The Citizenship Engagement Program in Haiti, developed in the context of post-earthquake reconstruction, provides Haitian citizens with the toolkit and pedagogical tools "JE m'engage, ensemble NOUS bâtissons" (I commit, together WE build) to facilitate co-operation within communities, with the common goal of economic, social and cultural development based on human rights.
The push for open government by the Liberals after the Conservatives showed a staunch opposition to transparency has merit. Yet, previous Action Plans were also visible during the Harper era. Nearly every single federal government department website had and still has a similar if not the same commitment to public engagement.
Rather than think outside the box, tear down old structures and focus on engaging Canadians in informed conversations about ideas, choices and reasonable compromises, we are presented with short-term Band-Aid solutions, pandering to superficiality instead of principle
A recent Ekos Research poll finds that a mere 10 per cent of Canadians trusts politicians. This summer's tragedies are not political events. They do, however, demonstrate a critical reality: Political and governmental leaders must think and act for the good of Canadians in the long-term.
Stephen Harper's problem is that he thinks too small. No short-term partisan advantage is too minute for him to pursue and no long-term challenge facing the country is too large for him to ignore. By contrast, we need national leaders who will think forward and think big; who will govern intelligently and respectfully; who will call for a new federalism for the 21st century.
Whether we choose to think about business, health care, education or war, all have undergone transformative change brought about by the information revolution. In fact, every area of modern life is going through this change. Every area except our formal structures of politics and government, that is.
As things stand, the task of finding a balance between a preoccupation with rules and too few rules falls to governments. And that is like leaving the fox in charge of the henhouse.