Reinventing government is necessary

At long last a “revolution” is stirring in Canada that should entail better government. People have become increasingly angry at governments that do not deliver on their promises and that seem to be almost non-functional.

Even though it has taken a long time to develop, it should come as no surprise that there now is widespread cynicism about the political process. Certainly, it is about time that we “reinvent” government in order to change the way we do things.

A list of government failures is very depressing. With just a few examples the point can be made. For instance, our public school system is not training our youngsters to enable them to compete in the 21st century. Transportation is a mess, with congestion in and out of cities a real nightmare and getting worse all the time.

Criminal activity, gang violence and drug dealing are rampant. Our immigration policy is a disgrace and ignores public opinion on that subject. Of immediate concern, our politicians do not know what to do about our lagging economy.

There are answers, however.

For example, to help our manufacturing industry, transportation from the heartland of Ontario to the U.S. Midwest is stymied.

Bureaucrats claim that this is a complicated matter involving many jurisdictions. Unbelievably, governments have been “working” on this for 10 years. Why does our school system operate for only about eight months a year? That is a vestige of our agricultural society when everyone had to help with farm work in the summer.

Our current business contraction was triggered by excessively easy and lax credit standards, yet the remedies being applied will only exacerbate things in the long run. New policies are needed to avert a repetition of this downturn.

Many years ago the word bureaucracy meant something positive. It connoted a rational, efficient method of organization. During the Second World War Canada’s government and bureaucrats working with industry did a superb job of increasing production and helping to win the war. Canada’s foreign policy was run by excellent administrators who organized NATO, which led eventually to winning the Cold War.

The bureaucratic model working with our elected leaders performed in an exemplary way.

What has gone wrong? We have elected less capable politicians, chosen because of their media-television appeal rather than any experience or expertise they have.

Few are aware of how to cope with the rapidly evolving world. That means we should be empowering communities rather than delivering services from a national headquarters; investing in prevention, not just cures; but above all, ensuring that we have an educated, informed electorate. We live in an era of great change, and that makes it essential that our governments reinvent themselves.


Bruce Whitestone