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Ah Michael, you miss my point! I would never state that Reform was perfection. After all, it was a POLITICAL party! It suited my values more than it disagreed but of course there were a few rough edges and a few players of poor character.

I'm simply saying that virtually the entire Reform Blue Book or party platform has been purged from the new party, to the point where nothing of it is ever to be mentioned!

Perhaps if we chewed over it long enough we might find one plank that's still there but I don't believe we'd come up with three!

Manning's dream died. No one in the new party cared to nourish it. It's not only gone but it is forever to be unmentioned. That leaves iconoclasts like me with nothing to get excited about! Those were all the things most important to me politically. It leaves me with the CPC only by default.

I keep dreaming that before I die I might get another truly attractive choice. Somehow I doubt if the CPC or even the opposition parties would ever want that to happen. When you study marketing deep enough you realize that you don't necessarily have to present the most attractive choice to your market. If somehow you can rig the market so that there is no truly attractive choice and leave yourself the least of all evils then that would work just as well and likely be more profitable for yourself.

Independents will never get elected to the point of forming a government, and free votes will never be the norm in the Commons. You need a political party, with a majority to make a real dent in the problem.

The market for political parties will be changing quickly as the year goes on. This government and its opposition will find the public very open to new ideas.

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If somehow you can rig the market so that there is no truly attractive choice and leave yourself the least of all evils then that would work just as well and likely be more profitable for yourself.

I agree. It increases cynicism, though, and that's too bad.

I used to argue with reformers, too, on these boards and it's a shame that the 'Triple E' senate has been thrown onto the bonfire of political convience too.

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Jerry Fortin:

QUOTE(Michael Hardner @ Jan 4 2009, 05:12 PM) *

Sure. Communism is also still around.

Are you suggesting that a triple E senate is as functional as Communism?

Hey - it's an old "idea" that - like a zombie - can't be killed.

You can draw the lines...

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Cap,

The incentive is that the person at the top loses their job for not running things properly.

You mean like a zealous top bureaucrat that would ask staff to to look matters such as this?

Is Baby Sasha, the child born to a Ugandan woman during an international flight over Canada on New Year’s Eve, a Canadian citizen?

That question now rests with immigration department lawyers, who must determine whether Canadian citizenship rights that apply on the ground also apply in the air.

“I don’t expect I’ll have an answer for you before early next week,” Karen Shadd, a spokesperson for the Citizenship and Immigration Canada, told the Citizen Friday.

A child, born on Canadian soil to a visitor would have the right to citizenship, but it’s not clear whether a baby born in the air to a foreigner shares that right.

“That’s the question they’re dealing with,” said Ms. Shadd.

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Federal+lawye...5941/story.html

I think whoever it is that got the ball rolling on this one at Immigration should get fired. Why in hell is this even being looked into? Looks like a make work project for federal lawyers to me. And how much would you want to bet that bureaucrat will receive a performance bonus when annual job appraisal time rolls around.

How many government execs get paid yearly bonuses, not for superior managerial accomplishments, but just for meeting minimum requirements, like keeping operations within budget? I can't find any data on the payment of performance bonuses reported anywhere so I guess we'll never know.

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eyeball,

The corruption is visible before the fact but nobody cares until later. The same thing would happen with your ridiculous web cam.

You've entirely missed the point of monitoring for corruption, politicians and officials who know they are being monitiored or will be subject to an audit of the tapes (the way fishermen on the west coast are) will keep them honest.

There have been many examples of people who have eschewed power and wealth in order to do the right thing.

There are also many examples of people who have abused power and wealth in order to fill their own boots. More than enough to spoil the whole barrel judging by the increasing level of public cynicism for power and wealth. The costs of political corruption can bring down entire economies and can even lead to war. I think a lot of our laissez faire approach to doing anything about it is rooted in the idea that monitoring politicians is ridiculous. Its audacious actually. In some countries people are shot or worse for suggesting politicians and governments be forced to account for what they do.

