It’s Like Deja Vu

It’s like deja vu when it comes to politics, always has been, and unless we all wake up, it will always likely be. WE get all enthused about a new beginning with a bright and shining star that comes forward saying that he/she will be different, that he/she will do all the things we want them to do, they will correct all that is wrong with government and politics, that they will be the one who we will applaud and cheer and look at as the FIRST one to actually make things right. While I’m a self-proclaimed eternal optimist, I can’t help be totally pessimistic about this subject in particular. The reason is very simple, I’ve heard the same promises since I first got the right to vote, and actually paid attention to politics, some 36 years ago. And it has taken me this long to figure out, WHY we never get what we are promised, and WHY we always fall into the trap of believing it. No, it didn’t really take me this long, just took me this long to write about my frustrations. First, the why we fall into the trap of believing it. You know, I’ve met hundreds of politicians, from Prime Ministers, to Municipal Councillors. I’ve never ever met one who said to me, they ran for the position just because they wanted to be a celebrity or politician. They have all said they have a passion to right the wrongs, to make the system better, to change government for the better, to cut absurd spending, to slash redundant programs, they all just want to be liked and remembered for what they did for us. They all sing the same tune, except for a very few, who actually were in it for personal gain. However nothing, nothing, nothing, ever changes for the better, in fact maybe it even gets worse. You will be happy to know it’s generally not because of politics, not because the party in power is in-genuine, not because the people who got elected didn’t really mean what they said to get elected and not because they didn’t know what was wrong, they do, they told us and we agreed with them. Are we the fools? Are they the fools? neither is the answer to those questions, we believe them because we should, because they fully intend to do what we elected them to do. So now for the why we never get what we are promised. You see, the politicians don’t make the decisions, well lets correct that, they make the decisions, but they don’t make the choices on what decisions they get to decide on. Confused, ya, I know what you mean, but it is the script in which we are governed by. You see, policy is driven, almost entirely by the bureaucracy, the ivory towers, the pillars of granite we all know to be City Hall, Queens Park, or Parliament Hill. Let me give you a little example of what happens at the political level. Recently I had a meeting with a Minister from the Federal Government on a little project that we, the business community would like to see happen. I left the comfort of my community and office, traveled to Pearson Airport, got on a flight to Ottawa, jumped in a cab and made my way to Parliament Hill. Got there about 1 hour early, no problem, but had to wait in the basement till it was a little closer to the meeting time, ok I was early and didn’t expect to be seen right away, but hiding out in the basement for an hour wasn’t quite what I figured I’d be doing. About 5 minutes before the meeting, I went back to the desk (in the basement), they gave me the room number, and off I went. After some pretty intense screening and security checks, tiny bit of interrogation, just enough to irritate me, I got to the office stated my name and the pleasant young lady said, have a seat Mr. Durocher, the Minister is on his way. A moment or two later, 3 people walked in the door, introduced themselves to me, and sat down and carried on some idle chat amongst themselves. 17 minutes went by and the Minister walked in, welcomed me and invited me into his office. The 3 others who came in after me, got up and followed us into the Minister’s office. I sat down in front of the Minister’s desk and the others more or less, sat around the room behind me, the Minister and I exchanged a minute or two of pleasantries, then we got down to business. After 13 minutes of my presentation, the Minister said, “sounds good Greg, not sure what we can do, but we will try our best to help”, then turned to the others in the room and said, “do you folks have enough information”, they nodded in the affirmative, and the Minister said to me, “Greg, these folks will get me the information I need to give you and answer, I will be in touch with you directly”. Then he got up and said, “unfortunately I have another meeting in 2 minutes, sorry we can’t visit longer maybe next time, thanks for coming in to see me”. I left Parliament Hill, jumped in a cab back to the airport, hopped on a plane and came back to the office. I’ve been known to be a little naive at times and a little slow in my reaction, but when I got to the office I suddenly realised what happened. I was not speaking to the Minister, he was just the face, the minds I was speaking to were the bureaucrats in the room. You see, the bureaucrats have the politicians so busy, running to this meeting, to that meeting, to events and functions, that they actually have no time to look for an answer, decide on an avenue to go, rationalize a request or really look for any solutions at all. There-in lies the problem folks, those who we have hope in, those who we charge with the responsibility of making things right, make few decisions, because they simply can not, there is no time left in the day. I am expecting that the Minister will be given two choices regarding my request, both of which the bureaucracy could live with and neither decision would make their lives any better or worse. It certainly demonstrates to me that the inmates are running the prison. Now, I will also tell you, because I’ve been there, that every one of them till tell you it’s not true, we make the policy, we decide the direction of the government, we make all the decisions. I am naive, but not that naive, it is simply not the case, they can’t make the decisions, because they have no time for themselves let alone to do some assessment, become familiar with all the legislation that has handcuffed the system. They all need to take a step back, look in the mirror and admit, if it wasn’t for the constant, minute by minute advice from the bureaucrats, they couldn’t do the job. So folks, who’s deciding our future? The appointed, not the anointed, and that my friends is wrong. I’m not sure there is a way any longer to fix it, seems our British Parliamentary system doesn’t allow for the independent thinker any more, well it does, but they generally get kicked out when they don’t agree with the bureaucracy, oooops, sorry, Leader. In the end, we get exactly what we got, nothing new, nothing different, people who can’t cross the lines and right the wrongs, because the bureaucracy doesn’t want that and have decided it is simply not right to have elected people decide the future of our Community, Province or Country. Now after my rant here, don’t be discouraged, but add one more question to your list to ask potential new candidates for office. “Are you, as my representative, willing to stand up to the bureaucracy and your Leadership, make the changes that need to be made to ensure that the use of my tax dollars are effective, efficient and accepted unilaterally with the constituency you serve and tell the bureaucrats what you want, how to do it, when to do it and demand that it be done? We all know taxes are too high, red tape is too much, and government is just getting in the way all the time, “so Madam or Sir, if I give you my vote, can I count on someone who will represent me and my concerns, respect the right I have in making a request of you, the government and the civil service, and that those requests are not taken lightly, that you will endeavour to satisfy the majority of your constituents and can I count on you to right the wrongs of government, clean up the abuse of my hard-earned tax dollars, and make me proud of my vote for you? Because, if you will, then you will be different from all the rest before you.”

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