Sunday, 1 June 2008

A committee for the future

A recent issue of NOW Magazine had an article describing one of David Suzuki’s long held desires for Canada – to establish a super-ministry of the biosphere, with a mandate and enough inter-jurisdictional clout to ensure green progress is a part of what all the other ministries are doing.

I’m not sold on the super-ministry idea as is, but the concept of a body dedicated to vetting new laws and policies against long term interests could be interesting. For it to work it would have to go beyond the biosphere and consider all interests from economic to health, education, and reducing social inequalities. In 1992, the Finnish Parliament had a similar thought when they established the brilliantly named “Committee for the Future,” tasked with the overarching goal of keeping Finland on a path for meeting its long term development goals. It’s hard to say how transferable their model is or even if it’s as holistic as we’d need – but in Canada where governments have term limits and reelection providing incentive for “short term” successes, having an independent public body keeping their eye on the bigger picture might be worth giving some thought to.

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