BY GERALD HANNAM
I am writing about concern of government oversight in P.E.I. and in this beautiful nation of Canada. We have slowly been moving more towards an authoritarian republic, a form of government in which we can choose who we elect, but the government tells us how we can live - under fear of penalization or incarceration if we don’t follow the rules they decide to make.
Let’s take the concept of bylaws. In Charlottetown, it is illegal for you to have an occupied chicken coop on your property. If you do not comply with this, you will ultimately receive a fine. If you refuse to pay the fine because you feel that the bylaw is unjust, you will have your license suspended because in the governments eyes, a license is not a right, though due to the lack of proper public transit on P.E.I., it very well should be. If you drive your car while having a suspended license, you negate your insurance, and if you are pulled over you will receive a fine. You also risk having your vehicle impounded.
So, through arbitrary rules the general populace never weighed in on (and most that I have spoken with think should not be government-regulated), our government has created a legal form of extortion. You will face consequences if you do not follow rules that most people don’t agree with.
We have reinforced government control and oversight by allowing ourselves to become dependent on the government for many things that should be privatized - for example employment. Look at the percentage of our population who are government employees on Prince Edward Island. I am not saying those people should lose their jobs, but some of those positions and groups should be transitioned to the private sector. It takes the burden off of the taxpayer, while stimulating the economy and creating a much more competitive workforce.
For example: If roads need to be fixed, instead of the government sending crews out, offer the contracts up to private companies. These companies make bids. This allows more privately-owned companies to grow, while saving taxpayer money, because the contracts are only whatever the bid is, so the government chooses the lowest that has a good track record, and the onus is on the company to finish the repair as efficiently as possible.
For the company has to pay their employees, but the contract is not billable. If they go over their projection of completion time, it comes out of their profits, not the government’s pocket. This will not only have the repairs done in a much more-timely manner, but the government has now eliminated excessive spending, due to not having to pay the hourly themselves. Yes, we would have inspectors that inspect the work, but we have now, went from 100 government employees, to 10.
Taking the day-to-day issues of running these jobs and projects from the government’s jurisdiction allows for our elected members to focus on reform and accountability. I feel our politicians have forgotten they work for us, and that we do not work for them. This will allow for the government to transition from the Canadian Census Bureau polls to find out how people feel about an issue, to creating a process where each voter will have a say.
I feel we have allowed too much oversight by the government. We the people are the ones impacted by these laws and bylaws, but the majority of our populace doesn’t have a say in them.
Whether this falls on deaf ears, is abhorred, or is introduced, at least I can say it was said. I can take solace in the fact that maybe I started a discussion somewhere that moves us towards the people having more control over our private lives, as opposed to have the government telling us what we can or cannot do, without asking the opinion of us.
Gerald Raymond Hannam, Charlottetown, is a stone mason who has travelled and lived all across Canada and in some U.S. states