Some things never seem to change. Led by Mayor Tory, the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee once again recommended for 2017 the adoption of a budget that failed to address adequately the servicing challenges facing the city because of an unwillingness to raise the revenues needed to do so. Yet even the modest tax increases outlined in the budget prompted the usual knee-jerk response about the crushing burden of the property tax – led by Doug Ford and council gadfly Giorgio Mammoliti.
The proliferation of social media means that anyone can post anything and have it shared and circulated around the world almost instantaneously. This technological marvel is very much a mixed blessing. It allows totally unfiltered content that often has no basis in reality but quickly becomes accepted wisdom because it is found on the Internet. As Emma Teitel wrote over three years ago “anyone with a bad attitude and an IP address can make the nightly news, or launch an all out cultural war.” The Internet, she wrote, “has a particular knack for turning the virtual equivalent of bathroom wall scrawl into the issue of the day.”
One can’t help wondering what she would make of President Trump’s use of Twitter to announce policy initiatives. Major changes in government policy are suddenly released in a tweet, to be followed soon after by an executive order implementing the change. Very efficient indeed, or is it? Let’s take a closer look at traditional policy making and the new, improved (?) Trump version.
C. Richard Tindal, Ph.D is a retired Professor of Government. He taught for 30 years at St. Lawrence College, Kingston and was an occasional Visiting Professor at Queen's University. He has also written and consulted extensively about government.