Exploring The Role Of Government Watchdogs In Canada And Its Influence On Society, Economics, And Politics

2551 words - 11 pages

Exploring The Role Of Government Watchdogs In Canada And Its Influence On Society, Economics, And Politics

Introduction
In our increasingly neoliberalized and privatized society, the concept of governance and ethical conduct has been falling from the grips of public dialogue and discussion. Self-regulation has become a “mantra for both governments and private industry in the neoliberal era (Burch et al., 2013, p. 259). Given the onset of recent environmental disasters related to the oil and gas industry, the oligarchic telecommunications industry, and our crippling health care system, the role for government watchdogs becomes ever more so important. Thus for any type of change to ...view middle of the document...

The first parliamentary Canadian ombudsman was established in Alberta in 1967 (Marin, 2009). An ombudsman acts as an impartial officer to the Parliament and is “unburdened by any political agenda or special interests” (Marin, 2009). Therefore, the ombudsman or watchdog has a strong mental framework that upholds values of public accountability and integrity. However, this may not always be the case with all watchdogs, as given that we live in a privatized and neoliberalized society, the room for manipulation, back-door deals, and lobbying efforts by corporations can have negative impacts.
Moreover, the need for government watchdogs spans various sectors of our economy. In particular, government watchdogs need to be more utilized within our healthcare system. For example, a report on ehealth by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that Canada currently ranks 21st in the world in information technology development (Webster, 2011, p. 298). Canada is one of the very few countries that have yet to develop a national electronic health records infrastructure system and this has impacted the country’s healthcare system. There are various ehealth related deficiencies in Canada’s healthcare system. These include “a lack of supportive federal laws and regulations, national procurement and technology policies, educational policies and scholarships, and evaluations to monitor progress on important areas such as the capacity to deliver health information to patients via mobile telephones” (Webster, 2011, p. 298-99). In turn, this requires a greater investment by government watchdogs to analyze the problem and make meaningful changes.

Certainly, this alludes to the notion of having a devoted ehealth watchdog in Canada. Due to the inefficiencies that Canada Health Infoway, a federal ehealth agency, has been experiencing creates an eminent need. Canada Health Infoway has no evaluation mandate, as it mismanaged its $4 billion in federal and provincial spending, and has struggled to meet goals such as ensuring health professionals having access to health records of 50% of Canadians by 2010 (Webster, 2011, p. 298-99). Given this issue, the vice-president of the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) argues that “Canada must adopt new and better measures to track and assess national ehealth efforts in order to ensure that the national investment in health properly addresses ‘the real paucity of clinical systems’ that currently exists, as well as long-term strategic issues such as the need to ensure that ehealth systems can be employed for medical research” (Webster, 2011, p. 298).

A current strategy must involve better tracking and monitoring of ehealth by trained professionals and analysts that are independent of the government (Webster, 2011, p. 298). For instance, the development of national policies around ehealth should be promoted through several aims such as ability to “facilitate timely clinical information between...

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