Achieving Safer Communities… con’t.

Implicit in the establishment of a Safe Communities Commission is the
depoliticization, to a greater or lesser extent, of the issues arising in that context.

Again, moving forward in this way would represent a true paradigm shift.

It would entail the government having the courage to acknowledge that there are some issues too important to be left to government alone, with the necessary ideological & political constraints that influence all political parties.

It would entail the government courageously acknowledging that if actions taken are to be derived from evidence and best practices, the determination of those actions has to be beyond the “cut and thrust” of legislative debate (and compromise).

Now, this no doubt seems, at first blush, to be a rather radical idea and not one that readily recommends itself to government approval – after all, it would apparently entail government giving up substantial power and authority over something that is of considerable significance to all citizens.

Where would there be accountability to the citizenry?

The short answer to that is found in asking the question, “Where is the accountability to the citizenry of presently existing Boards and Commissions?”

That is, a carefully selected membership representing key stakeholders from within the community appointed to the Commission and to whom the CEO of the Commission is accountable, and of course the Commission itself accountable to the Legislative Assembly as a whole.

Perhaps of even greater significance, while the Commission would be charged with addressing all the issues with respect to safer communities identified in the Report, and beyond those so identified, it would not itself have legislative authority, nor control the Treasury. It would be responsible for recommending to the appropriate body what actions ought to be taken, and presenting the case for those actions being taken, but at the end of the day, the responsibility for actions actually taken, and the monies actually expended in that regard, will still rest with government or the other entities mentioned above.

Certainly it would be expected that recommendations from the Commission would be accorded considerable deference, and the decision to not act on any particular recommendation would not be one lightly taken.

Yet clearly there would be accountability (perhaps, in a very real sense, “enhanced” accountability) to the citizens of Alberta, and while the process of recommending policy and legislation would be (to a greater or lesser extent) de-politicized, the final authority and control with respect to implementation would still rest with that body so charged – ultimately, for the most part, the government and Ministers of the day.

What a wonderful opportunity to improve the quality of life of all Albertans!

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