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.
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.
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.
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.
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.