Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Image: National Post
Democracy & GovernmentTrucking

Government no longer answers to you

by Donna Laframboise

I’ve recently mentioned that public health officials in New Brunswick refuse to explain their pandemic decisions. People who turned our lives inside out for two years now don’t feel any obligation to defend their reasoning.

But our problem is larger than what happened during the pandemic. Accountability mechanisms no longer appear to exist. People whose salaries are paid by the public do not, in any shape or form, answer to the public. Elected politicians change from time to time, but the bureaucrats deep within government departments almost always keep their jobs.

I mean no offence to the conscientious souls who do their best in difficult circumstances, and who work for government by happenstance. But tens of thousands of publicly-funded decision makers are entirely insulated from the consequences of their actions. They personally pay no price for being wrong. Which means they never get better at their job. They just make bigger mistakes.

It’s not clear how ordinary citizens can protect themselves from this ever-expanding army of unaccountable government employees. But it seems a very bad idea to fund things over which we have no meaningful control.

If COVID taught us anything, it’s that governments are willing to go much farther than most of us ever dreamed in order to meddle in our lives, remove our choices, and demand blind obedience to senseless edicts.

Incidentally, there’s an entire book called The Accountability Deficit: How ministers and officials evaded accountability, misled the public and violated democracy during the pandemic. The authors are UK-based. I haven’t had a chance to do more than skim a few pages, but it’s clear our problems aren’t unique to Canada.


Donna Laframboise writes a daily blog at ThankYouTruckers.substack.com. It is a first draft of her upcoming book that focuses on interviews with Freedom Convoy truckers. She is a former National Post and Toronto Star columnist, and a former Vice President of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.