Party Platform will be used as a baseline reference, but the development of an ethic balancing scientific and moral knowledge will be encouraged.
moral values (such as respect and honesty), as recommended by UNESCO, will be encouraged in the school curricula. Debate on a global ethic and global tradeoffs in decision making will be encouraged using such starting points as The Green Ethic.
Consultation costs â€“ in both time and money. Moreover, hot issues tend to polarize groups as has been proven in the USA elections. Canadian governments tend to wait until the problem has cooled down and the media/public eye if off the issue.
It is possible, however, to develop ongoing mechanisms that will become part of the political fabric. Over time, individual Canadians will realize that their input is important; while views may vary widely, the debate can be informative and compromises often provide the fairest solutions - especially for a country as diverse as Canada. In other words, educating citizens to actively participate can be made a habit and become part of our national value system.
If consultation mechanisms are made subject to the same monitoring processes as other government activities, a range of acceptable tools and effective and efficient ways to use them will be found.
However, a more significant factor in a positive work environment is a clear understanding of the task - as well as the results expected â€“ and the authority and resources to get the job done. Professional staff enjoy a challenge and the acceptance of responsibility. If standards and best practices are in place, the potential of risks will be reduced and the likelihood of mistakes considerably lessened.
Presently, Accountabilities amongst government (parliament and the public service) are too often diffused and/or insufficiently defined . In addition, responsibilities between government and the public are often equally unclear and lead to program failure. Best practices require that accountabilities and responsibilities are clear and distinct.
Normal program management includes periodic monitoring and reporting. There is a cost but this expense is marginal compared to the cost of program failure. Not only is there the dollar cost but the credibility factor and the impacts of not having the outputs as expected. As for all situations, there is a balance between too much and too little intervention. Politicians should not interfere with program execution without parliamentary approval. That being said, all programs and projects must be regularly reported on and open to further scrutiny. If standard best practices are used and regular reporting done, this should not create an extra burden on government.
Once the system is designed for openness and transparency, there is still the issue if some restrictions to access are in the interest of the public. of As was proven during the First Ministers talks on health care, there are times when some restrictions on automatic access (other than for privacy reasons) is appropriate. Another example is that access to all government meetings would be extremely costly and counter-productive. The net result would be less dialogue and consultation.
Finally, each federal political party receiving over 2% of the popular vote is now funded by taxpayer dollars. Since their ideologies differ it is not possible to define how they should be run, but, they must at least define their own rules and convey those rules in some standardized way to Elections Canada so that the federal funding is paying for additional transparency and accountability. There have been too many visible issues in the operations of federal political parties, and even lawsuits regarding whether they followed their own constitutions. See Political Party Governance for more on this, and GPC Governance for how the Green Party of Canada is making itself the most accountable party there is.
Size, power, and money must not be the criteria for gaining a forum. What is needed is for more community groups to identify issues take the responsibility to inform government of problems and collaborate in the implementation of solutions. the concept of partnership in both the resourcing and execution helps to provide automatic checks and balances.
There is a cost to participation â€“ both in terms of time and money. However, buy-in of those being impacted considerably reduces the likelihood of failure.
As noted earlier, active participation should be promoted by government as an essential part of our democratic value system.
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