EDITORIAL: Keeping public in the loop

It’s become a go-to phrase for all levels of government – local, provincial and federal.

It’s become a go-to phrase for all levels of government – local, provincial and federal.

When faced with fallout from an unpopular decision – or simply dissatisfaction with the way that a certain sequence of events shakes out – politicians and bureaucrats seem to all have the same default position: “In hindsight, we could have done a better job with communication.”

The fact is, no matter how large or small the public-relations budget, a culture that keeps taxpayers in the loop on evolving decisions is something that comes from the top down.

Suspicion of politicians and bureaucrats runs so rampant these days that it is far from wise policy for anyone in government to allow such a situation to continue – particularly when much criticism could be averted simply by taking a more inclusive approach.

Naturally, in the process of governing or administrating, there is some information that is sensitive for reasons of confidentiality or legality, and which cannot be shared indiscriminately. The public, generally speaking, is not asking for this. Nor is the public asking for glossy brochures, dazzling photos or press releases giddy with spin.

Straightforward summary of progress on issues would be good, however. As well, we would welcome a sense that those in office believe public consultation is about more than the legally required meetings.

It may come as news to some, but we don’t elect politicians or hire bureaucrats to act in a vacuum. It is called “public office” and “public service” for a reason.

– Black Press