It's up to us to structure a system that works, as much as systems can.

You have written a lot lately about how governments, NGO's and stakeholders need to develop better ways to make the governments job of managing things work better, so here's some sources of information on pretty much exactly what both you and I are trying to achieve. Efficient, transparent management the public can do more than just believe in. They can actually see it.

The first is a quote from a fisherman from a short Power Point presentation (also viewable in HTML) - Evaluating Consensus-based Fisheries Management Planning: A Case Study.

“I went through the salmon fiasco in the 90s…I watched every fishery I’d ever been involved with disappear, and tried every organisational framework I could think of to try and stop it from happening and failed at every one of them. And we're all in the same boat. We’re all sitting there seeing public pressure, environmental concerns, you name it. International treaty issues, aboriginal issues…if you don't organise and work together you're definitely going to be wiped out.”

Link Click on the first link.

The second link is to a BC Business Magazine story with a quote indicating the broad based support for the monitoring program.

...its results have been widely embraced from radically different quarters, including leading environmental organizations on one side and free-market champions like the Fraser Institute on the other.

Source

The point I'm making is that video monitoring keeps people honest, and that the process of doing so can be driven as much from the bottom up as from the top down. Perhaps we don't need to actually put an MP's life on the web but they should be subject to monitoring in the knowledge that they will be subject to audits by independent third parties. In the case of fishermen, mistakes or trying to cheat costs you points and once a certain number of points are reached you are subject to a full audit and are required to take a human observer in addition to the cameras mounted on deck.

The bottom line is video monitoring works. I suggest the full blown Big Brother type of monitoring be held above politicians like Damocles Sword. I think its important that NGO's, people that are already subject to monitoring (I'm negotiating to skipper a fishing boat this season so that could be someone like me) and anyone interested in making governments honest and more transparent should begin talking about ways to achieve transparency and total public awareness. Just knowing these sorts of discussions are starting to bubble away beneath them will cause more than a few politicians to look over their shoulder. Who knows, we might actually come up with a system that works.

I can tell you right now that everyone thought the idea of wiring fishing boats for video and GPS monitoring was ridiculous. Now its the standard. Much of the willingness of fishermen to be monitored now stems from their ability to demonstrate they can be trusted, but more to the point transparency makes it more difficult for DFO to manipulate stakeholders and commit the back-room deals that manipulation entails. Apparently DFO officials were not amused when fishermen suggested their offices be similarily monitored and audited. Like I said the idea is audacious, not ridiculous.

I just can't help but wonder about your motivation to ridicule the idea of enforced transparency. Your doing so reminds me of the saying, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." So exactly what have you got a stake here Michael, what do you stand to lose by making politicians honest?

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I just can't help but wonder about your motivation to ridicule the idea of enforced transparency. Your doing so reminds me of the saying, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." So exactly what have you got a stake here Michael, what do you stand to lose by making politicians honest?

Eyeball, get serious please.

You have basically said want to affix web cams to politicians and senior bureaucrats, and I rightly think that it's a crazy idea. That's it. I don't have a stake in anything except sanity.

Here's why it wouldn't work:

1. It's not possible for a human to live with a camera taping everything they do 24 hours a day.

2. That idea is crazy.

3. No one would want to be an MP or work in government under those conditions.

4. The idea is unsound.

5. People could find all kinds of way around it anyay.

6. It's not a sane idea.

and those are off the top of my head.

I'm more intrigued with this west coast fisheries scam that somebody foisted on you, and turned you towards these odd thoughts.

Can we talk about that ? It seems to me that the example there may be instructive to how the world really works.

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These kinds of statements are just pure nonsense, based on nothing but pure ignorance, and intellectually irresponsible. These are the kinds of rants made by simplistic conservatives who never take into account the details of their uninformed populist dogma. Even worst, the assumption is that life will be better if what you're suggesting--minus any details--is implemented.

