Monday, February 05, 2007

A Modest Proposal

It's a rare thing when the head of the province's largest union and the Premier both call for the same fundamental reform of the province's political system.

Last week Carol Furlong of NAPE called for the appointment of a citizen's representative to sit on the Internal Economies Commission and oversee the elected officials.

Premier Danny Williams agreed.

Once again we have a half-hearted solution to a profound problem - the inability of our elected officials to take the responsibility of governing this province let alone governing their behavior.

One always suspected that but now it's confirmed at the highest political levels.

First, let's clearly define the problem: our elected officials can't handle the responsibility they are elected to exercise so the more they come under the review of appointed citizen's representatives, the better.

Since it's agreed that's the problem, we should greatly expand this concept for maximum effectiveness; no half-measures will do.

I suggest a modest proposal: We should establish a special committee of citizen's representatives to look over the shoulder of the MHA's.

The appointed Auditor General, while effective in ferreting out wrongdoing after the fact, can't do much to stop the exercise of bad judgment before it happens. The existing Citizen's Representative is short on all resources to really do the job and, anyways, that's not why that particular job was created in the first place.

No; we need a group of qualified, energetic and and capable appointed citizen's representatives with very wide ranging supervisory and overseeing powers. Their role will be to review every decision made by every government minister and department and to make sure it's in the interest of the people and not the politicians.

I would think that we would need at least 6 of these citizens. And because this is a small province where everybody knows each other and it's just too easy to have conflicts of interest, it would be wise to have 3 of those 6 coming from outside the province. Perhaps the mainland or some other commonwealth country.

Each of these six citizen's representatives should be allocated some areas of responsibility, so many departments each to review on an ongoing basis. If things get out of hand, in their opinion, they can veto.

It's time to take responsibility away from the elected officials and to place it in the hands of an overall commission of appointed representatives.

Since we can't trust our politicians and since they are completely incapable of taking responsibility for their own actions, that responsibility must be taken away from them for their good and for ours.

When it comes to exercising the democratic responsibilities for which they were elected, our MHA's are not fit for it.

Didn't we learn that last time?

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