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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

And Now It Begins

Wise words, these.

Here's another similarity: like Obama, Trudeau now bears the weight of impossible expectations that he himself largely created.

The Opposition Parties are going to do what Opposition Parties do - oppose.  This won't just happen in the Legislature, but in the media, in constituencies and through fundraising letters (there will be a lot of those).  

Stakeholders who don't like certain chunks of Trudeau's platform, or his name, or are just anti-Liberal are going to make clear their dissatisfaction with Trudeau and co as well, before they even get out of the starting gate.

Expect Dan Gagnier to be flogged around a bit as proof the New Trudeau Government is COA - Corrupt On Arrival.  

Meanwhile, there are senior Liberal strategist very satisfied with how only they mapped out the path to success and ready to reap the benefits and reinforce their new positions that come as just desserts for their cleverness and dedication.  Countless volunteers will be following up on expectations of jobs; there will unquestionably be many people who worked very hard for the party walking away with the feeling they were used.  It's inevitable, with the way expectations exist in modern political culture.

Which is the crux of the matter - it's the culture, stupid!  

The culture of politics and the related culture of government are designed for a model of operation that is the status quo.  The status quo, as many have agreed, simply isn't working.

That's why the whole "real change" think caught on.  Yes, we want a change from Harper's oppressive cynicism and politics of division, but we also want a system that is more agile, more suited to the reality of modern Canada.

This change won't happen if Team Trudeau operates in the way they are used to, even if their traditional MO has brought them to where they are now.  

No longer can we afford to have even very smart operatives sitting in backrooms crafting platforms almost single-handedly.  

No longer can we assume that political victory equates to a divine mandate that public servants have to unquestioningly follow.

We can't afford to have political staffers come of age in an environment where MPs are not considered relevant and where the culture is one of either tight competition, being conduits for top-down messaging or considered less worthy than senior staff.

Above all, Team Trudeau needs to internalize the fact that Canadians aren't an audience - they are participants.  We simply have gotten used to being on the sidelines, which means a game that is way less than it can be.

The number one task of the Trudeau government, I would argue, is to foster just three things:

Open Government - transparent, facilitation-focused, story-telling and story-listening.  Sharing of information, relating information in user-friendly ways.  Starting communication at the ground, especially with communities whose voices are generally silenced, so that participation is built in from the beginning.

Responsible Society - ask not what your country can do for you, etc.  Only frame it differently; we're all here together and the same future lies before all of us.  What do we want that future to look like?  How can we be active players in building it?  What do we need to maximize our individual and collective potential - how might we be part of the team?

Communities of Engagement - tear down the silos between parties, between Ministries, between sectors.  Labs, hacks, co-working spaces, brand new opportunities to bring people together for individual wins and for common purpose, like CSLabs promises to do.

This is a much, much harder challenge than a quick blog post can relate, but it is the challenge of our times.  We simply cannot move forward if movement is being directed from the top without engagement from the ground.

Of course, the corollary of this is that whatever we have to confront, whatever bumps lie on the road to, say, 2067, Trudeau doesn't need to face them alone.

We stand tall when we stand together.

That is Trudeau's challenge.  

The question is - are we ready?

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