Put some actual policy suggestions to this rant, add some real numbers, and explain the consequences based on, hopefully, such notions being implemented successfully in other jurisdictions. If you can't do that spare us the silliness.

This kind of statement is like nails on a chalk board...

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Eyeball, get serious please.

You have basically said want to affix web cams to politicians and senior bureaucrats, and I rightly think that it's a crazy idea. That's it. I don't have a stake in anything except sanity.

Recall I did mention we may not have to go that far. I wouldn't expect our present politicians would ever allow themselves to be digitally harnessed to the Internet but you can't rule out the emergance of a new party that's committed to total transparency wiring themselves up. Under certain 'perfect storm' conditions of public outrage, impatience and desire for change anything is possible.

I think the suggestion that politicians and senior bureaucrats be wired is a healthy one to circulate amongst the general population. It gets ordinary people thinking about official accountability in a brute form they can relate to, such as everytime they come within the view of Big Brother. I'd also like to see something like a Transparency Act and Secrecy Commissioner to whom officials must prove their need to keep their dealings secret and out of the public's domain.

Here's why it wouldn't work:

1. It's not possible for a human to live with a camera taping everything they do 24 hours a day.

Its not impossible for a human to do their job with a camera taping everything they do. If fishermen can do it, so can the officials who manage them.

3. No one would want to be an MP or work in government under those conditions.

You just have to offer them more money, everyone has their price.

4. The idea is unsound.

I suppose total public awareness might produce a dystopia of some type but compared to what we have now that seems inevitable no matter what direction we follow.

5. People could find all kinds of way around it anyay.

Fortunately innovation cuts both ways. Ironically this is probably the path that leads to dystopia. That said, its surprisingly less easy than you might think for a fisherman to beat the system that monitors them. In addition to cameras you have to hail-out before you leave the dock and GPS is used to verify your whereabouts when fishing as soon as you power up your hydraulics to set or haul gear.

6. It's not a sane idea.

and those are off the top of my head.

I'm quite certain most lobbyists would agree. Of all the people in the world who should be afraid of transparency the most its lobbyists.

I'm more intrigued with this west coast fisheries scam that somebody foisted on you, and turned you towards these odd thoughts.

Can we talk about that ? It seems to me that the example there may be instructive to how the world really works.

Fishermen were forced into it but they also had some say in how the "scam" works. Electronic monitoring and validation was driven by a growing demand for greater accountability in the managment and utilization of a publc resource, fish. Fishermen needed a way to demonstrate to a dubious public that they can be trusted to fish in a sustainable manner. The public clearly does not trust the government to do this and the collapse of fisheries around the planet that can largely be traced back to official mismanagement is probably why. I can only imagine how many more salmon might be swimming in the ocean to be caught if the power company lobbyists and public officials responsible for driving desicions towards damming rivers or logging sensitive watersheds were adequately monitored. Hindsight as they say is always 20/20.

Here's a really important reason that someone such as you should be interested in Michael, the issue of trust amongst different competing stakeholders that must deal with the same government. Fishermen needed better ways to monitor what other sectors were catching so that allocations amongst them could be verified and to limit the governments ability to manipulate data to the benefit of one sector over another - perhaps you can begin to appreciate why transparency would make the job of certain lobbyists much more difficult. I cannot think of anything more destructive to the public's well being than a government that plays different sectors of it against one another.

Is the system working? There's problems alright, the cost of oversight is an expensive fixed cost, one that has to be paid whether you catch any fish or not. The cost is comparable to a crew share, anywhere from $1200 - $1600 per trip. The cost of bottom up transparency and accountability is expensive. This is why I suggest that top-down transparency might be a far cheaper way to go and why I subscribe to a trickle down theory of decency and honesty. Instead of saturating society with millions of cameras to keep it honest a few hundred or thousand at the very top might do the trick. Food for thought the next time you're tucking into a nice bit of fish or are staring at a camera at a traffic stoplight.

