recentpopularlog in

jerryking : goc   14

After the SNC-Lavalin affair, we must strip the influence of political staffers - The Globe and Mail
Omer Aziz was a policy adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

From the outside, our government is a democracy with duly elected parliamentarians. From the inside, it can feel like an autocracy, with power concentrated in very few hands. There is a single node of power and all the channels run through it. That’s why the Prime Minister’s Office is colloquially referred to as “the Centre.”....At Global Affairs Canada, political staffers meet regularly with stakeholders, including human-rights groups, corporate representatives and anyone else who might be affected by our policies, and signals regularly came from above on how to manoeuvre on a certain file. If a message comes from “the Centre” to your office, you can bet that everyone will drop everything and make sure they are meeting expectations. Refuse, and well – these people hold your future in their hands.

It would be no stretch to say that most of the important decisions made by the Canadian government are made by only a handful of people. This has led to preventable errors and bad policy outcomes such as Justin Trudeau’s India trip or the SNC-Lavalin affair. As with too much accumulated wealth, too much accumulated power is ultimately bad for democracy.

There are more than 600 political staffers in Ottawa. These jobs are not publicly advertised and are notoriously difficult to come by if you’re not already well-connected. It’s no wonder that diversity is such a problem in government – and this includes viewpoint diversity as much as ethnic and racial diversity.

Pull back the curtain and it turns out the people in the backrooms mostly resemble one another. Within the political staff itself, there exists a hierarchy, with senior staffers in the Prime Minister’s Office at the top. This is where the real decisions are made.

We need to seriously scale back the influence of political staffers and legislate what the parameters of their jobs really are......The biggest problem with concentrating political power is that it leads to hubris and arrogance, and eventually to critical errors. It leads people to believe that they can overstep boundaries in the name of the Boss.

Absolute power not only corrupts, it is fundamentally corrupting to the entire operation. This is not how a parliamentary system of government is supposed to work. These people are not the mafia. The government does not belong to them.

We could cut the number of staffers in half and Ottawa would run better than it does now. There should also be a formal, publicly acknowledged policy process so Canadians can trust that the system of democracy is working from within and decisions that might shape the future of the country for decades are not being made by a cloistered elite.
centralization  Ottawa  PMO  political_power  SNC-Lavalin  politicians  political_staffers  Canada  Canadian  government  institutions  partisanship  GoC 
february 2019 by jerryking
Canada doomed to be branch plant for global tech giants unless Ottawa updates thinking, Balsillie warns | Financial Post
James McLeod
November 16, 2018
7:27 PM EST

Canadian governments need to radically rethink their approach to the knowledge economy if the country is to be anything more than a branch plant for global technology giants,.......“I think they confuse a cheap jobs strategy … (and) foreign branch plant pennies with innovation billions,” .........Balsillie has argued that the “intangible” economy of data, software and intellectual property is fundamentally different from the classical industrial economy built on the trade of goods and services, and that because Canadian policymakers fail to understand that difference, they keep being taken for rubes.......Balsillie was particularly critical of the federal government’s policy when it comes to “branch plant” investments in Canada in the technology sector.

He said that in the traditional economy of goods and services, foreign direct investment (FDI) is a good thing, because there’s a multiplier effect — $100 million for a new manufacturing plant or an oil upgrader might create $300 million in spinoff economic activity.

But if you’re just hiring programmers to write software, the picture is different, he said. It’s a much smaller number of jobs with fewer economic benefits, and, more importantly, the value created through intellectual property flows out of the country.

“Our FDI approaches have been the same for the intangibles, where, when you bring these companies in, they put a half a dozen people in a lab, they poach the best talent and they poach the IP, and then you lose all the wealth effects,”....“Don’t get me wrong. I believe in open economies. They’re going to come here anyway; I just don’t know why we give them the best talent, give them our IP, give them tax credits for the research, give them the red carpet for government relations, don’t allow them to pay taxes, and then have all the wealth flow out of the country.”...if small countries such as Canada make a point of prioritizing the intangible economy, there are huge opportunities. He pointed to Israel, Finland and Singapore as examples of how smart policies and specialization can reap big rewards.

“I could literally see enormously powerful positions for Canada if we choose the right places. I mean, there are some obvious ones: value added in the food business, and precision data and IP in agriculture; certainly in energy extraction and mining, which are data and technology businesses,” he said.

