Why post?

So why provide a series of posts on the accountability of members of Council?

One word – transparency.

In founding Canada, our democratic institutions were built upon a set of principles that had evolved over millennia. Our Canadian democracy has not remained stagnant over the years but has responded to the changing aspirations of its citizens and will continue to do so over the fullness of time. Listening to some of the reflections at the recent retirement gathering for our City Clerk, Lois Giles, I was reminded of the significant changes in our own local government over the last quarter century alone.  She has  overseen many of these changes.

As Canadians, we should be proud of the remarkable level of accountability that is built into our system even if the people who act in that system are not perfect.

How do we make that accountability transparent? For instance, all of the information that I provided in my posts on accountability is in the public domain.

Historically, transparency has meant that the decision of Council is made at a public meeting and documented in meeting minutes. However, increasingly this is not a sufficient measure of transparency. The accessibility of information is becoming more important. Over a relatively short period of time, new technology has significantly changed our ability to access information. New technologies are changing our society’s expectations about access to information and public institutions will need to continue to change their practices to respond effectively. What that response looks like should not be driven by a few voices but the outcome of frequent and broad community engagement.

One thing I do know is that a posting on a blog is not the long-term sustainable solution.




About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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One Comment on “Why post?”

  1. Al van der Laan Says:

    Your Worship:

    I was reading all the posts and was wondering about the meaning of them. I just realized that like any business the City of Guelph city council is also acting as a company. You are so right in posting these messages, not only because of transparency but just to remind people that have subscribed to these posts that we are living in a democracy and just like working in a company where people are held accountable so are are our city councilors.

    Not only is the insight very refreshing, it proofs once more that Guelph is a city that means business.

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