People might also want to think about this in the context of their confidence in the finacial systems our economy depends on and the level of oversight or lack thereof that's associated with their collapse.

I saw an interesting story on the news the other night, apparently the Oval office does not have a computer in it and Barack Obama will likely have to surrender his Blackberry when he takes office. It's hard to imagine the guy leaving the office even knows how to turn a computer on but Obama seems pretty tech savvy.

Edited by eyeball
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Eyeball, how about we split this into two sub-topics - digitally tracking public officials, and the fisheries example ?

For the former,

Its not impossible for a human to do their job with a camera taping everything they do. If fishermen can do it, so can the officials who manage them.

No, they can't. Fisheries need to be out on the ocean with a boat that they bring to a specific location at the end of the day. Lobbyists and politicians deal in speaking and communication, anywhere and anytime. How can you beat that ? If I can whisper something barely audible in your ear without a microphone picking it up, then I've beaten the system. If I can slip you a note that you can read in the shower, I've beaten the system.

A new idea -> I doubt that digital tracking of politicians and lobbyists (made mandatory by law) would be constitutional.

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....I saw an interesting story on the news the other night, apparently the Oval office does not have a computer in it and Barack Obama will likely have to surrender his Blackberry when he takes office. It's hard to imagine the guy leaving the office even knows how to turn a computer on but Obama seems pretty tech savvy.

Then your imagination is lacking....there are some very good reasons not to have a computer in the Oval Office, and certainly a president has one at his disposal when desired. Bush used a computer in his office as Texas governor.

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Eyeball, how about we split this into two sub-topics - digitally tracking public officials, and the fisheries example ?

For the former,

No, they can't. Fisheries need to be out on the ocean with a boat that they bring to a specific location at the end of the day. Lobbyists and politicians deal in speaking and communication, anywhere and anytime. How can you beat that ? If I can whisper something barely audible in your ear without a microphone picking it up, then I've beaten the system. If I can slip you a note that you can read in the shower, I've beaten the system.

A new idea -> I doubt that digital tracking of politicians and lobbyists (made mandatory by law) would be constitutional.

If you are a person of interest then you are tracked electronically - Any one who says other wise are fools .. This is the information age - for instance - if you have a juvenile crimminal record - they say that it's destroy or sealed - that's silly - why would they dump the info - in the info age...of course all is kept and used for future reference ...what I found appauling regarding conservative justice - was what I saw in the local court house as a young man - repeatedly I saw innocent young males pleading guilty ---- a crown would approach the defendant and say "Plead guilty..they will go easier on you" - Make me wonder how many thousands of citizens are now marginalize and can not enter public life because of being framed by a colonialist justice sytem.

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Lobbyists and politicians deal in speaking and communication, anywhere and anytime. How can you beat that ? If I can whisper something barely audible in your ear without a microphone picking it up, then I've beaten the system.

Yep, I'm reminded of that scene in that movie about corruption in Las Vegas where Joe Pesci and DeNiro hid their lips so lip readers couldn't tell what they were saying. If the cameras pick you up whispering in someone's ear you can bet the tongues of anyone watching will wag.

If I can slip you a note that you can read in the shower, I've beaten the system.

People might really get the wrong impression about politicians that meet in showers.

A new idea -> I doubt that digital tracking of politicians and lobbyists (made mandatory by law) would be constitutional.

Probably not in the case of politicians who volunteer to be tracked to prove they can be trusted. I think politicians who put their cameras where their mouths are will easily out-compete any who prefer secrecy in their dealings.

Perhaps its only lobbyists who need to be wired up and only when they are within a certain distance of a politician or senior bureaucrat. This is where GPS could play a role. Whenever any of these are within 50 feet of one another everyone's cameras and microphones turn on. We could use the blue LED's that kimmy mentioned in her thread to indicate when someone is powered up so to speak, any tampering with these of course should be severly punished.