“We actually have enormous opportunities to build the resilience and opportunity,” he said. ”And how can you threaten a country with a picture of a Chevy and 25 per cent tariffs when you’ve built these kinds of very powerful innovation infrastructures that you can’t stop with a tariff because they move with the click of a mouse?”
agriculture  branch_plants  Canada  data  digital_economy  energy  FDI  Finland  food  GoC  industrial_economy  IP_retention  intangibles  intellectual_property  Israel  Jim_Balsillie  mining  policymakers  property_rights  protocols  Singapore  talent  technology  wealth_effects 
november 2018 by jerryking
Parliament, bastion of our democracy, deserves greater respect - The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Sep. 25 2014

Parliament is supposed to be the most important place in the structure of Canadian governance. We don’t elect a government; we elect members to the House of Commons, and out of them a government is formed. Government may propose legislation, but Parliament has to pass it. The government can’t spend money unless Parliament votes it. And though a majority government has enormous power, it still has to work through Parliament, including by regularly standing in front of the opposition and facing their questions, during Question Period. There aren’t many ways to hold a majority government to account. This is one of them.... The government more and more treats Parliament like a bothersome impediment, to be bypassed or minimized whenever it is expedient. For example, the government appears to have avoided proper legislative scrutiny for a host of crime bills by treating them as private member’s bills, which receive much less study and oversight.
editorials  Parliament  House_of_Commons  parliamentary_democracy  loyal_opposition  Paul_Calandra  political_expediency  respect  GoC 
october 2014 by jerryking
Privy Council Office (Canada)
The Privy Council Office's role is different from that of the Prime Minister's Office, which is a personal and partisan office. It is understood that the Prime Minister should not receive advice from only one institutionalized source. To that end, the PCO serves as the policy-oriented but politically-sensitive advisory unit to the Prime Minister, while the PMO is politically-oriented but policy-sensitive.
wikipedia  Canada  Canadian  GoC  government  PCO  PMO 
may 2014 by jerryking
How CSEC became an electronic spying giant - The Globe and Mail
Nov. 30 2013 | The Globe and Mail | COLIN FREEZE.

Next year, the analysts, hackers and linguists who form the heart of Communications Security Establishment Canada are expected to move from their crumbling old campus in Ottawa to a gleaming new, $1-billion headquarters....Today, CSEC (pronounced like “seasick” ever since “Canada” was appended to the CSE brand) has evolved into a different machine: a deeply complex, deep-pocketed spying juggernaut that has seen its budget balloon to almost half a billion dollars and its ranks rise to more than 2,100 staff....You don’t have to understand the technology of modern spying to grasp the motivations behind it.

“When our Prime Minister goes abroad, no matter where he goes, what would be a boon for him to know?” said John Adams, chief of CSEC from 2005 through early 2012. “Do you think that they aren’t doing this to us?”...Electronic spying is expensive. Keeping hackers out of Canadian government computer systems, running some of the world’s fastest supercomputers and storing data in bulk costs money. Mr. Adams even made a point of hiring top mathematicians, with salaries exceeding his own, so CSEC could better crack encryption....CSEC also has a hungry clientele strewn across the federal bureaucracy. An internal document obtained by The Globe names a few of the customers: “CSEC provides intelligence reporting to over 1,000 clients across government, including the Privy Council Office, DND, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Treasury Board Secretariat, CSIS and the RCMP.”
PCO  DND  CSIS  RCMP  Treasury_Board  Colin_Freeze  CSE  sigint  security_&_intelligence  cyber_warfare  cyber_security  Five_Eyes  Edward_Snowden  oversight  encryption  mathematics  GoC  intelligence_analysts 
december 2013 by jerryking
Brazil’s outrage may fade, but debate over spy network is just beginning
Oct. 09 2013 | The Globe and Mail |CAMPBELL CLARK.

