Governance

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Ontario Police Boards Need To Change

In Ontario, municipal police services are governed by Police Services Boards (PSBs). These Boards retain a great deal of control over local matters related to policing. They generally consist of three or five members for smaller jurisdictions, and seven members for large municipalities. It is time to abolish the current structure of PSBs and implement stronger forms of governance that serve the public interest and are accountable to the community, while ensuring the necessary checks and balances for the operation of police services.
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CEO Coaching: Lessons From The Trenches

Alcohol problems, drug use, sexual misconduct, financial misconduct, defensiveness, denial, berating of other senior management and directors, litigation, loss of key employees, toxicity and bulling. There is not much I have not seen when I am called in to coach the CEO. And CEO misbehaviour happens in the highest level of corporate Canada. You may be surprised, but I am not.
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5 Things First Nations Want In Canada

The way we have treated aboriginals in Canada is our great shame. This week confirmed to me that they are collectively more forgiving and forward thinking than our previous governments' racist policies. I am not new to these stories. While working in youth protection, I saw the pain in families torn apart by the legacy of residential schools. A little known fact about the residential schools is that when they were built, these were the only schools in Canada that included a cemetery to bury the children that would die. This is our legacy.
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Improve Government With Algorithms - Without Politicians

The most abused cliche in politics is the concept of 'change,' yet a young movement among academics and techno-scientists seeks to overhaul the current system with a computerized, politician-minimal alternative. Algorithmic governance is a radical, digital reimagining of government centred on computerized processes. Algorithms -- which already have many applications like sorting incoming emails and controlling traffic lights -- would be unified to create a governing network. Algorithmic government may sound far-fetched, but it is already happening in smaller, more localized ways.
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How Capitalism Saved the World

Unlike the iron fist of communism, capitalism's incidents of harm (recall the mugging in Central Park) result not from government oppression but from the nature of freedom itself. Misguided newspaper columns notwithstanding, in theory, practice and historical record, between capitalism and communism, there's no comparison.

Who are you going to Trust?

When we lose someone's trust, we realize we have taken it for granted. And once lost, it is close to impossible to regain. Trust binds our world together. From the trust between family members, the tr...
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What Award-Winning Companies Do Right

I recently served on a governance awards judging panel assembled by the Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries (CSCS). Winners of the awards were announced at this organization's annual conference in Halifax last month. I participated in a plenary discussion to discuss some of the winning practices.

Corporate Directors: "You Hold Much of Our Future in Your Hands"

Boards should revitalize, as the American economy (and the world) is dependent on it. But they need to do so in a way that puts their own interests and reputations at risk. They need to be ruthless in recreating - and think only of the best interests of their enterprises. They need to "person proof" in other words, which is the theme of the NACD conference.

Does Your Audit Committee Need a Reset?

There is a strong bias for audit committees to oversee many risks, not just financial. No regulation mandates this however. Audit committees should not oversee risks that they are not qualified to oversee. Here are a dozen broader questions to determine whether your Audit Committee needs a reset.

What the Board and Management Want From Each other

I recently trained a group of directors and CEOs from the banking and agricultural sectors in Texas and Arizona. We discussed mutual expectations on the part of the board and management. The following represents the output of these discussions, which could apply to a variety of boards.
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B.C. Independent Officers Should Never Be Re-Appointed

B.C. taxpayers should be grateful to John Doyle for his persistent, hard-nosed work over the past six years. And perhaps six years is too short of a term, but renewal should not be an option. Now it's time for another watchdog to come in and give issues fresh eyes and a fresh voice, just as Doyle built on the work of previous auditors general.

Should Governance Lawyers Be Independent?

When interests between management and shareholders become adverse, even through the regular course of events, it is important for boards to have their own set of lawyers who are independent from management and seen as objective and willing to act in the interests of directors, not management, and ultimately shareholders.
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imagineCalgary: Calgary's Open Government Initiative Betrayed by Bureaucrats

We'll drive, copilot, change the tunes, serve up the beverages, adjust the heat and ensure government doesn't fall asleep... but someone has to open the doors so we can get in the car. Unlock the doors of government and let citizens in, that is the mantra of imagineCalgary, now firmly in the hands of hardened bureaucrats. The language of imagineCalgary is not their mother tongue and they are struggling with just the basic translation, let alone the incredibly lofty and epic targets found within the imagineCalgary tome.