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Then your imagination is lacking....there are some very good reasons not to have a computer in the Oval Office, and certainly a president has one at his disposal when desired. Bush used a computer in his office as Texas governor.

I bet he's no better at playing Pong than running a country.

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Ok, Eyeball, now the fisheries question.

Fishermen were forced into it but they also had some say in how the "scam" works. Electronic monitoring and validation was driven by a growing demand for greater accountability in the managment and utilization of a publc resource, fish. Fishermen needed a way to demonstrate to a dubious public that they can be trusted to fish in a sustainable manner. The public clearly does not trust the government to do this and the collapse of fisheries around the planet that can largely be traced back to official mismanagement is probably why. I can only imagine how many more salmon might be swimming in the ocean to be caught if the power company lobbyists and public officials responsible for driving desicions towards damming rivers or logging sensitive watersheds were adequately monitored. Hindsight as they say is always 20/20.

Now, I'm starting to understand the depth of the problem. Given the fact that overfishing was blamed at least partially on the fishermen, but they were the only ones that had to be screened, your reaction is a little more understandable to me.

Was there cheating and overfishing happening though ?

Here's a really important reason that someone such as you should be interested in Michael, the issue of trust amongst different competing stakeholders that must deal with the same government. Fishermen needed better ways to monitor what other sectors were catching so that allocations amongst them could be verified and to limit the governments ability to manipulate data to the benefit of one sector over another - perhaps you can begin to appreciate why transparency would make the job of certain lobbyists much more difficult. I cannot think of anything more destructive to the public's well being than a government that plays different sectors of it against one another.

What do you mean - what other sectors were catching ?

I expect that the lobbyist discussions, even if they were broadcast on television, would have sounded reasonable and fair at the time.

Is the system working? There's problems alright, the cost of oversight is an expensive fixed cost, one that has to be paid whether you catch any fish or not. The cost is comparable to a crew share, anywhere from $1200 - $1600 per trip. The cost of bottom up transparency and accountability is expensive. This is why I suggest that top-down transparency might be a far cheaper way to go and why I subscribe to a trickle down theory of decency and honesty. Instead of saturating society with millions of cameras to keep it honest a few hundred or thousand at the very top might do the trick. Food for thought the next time you're tucking into a nice bit of fish or are staring at a camera at a traffic stoplight.

A few hundred million at the top you mean ? I doubt that it would be that cheap. It would cost billions to set up.

People might also want to think about this in the context of their confidence in the finacial systems our economy depends on and the level of oversight or lack thereof that's associated with their collapse.

Certainly that is the context that we're in today. Monitoring, in all its forms, is one tool to be considered.

I saw an interesting story on the news the other night, apparently the Oval office does not have a computer in it and Barack Obama will likely have to surrender his Blackberry when he takes office. It's hard to imagine the guy leaving the office even knows how to turn a computer on but Obama seems pretty tech savvy.

Well, he can use email at least.

To reiterate on the fisheries issue, it sounds like there was a situation with fish stocks becoming depleted, and there were different opinions as to the cause.

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Eyeball, how about we split this into two sub-topics - digitally tracking public officials, and the fisheries example ?

Fisheries need to be out on the ocean with a boat that they bring to a specific location at the end of the day. .

Not anymore, now fisheries officials come down to your boat at the end of your trip and remove the hard-drive from the computer that's been storing the digital record the cameras made. Validators also greet you at the dock and count the fish you recorded in your official log book. These numbers must match the numbers of fish that the cameras recorded within a very small margin of error or you are forced to take a human observer in addition to the electronic monitoring. All at your expence I might add.

There is no reason why everything that politicians and officials discuss that falls within the public's domain could likewise be recorded and the resulting actions and policies stemming from these meetings match what was said. Bear in mind that hours and hours of fishermen's tapes are often never looked at but the knowledge that they could be subject to an audit keeps them honest, especially if the fisherman has to pay for the cost of the audit and the very stiff fines infractions can cause.