There are important public-interest questions for which we don’t have real answers. Has the government of Canada directed intelligence agencies to make economic espionage in foreign countries one of their priorities? Is this kind of metadata spying, and new revelations about the extent of it, really raising angst among our friends and semi-friends such as Brazil or India or South Africa?... whether the Canadian government has mandated intelligence agencies to make supporting the economy and trade a priority. University of Ottawa intelligence expert Wesley Wark thinks the Brazil snooping was more likely a task the U.S. gave to a Five Eyes partner, but Canadians should know if there’s a mandate for economic spying – which is risky, perhaps not worth it and, if intelligence is provided to companies, littered with potential abuses.
espionage  Five_Eyes  CSE  security_&_intelligence  Brazil  Canada  Wesley_Wark  snooping  GoC 
november 2013 by jerryking
The slides that came in from Brazil
Oct. 07 2013 | The Globe and Mail |editorials.

Brazil is entitled to an explanation from the Canadian government about what appear to be plans for economic espionage on the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy (and consequently on Brazilian companies) by the Communications Security Establishment Canada. And Canadian citizens are entitled to a clear, principled statement of the views of the CSEC and the Canadian government as a whole on what kinds of economic intelligence they believe themselves to be justified in collecting....CSEC’s signals-intelligence activities should not, as a general rule, be put in the service of private companies, either Canadian or foreign. Canadian competitiveness is of course a desirable goal, but one essential element of fair competition, internationally as well as within a home country, is that it should not be deceptive or fraudulent.

Reports over the years have suggested that CSEC has provided the government with economic intelligence in trade negotiations. If so, the practice is dubious. Trade is not war, and trade negotiations should be carried on in good faith – with elements of strategy on both sides.
Brazil  mining  Canadian  security_&_intelligence  editorials  espionage  cyber_security  CSE  sigint  metadata  GoC 
october 2013 by jerryking
Stephen Harper, meet your unofficial opposition - The Globe and Mail
Oct. 08, 2011 | Globe and Mail |John Ibbitson

As the global economy trembles, all Canadian governments could soon face collapsing revenues and increased stress on the social safety net.

“They're going to battle over money,” Prof. Klassen predicts. In difficult times, “it's easiest for the federal government to download to the provinces, and it's easiest for the provinces to want the federal government to take on more.”

Herewith, the front bench of the real opposition to the Tories in Ottawa.
Greg_Selinger  Robert_Ghiz  Kathy_Dunderdale  John_Ibbitson  loyal_opposition  Ontario  Stephen_Harper  Dalton_McGuinty  Alison_Redford  Alberta  provincial_governments  safety_nets  global_economy  GoC 
october 2011 by jerryking
Innovation guru urges Ottawa on
Mar 29, 2004 | The Globe and Mail | by Simon Tuck.
Clayton Christensen, an innovation guru who teaches business
administration at Harvard University, told government officials that new
technologies and an open mind to the delivery of services can -- and
probably will -- help Canada reconcile its dilemma of escalating public
sector costs, combined with a determination to maintain services. too
many companies view their competitors as the other key players in their
sectors, instead of other products that compete to do the same job for
the customer. Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry, for example, may
compete more for the business traveller's spare time with newspapers,
magazines, and CNN's airport news than with other handheld device makers
such as Palm Inc. Poor market research contributes heavily to the fact
that about 75 per cent of new products fail, he said.
Clayton_Christensen  disruption  innovation  GoC  Canadian  government  market_research  ProQuest  Ottawa  open_mind  gurus 
january 2010 by jerryking
reportonbusiness.com: What? Me worry?(2)
September 26, 2007 From Friday's Globe and Mail by Doug Steiner

....after opening the most recent monthly statements from my asset-dieting RSPs, I haven't been smiling. And I've had to give myself advice about market risk-again. "I turned the October, 1987, crevasse into a hill of savings years ago. My strategy? Solve the following complex equation: Cash In - Cash Out = Savings. If you include a time element in the equation for retirement, it looks like this: Future Savings - Future Spending = Not Living Only On CPP. "....Here is some good and rational advice: If you have equity investments and this worry thing is really getting to you, take a breather. Think about shifting all your savings into good old Government of Canada treasury bills for six months. Want a little more action? Add some ETFs that track stock market indexes to your portfolio-that will give you market volatility similar to what you had when you were sleeping well before the markets went berserk.

But the best rational advice I can give you is to learn the discipline of setting risk limits and sticking to them. That will allow you to live with any volatility in the markets. It really is that simple.
Doug_Steiner  markets  risk-perception  calm  risk-assessment  panics  self-discipline  volatility  risk-limits  ETFs  retirement  risks  GoC 
march 2009 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read