canada government

Canada today has forgotten that it was citizens who created the country, not governments

Lifestyles 55 issues in the news
Dorothy Dobbie
Issues in the news

Why do people feel they need the government to tell them what to do with any initiative? What has happened to our ability to think for ourselves, to plan for ourselves, to just get it done? Why does everyone think they need permission? Unless there is a law prohibiting something or the action will hurt another, why the heck would you need government permission?

Here is a little secret: If you ask permission, 95% of the time the answer will be NO, because the folks who run governments are risk averse and No is the safest answer. But what I am seeing is, even when the government official or minister says, “That sounds like a good idea!” the proponents continue to limp along, frozen by insecurity, waiting for something more from government.

Even the business community hesitates to act without government permission.

About the only thing you can get from the government is money and that usually comes with all sorts of strings and reports and pain. So, if you can find another source of funding, do so. Your life will be easier.

We also blame government for all our shortcomings. If something isn’t working out to our liking, it is the government’s fault. Just look at the whole COVID-19 thing. If the cases go up, it’s because government isn’t “handling” it right! How stupid is that? How can government handle a pandemic? All they can do is follow the will of the people and act on the advice, flawed or otherwise, of their health officials, who themselves are often confused and maybe ill informed. You can’t blame them either. Health officials look to “higher” levels of expertise for guidance, but those levels don’t always agree. Why? Because they don’t know and are forced to draw conclusions based on flawed evidence. Even the World Health Organization keeps changing its tune – or at least adding a lot of caveats to its original declarations.

So, it comes down to making informed decisions at the individual level based on the best information available, whether it is how to conduct yourself during a pandemic or how to start a new initiative for enterprise or social reasons. Governments don’t make these decisions – people do.

My friend Sudhir Sandhu, Executive Director of the Manitoba Building Trades Council, recently posted a monologue on the philosophical differences between I and We. In his mind, the We are more important than the I, but he acknowledges that there needs to be some sort of balance. 

I say that there can be no strong collective if the component parts, the I’s, are not strong. A collection of dependent weaklings is a collection of dependent weaklings, unable to think or do for themselves. They rely on “government”, or others, to make their decisions, govern their actions, take care of their children, their parents and ultimately themselves. But society needs the individuals, the “I” people who make things happen to build a strong foundation for collective action. And there is the balance.

If we are to have a healthy city, province and country, it must be made up of the folks who have the strength, creativity and determination to build the foundation. That means thinking, and doing without permission.

Here in Manitoba, we have forgotten how to be strong and independent; we lived under socialist rule where they demanded a role in everything we did for so many years. As a result, we have been fading away on the Canadian stage, no longer the leaders, the initiators, the creative geniuses we were once considered to be. Even our business class has been tainted with this attitude. But here and there we see glimmers of hope, little sparks that shine through the darkness. Problem is that their light is dimmed by the mythology of needing the government’s permission to do anything. We don’t.

If you have an idea, a plan, a budding enterprise, pursue it with all your might. If you share it with someone in government, good for you. It’s information. But don’t expect them to come and make it happen for you or to contact you to find out how you are coming along.

That is entirely up to you!

Just do it!