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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
One of the great unreported stories of the Canadian healthcare system is the avidity of hospitals to use limited taxpayer funds to hire lawyers, with the acquiescence of political leaders, in an effort to evade accountability or to silence families and others who raise inconvenient questions.
Ultimately, Canadians really haven't been giving much thought to the importance of charity transparency. There is a commonly-held belief that all Canadian charities are poor and desperately need money. In fact, some of them are surprising wealthy.
There is a medical emergency rolling across the land and into its hospital rooms. It is the epidemic of hospital medical errors that is literally killing thousands of patients each year. There are numerous reasons that have been put forth as to why there continue to be so many medical errors. Perhaps what is required is not a no-fault culture, but one where it actually becomes unlawful not to report medical errors.
Many Canadians have learned the hard way that their healthcare system is not nearly as safe as it needs to be. My family's eye-opening experience began a few years ago with the sudden hospitalization of our elderly mother, who sustained a serious brain injury after a fall. We knew this was going to be a life-altering event. What we did not anticipate was a second trauma caused by horrific failures during her hospitalization.
Over the last several months, the federal government has repeatedly thrown up the claim that theirs is "the most transparent government in Canadian history," even in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is categorically untrue. Even the practice of stomping on backbenchers who push for more transparency is nothing new for this government.
At present, Canadians are of the belief that the political class has sunk so far beyond redemption that little of importance remains in the Senate. That's an illusion, and deserves some further thought and reflection. While there are non-trivial problems within the Canadian senate, it still serves a purpose.
Since 2009, the Liberals have shuffled ministers in and out of the Ministers of Citizens' Services and Open Government role so quickly that there's hardly been a chance to make any meaningful progress.
There is nothing wrong with encouraging your fellow citizens to be involved in the political process by supporting candidates, voting, making donations, or even by trying to persuade them to vote for candidates more in line with your (and, hopefully, their) interests. All of these behaviours are part of a healthy democracy. Given the low voter turnout in many elections, more rather than less such engagement is required.
Our towns and cities do not function in isolation. They do not exist in a vacuum. Municipalities can learn from one another's experiences. More importantly, citizens can too.
In B.C. and across Canada, the past 12 months have seen information rights make headlines on a regular basis. And usually not in a good way. At the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, much of our year was spent (once again) in sparring matches with the provincial government over access, transparency, and privacy issues.
This holiday season, consultation on the deficiencies in the Access to Information Act provides all of us with a chance to do our best Jacob Marley and remind the Info-Scrooge Conservatives that they once campaigned on the position that government works best when open and accountable. Don't miss your chance to participate.
Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) are increasingly accountable for sustainability. A study by Deloitte -- Sustainability: CFOs are coming to the table -- found their accountability for sustainability had jumped sharply during the last year. Here are some of the drivers for the CFO's involvement in sustainability.