The only thing worse than
an uninformed public in a democracy is no democracy at all. So when public
safety is involved, what is “safe enough” and who decides?
Can the authorities involve the public in developing regulations that
will affect public safety without losing control or getting bogging down in
petty politics? Yes, the public can
and should be involved.
Most people will consent to a decision, even one they might not agree with, if they believe it was reached fairly and intelligently. Thus, any public consultation process must first provide for substantive and procedural fairness. Second, to understand and resolve any problem, the facts and interests of all stakeholders must be freely aired and debated.
A confident, informed public can contribute significantly not only to the issue at hand but more importantly, to the efficiency, effectiveness and future health of communities and our democratic form of government. Trust and communication are the bricks and mortar of community and democracy. Without both, we have neither.
it seems risky, a genuine and consistent engagement of the public in a fair and
open process is probably the best risk mitigation of all.
The more you open up and show some vulnerability, the more people will
trust you. This is one of the keys
to managing public risk.
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Risk Solutions offered by CADMUS:
Mike Murphy has been a risk management consultant for the last four years. Prior to that, he spent 17 years (78-96) with Transport Canada, his last five as Regional Director General, Aviation in Winnipeg. Originally trained as a professional pilot, he is the author of an internationally acclaimed 500-page report entitled "An Evaluation of Emergency Response Services at Airports in Canada," currently in its second revised edition (August 1999) and is undergoing a third major revision. He is also the Chairman of the Air Passenger Safety Group (APSG) www.transport2000.ca/APSG , a Director of Transport 2000 Canada www.transport2000.ca, a Director of the Ottawa Chapter of Christian Businessmen's Committee (CBMC) www.cbmc.net and the Secretary General of the Peugeot Club of North America (PCNA). www.peugeotclub.org
His first major involvement in public consultation was at Transport Canada where he was at the time responsible for the national aviation enforcement program. Concerned that the unchecked powers exercised by government officials had the potential to be oppressive, he provided the aviation industry with a public forum where they were free to 'throw darts' at TC's enforcement policy without any fear of recrimination. After several year of lively and productive dialogue, which lead to important revisions, even the industry critics admitted their once sharp arrows had been downgraded to those of a 'rubber-tipped' variety. He has used the same "no recrimination" open communication style to pull great ideas and honest feedback from staff, clients and the aviation industry for over 15 years.
Most recently, as chair of the Air Passenger Safety Group, he organized the first-ever Air Passenger Safety Symposium in Ottawa which provided a representative group of passengers with an opportunity to hear all sides of the debate on a particular issue. The all-day event in August 1999 included speakers from all the major stakeholders, a question and answer period and a panel discussion. Passengers then answered a five point questionnaire, the results of which were published and sent to the Honourable David Collenette, Minister of Transport. Murphy believes that eventually the airlines and/or Transport Canada will see the value in hosting this sort of open and balanced interaction with airline passengers.
(Available in Word 97 by email or by fax from):
e-mail: Michael Murphy
CADMUS Corporate Solutions Limited,
59 Queensline Drive,
Nepean, Ontario K2H 7J4
Tel. (613) 829-0602 Fax (613) 829-6720
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