Sites like Google and Amazon have blazed a path for consumers' high expectations around information access and transparency, generating consumer demand for transparency around pricing and other factors involved in the purchase decision. This demand for transparency is now transforming entire industries.
I believe the public should know how taxes are spent. More importantly, the public should know their money is wisely spent. With physician billings, though, I think we're chasing the wrong number. Billings are a crude, misleading measure of value for money. In isolation, they cannot and do not tell the story we need to hear.
The impact of not being honest and truthful from the beginning can be devastating to a company's reputation, and in some cases, their entire business. As a result, we've seen established organizations attempt to appease their customers by pre-emptively disclosing information that never would have been released in the past.
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.
When most communities in B.C. have more in-camera meetings than the City of Toronto, there's a problem. In Ontario, councils are entitled to go in-camera to consider six specific matters. There are four reasons that councils must go in camera and over a dozen reasons why they "may" close a meeting. The nuance between "may" and "must" seems to have been lost on a few.
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.
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.
Do you recognize any of these red flags? On a board or in a company of which you serve? Allegations of wrongdoing can put assets and reputation at risk. Regulators have enormous power, and are focusing their sights much more on the role a board plays, or does not play, in overseeing the affairs of the company.
Recently, Canada's Parliament introduced the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act, which could have a huge impact on people around the world experiencing the "resource curse." Too often, poor communities have no say in the extraction of resources from their land and receive little information about the scope of these projects, the revenues they generate, their timelines and potential impacts. The Canadian government has an historic opportunity to make a low-cost contribution to fighting corruption and improving the lives of thousands of communities around the world.
Since trust plays a big factor in listening to what we're being told, corporations have the responsibility to provide messages that are both accurate and in the best interests of their audiences. Time and time again, however, we see the power of suggestion being used in a misguided and sometimes even destructive way.
One year ago Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) announced its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), immediately halting all natural forest clearance across its entire supply chain. Specifically, we outlined four key priorities for 2014 to engage our broader industry and other sectors to help accelerate the realization of zero deforestation.
There is a brewing controversy swirling around longtime CBC commentator Rex Murphy and his relationship with Canada's oil industry. The CBC expects Murphy's commentary to be "rooted in fact" and in turn the public has the same expectation. If it is the case that Murphy is being paid money by the same industry he publicly comments on, then this must be disclosed to the public.
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.