Why I’m Promoting a DOS
Hi. My name is Allan Finney. I wrote this website. I’m promoting the idea of a Democracy Operating System because I see it as the only practical way of Canadians actually taking control of our country. Over the last decades particularly, Canada has been transformed into an elected dictatorship. We’ve had party discipline since John A. Macdonald institutionalized it in the 2nd Parliament in Canada. Pierre Trudeau particularly consolidated power in Cabinet and the trend has rapidly deteriorated since then.
While Canadians may complain about politics, there has to be some way forward for Canadians – average Canadians – to take back control from a political system that is out of control. And it’s not only a problem in Canada, it’s a problem around the world. Every person I’ve met will tell you about their own dislike of the political systems that have been foisted upon us.
For example, I was in Colorado once and struck up a conversation with a very funny American. The first thing out of his mouth? An apology for their great political leader at that time, George W. Bush. Why would he do that? Apparently it was a national embarrassment. I can’t imagine what he would say about Trump.
In the UK, I met a man in London who had recently lost his wife to cancer. He was out at a restaurant for the first time in months to celebrate his birthday after a period of mourning. The conversation quickly came around to – you guessed it – politicians. He had some direct experience in the British parliamentary system and he regaled us with stories about the bastards, as he called them.
And in Canada, this American and Brit would be kindred spirits. An Ipsos Reid poll I stumbled across a few years ago said that 95% of Canadians don’t trust politicians. 95%?? That’s like saying that our leaders only have the support of 5% of Canadians. That didn’t sound like much of a democracy to me so I decided to actually channel my distaste for our political system into something that I hoped would be constructive.
And during the course of my research what I found out about Canadian politic is is that your representative, who is supposed to represent you, is really just somebody else’s bitch due to a little practice called “party discipline.” And I use the word “bitch” in the prison sense of the term. Somebody who gains by acting in a way that goes against their morals. A prison bitch doesn’t want to be somebody’s bitch but he finds that acting in that way he can protect himself or gain something. Quite often, he or she is a victim of a system.
And bitch is the word that economically conveys what your Member of Parliament has become in Canada’s modern democratic system.
So what about my qualifications? I spent four and a half-years in provincial government. During that time I worked as a ‘communications officer’ or, as they have been described, a PR flack. This job allowed me to work with everyone from front line workers to the Deputy Minister’s office and, in a limited capacity, with the politicians themselves, although they usually had their own trusted PR types. I wrote speeches for executives, put out news releases, did Public Relations activities and produced other communications materials.
During that time, I was a first-person witness to what I call ‘institutional corruption’. This is where the people and companies that supported the politician get their rewards. At Canadian taxpayer expense, I might add. While we in the West judge other “third-world” countries based on ‘bribery’, in Canada we just make our corruption part of our system of government. It’s expected.
I was also a weekly newspaper reporter/editor and an editor at two daily newspapers in Canada. As well I have owned several businesses and have done communications and business consulting. So I’ve seen things from a number of perspectives – government, media, business and taxpayer. I’m certainly no ivory-towered academic. I have been in the trenches as they say. And I do have one talent that has helped me through this process and that’s assessing a good line of bullshit.
And I came by this particular talent quite honestly. My ancestry is Irish and Polish and I would sit around as a boy and get subjected to all kinds of truly expert bullshit from my uncles. I’m sure that they could have taught our modern politicians a thing or two. As well, I’m a recovered alcoholic and drug user so I’ve heard some of the best liars in the business go at it. You’ve never been truly lied to until you’ve been lied to by a junkie. I’ve found out that you can rationalize anything.
When I was with the government I certainly wrote a lot of bullshit. And, in terms of slinging bullshit, the media isn’t too far behind either as we’ve seen. And here’s the last point I have on this – if it really does take an expert to tell someone about something as basic as their system of governance, we are all in the deep shit as the Marines like to say.
One of the first things I did was to go through the history of our Canadian democracy – how did we get to this point? Where did we come from? And, in my naïve take on the world, the idea was to see how it has changed or evolved, if you will, from its 400-year-old roots. So I went through the whole process of tracing the history of Canadian’s democracy, right back to the Magna Carta. And I found that we’re operating under a 400-year old Medieval system of government that has survived largely intact to this day. You can take a look and judge for yourself if you like, but I followed the evidence where it led me and came to my own conclusion.
And, unlike academics, I wasn’t really limited to any special area of study. So, for example, why am I quoting from George Washington’s farewell address in a website about Canadian politics? Would political science types do that? I can’t answer that question because I don’t even know what a political scientist does. But I can quote George and I did. Because this man has something profound to say about modern politics in Canada. Something that I found relevant.
In his address I found one of the most succinct summations of the dangers of letting party politics into a system of governance that I had read anywhere. His incredible grasp of the problem and his predictions and warnings, something that was written over 200 years ago, accurately predicted exactly what is happening in Canadian politics today. Of course he wasn’t the only source, but the point is, I was not constrained as to where I could go or what I could do in writing this. So old Georgie made the cut.
When I saw a bunch of references to centralization and the dangers this poses to a system of government, I was free to explore the idea of decentralization. Since one of the definitions I found of democracy was a mask for rule by the elite, I was free to explore whether I could find any evidence to support or disprove that claim.
But in case you think I’m bringing you some lunatic fringe nutcase ravings from the dusty corners of the internet let me assure you that I’m not. I had criteria for the references and ideas I’m putting forward. They had to come from what I considered credible sources. They had to withstand the tests of time. Systems that I’m documenting had to be proven elsewhere – whether it’s a Democracy Operating System or a proven system of decentralization of large complex organizations.