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Eyeball,

Yep, I'm reminded of that scene in that movie about corruption in Las Vegas where Joe Pesci and DeNiro hid their lips so lip readers couldn't tell what they were saying. If the cameras pick you up whispering in someone's ear you can bet the tongues of anyone watching will wag.

QUOTE

If I can slip you a note that you can read in the shower, I've beaten the system.

People might really get the wrong impression about politicians that meet in showers.

My point is - you can whisper, you can pass notes, and you can get around this type of thing.

QUOTE

A new idea -> I doubt that digital tracking of politicians and lobbyists (made mandatory by law) would be constitutional.

Probably not in the case of politicians who volunteer to be tracked to prove they can be trusted. I think politicians who put their cameras where their mouths are will easily out-compete any who prefer secrecy in their dealings.

Unless it's 24/7 monitoring then it's easy to get around.

Perhaps its only lobbyists who need to be wired up and only when they are within a certain distance of a politician or senior bureaucrat. This is where GPS could play a role. Whenever any of these are within 50 feet of one another everyone's cameras and microphones turn on. We could use the blue LED's that kimmy mentioned in her thread to indicate when someone is powered up so to speak, any tampering with these of course should be severly punished.

It would be so easy to get around this.

A saying comes to mind here: "You can't legislate morality."

Let's look at the fisheries example in retrospect to see if something could have been done to make the system work better.

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Was there cheating and overfishing happening though ?

Sure there was.

What do you mean - what other sectors were catching ?

Yes.

I expect that the lobbyist discussions, even if they were broadcast on television, would have sounded reasonable and fair at the time.

To a layman they probably would but the evidence of seeing one sectors boats consistently coming in fully loaded while others are tied up empty would soon put the lie to what they were hearing. I don't expect laymen to be very interested in the finer details of sectoral allocation negotiations but I would willing to rely on the environmental and social and economic justice advocates of NGO's to pay attention and blow the whistle if they see something.

A few hundred million at the top you mean ? I doubt that it would be that cheap. It would cost billions to set up.

Certainly that is the context that we're in today. Monitoring, in all its forms, is one tool to be considered.

Why a few hundred million at the top? Just how many politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists do you think there are anyway? In England apparently there are some 8 million CCTV systems monitoring the public but none monitoring the monitors.

To reiterate on the fisheries issue, it sounds like there was a situation with fish stocks becoming depleted, and there were different opinions as to the cause.

The causes are many but a lack of accountability seems to be the most common. As the saying goes on the coast, governments lie and fish die. I cannot stress how important monitoring is in terms of how it limits the governments ability to manipulate data to the benefit of one sector over another. I would argue that the social and economic costs of corruption are far more staggering than the cost of trying to stop it. Corruption of this type can cause wars.

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Eyeball,

What do you mean "Other sectors were catching" ?

What other sectors catch fish ?

Different gear types or people that catch the same species. Annual salmon catches for example were typically allocated amongst seine-net, gill-net and trollers (hook and line) fleets, usually months in advance of the season but increasingly to within hours of the season opening.

Most seine boats were owned by BC Packers (George Weston Foods) and the Canadian Fishing Company (billionaire Jimmy Pattison). Most gill-netters sold their fish to these large companies and were heavily unionized. Trollers on the other hand were characteristically owned by unafiliated fishermen who's strong independance is proabaly what made them more vulnerable and less able to lobby or negotiate effectively as a group.

The history of the BC salmon fishery is rife with the appearance of collusion and manipulation of data by DFO under the direction of Ottawa for the benefit of the more organized and corporatized fishing fleets. As you can imagine fishing can make for some pretty strange bedfellows.

Add to this mix, native groups, environmantalists, the fact salmon swim across international borders and you can see how trust is such an important factor and how much tougher a job the government has without it.

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