Credibility was paramount – who was saying what about the source of the information? – if I didn’t know the guy who was writing it and I looked into his background – would I personally believe him? What is the motivation for him putting forward what he’s saying? So I had to weed out more information than I could possibly include. Because the amount of information that could have been included was overwhelming.
I also felt it was my job to simplify and present the relevant parts of what I found out. And to do it so that it could be readily understood. By everyone. You, me, the guy next door. Because all the politicians and the so-called experts and the political apologists will all tell you that government is somehow horribly complicated. That you need to leave it to the experts because an average Canadian couldn’t possibly understand it. You would just muck up the system. Just leave it to us and we’ll make sure you’re ok. We’re on your side. We’ll do the work for you. Trust us. Which is how we got into the refined mess we call Canadian politics in the first place.
But, further to my criteria, if I’m calling bullshit I had to have a reason and perhaps even more importantly an alternative. Because the task I also set for myself was that what I was writing had to be more than someone bitching about things. Or simply pointing out problems. The problems are readily apparent. Open up your newspaper and have a look. I was looking for solutions. Applied solutions. Proven solutions.
I have no political affiliation or ideology. So even though I bring up examples of specific political parties and people who belong to them, I’m using them as examples only, although some are better examples than others. I am firmly in the 95% ‘I don’t trust politicians’ camp. I don’t trust any of them. They, or their political masters, are in it for the money. Pure and simple. They could give a rat’s ass about you and me and the only thing they want from us is a vote.
And what about your MP – does all this apply to your individual Member of Parliament? I can’t say because I don’t know him and he may be very well intentioned, but even so, the system is stacked against him ( I use ‘him’ throughout this website but it could just as easily be a ‘her’) and, like it or not, in our system he’s somebody’s bitch. That’s how the system is set up. If your MP thinks he can trot off to Ottawa and make any difference in how the average Canadian is governed he is dreaming in Technicolor. The Canadian peasants, as you may have guessed, are you and me. The only time politicians do anything for us is because they have to. We are incidental, not central to the system.
So I found out that not only are there systems but there are entire movements going on in the world right now that could dramatically improve the 95% disapproval rating of our present political system of government and replace it with something much better. And all it will take is a few tweaks to “democracy”. We’re not starting a revolution here.
I found that business, government, charities, in fact just about every human enterprise that you can think of can harness the intelligence, capabilities and integrity of everyone in that organization. They’re called decentralized systems or “leaderless” systems. We all have something to contribute. Every one of us. And I’m basing that statement on real-world examples dating back to the 1940s. This isn’t fairy dust or wishful thinking. These systems have not only improved individual organizations but represent entire movements in human organization.
Everyone knows something about something that can be useful to the rest of us. The truly smart organizations tap into that intelligence. All of it. From everyone. Some of them are the most successful companies in the world. Right now there are thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of decentralized systems like this in daily use by people all around the world in enterprises ranging from small to globe-straddling.
Will you hear about these systems as a solution to our political problems from the Government of Canada or the mainstream media? You may get some inklings of it there, but, in a lot of cases, this isn’t where I found it with one particular exception brought to us by the Albertans who put up a website where anyone can access publicly-available information produced in Alberta.
And with a few quick searches on the Internet, you can find out about everything I’m talking about here for yourself. And make up your own mind. If you’re waiting for real solutions from Political Parties, the next candidate, the next leader or from your government or the mainstream media, I think you’ll be in for a huge disappointment or a very long wait. Or both. It hasn’t worked for the last 146 years why would we think it will work now?
So this is where my research has led me. And if I can point to one clear danger signal for Canada it’s an incredibly troubling statistic about young Canadians. That three out of four young Canadians didn’t vote in the last election. So, I asked myself, a bunch of self-absorbed Generation-X texting kids who couldn’t give a flying fart about anything except themselves and their own little world? Or a plugged-in bunch of highly motivated people who deeply and compassionately care about Canada and the rest of the world and are sending democracy a huge message?
So here’s what I’m urging you to do. Take a look. See if you agree or disagree. Do your own research. Convince yourself one way or another. And, making a prediction, I believe that Canadians will get involved in something that’s better than what we have today.
And that is – a system of good governance instead of a system of bad politics. And here’s something else that I truly believe – sometimes ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.
So let me ask you a question. What would you leave to your kids? A system of bickering corrupt politicians or a community where real Canadians can decide how their country should be run? There are no mysteries here. It’s a clear choice. This is not something that you can wish away. Either you become part of the solution or you remain part of the problem. We got here because good men stood by and did nothing. I cannot find a clearer issue, a more compelling statistic than a 95% buy-in. If 95% of Canadians agree that politicians are the problem, why do we, as one of the most thoughtful, caring nations on Earth allow this farce, this absolute nonsense to continue? This is not rocket science folks.
So how come I think I can make a difference? I was watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs and they showed David Krejci’s hockey stick which had these two phrases written on it – If not me then who? If not now then when? On a hockey stick no less. Inspiration is where you find it but that is truly Canadian inspiration, even though he’s a Czech. And even if he was probably borrowing a phrase from the Babylonians.
And the only other thing I know with absolute certainty at this point in my life is that I’m going to die. Same with my two incredible children. We’re all headed to the ground. So are you.
And when you die and when I die here’s the only question that will remain – how did he live? Was he able to get the most toys and die a winner as the phrase goes? Or did he leave something else behind, something that you can point to and say now that is an accomplishment.
I truly believe that if we are able to answer that question before we die then we are ahead of the game. Because in our deaths lies the truth of our lives. The truth of who we are. At your funeral, I doubt that anybody will start describing the cool twin-turbo car you may have driven. But they will want to hear about your life. What you stood for. So what could I get involved with that could possibly make a difference? That would truly benefit someone when I’m gone? Now that’s a question worth answering and there’s nothing for it except the trying.