Time Lines

As humans we live with a time line that’s broken into Minutes, Hours, & Days.

A business works with a time line that’s broken into Weeks, Months & Years.

Governments function on Years, Terms & Decades.

Individually we have a hard time dealing with how long it takes for any true changes to be made by any government. The word Quickly when used to describe the speed at which legislation is passed can mean 5 – 10 years.

Big changes come as the result of small steps as part of a solid plan.

Without question I have a wish list for myhalifax, so does every citizen, business, group or government department. The trick is to find the right combination of objectives that when put together takes myhalifax to the next step in its development. Status Quo is not an option. Any situation that stops growing is dead in the water and will end its existence if not kicked into action.

Cost Benefit Analysis


Years ago while I was in my final year of a Bachelor of Commerce Degree at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, I took a course in Macro Economic Theory & Financial Policy Decisions from visiting Professor Donald Ferguson, PhD, a man in his late 70’s who had worked and studied with John Maynard Keynes who was doubtlessly one the most important figures in the entire history of economics.

Born in Inverness, Cape Breton, Professor Ferguson had a long and distinguished academic career at Harvard and was a well respected authority and author on Economic & Financial Policy.

In his day Don Ferguson had helped guide more than a few state / provincial and federal governments through all types of economic climates and social changes. He vacationed in Cape Breton and often spent time talking at length with Allen J MacEachern and was well known in Ottawa during the late 60’s. He came to Halifax and SMU to relax in his retirement, finish his last publication, teach part time and spend time with his friend from the Kennedy White House (West Wing) years Professor Ed McBride.

I must put the time perspective in place, I was sitting in Professor Ferguson’s class in the fall of 1975 & spring of 1976.

In one of those classes he paraphrased said:

‘Any project that involves the use of the public’s money, changes to infrastructure or the modification of the process by which Joe Q Public deals with his government, lives within his community or affects the tax burden he carries, MUST have a thorough and rigorous [CBA] Cost Benefit Analysis.

The problem we face and will continue to face is that the CBA process has been taken over by the accountants & engineers of this world. By nature they make their decisions based on a mathematical equations or matrix that has very little flexibility or tolerance for the things that Joe Q Public needs to be comfortable and happy.

With any project the reality is that many of the Costs and Benefits are not financial and are very hard to quantify. That’s where the phrase ‘ for the betterment of ….the majority or the community or society’ becomes so important.

Public Opinion Polls are used to gage the community needs but can be easily and sometimes deliberately misrepresented. In the end, in order for positive changes to take place it requires an understanding of the need, the public’s consent to the proposed change / project and most importantly the political will to follow through to completion…. no matter how long it takes or costs.’

Political Will

Now there is an interesting term. Here is an image of political will ….

“Political will”, ….. refers to the demonstrated credible intent of political actors (elected or appointed leaders, civil society watchdogs, stakeholder groups, etc.) to attack perceived causes or effects of corruption at a systemic level.

Without it, governments’ statements to reform civil service, strengthen transparency and accountability and reinvent the relationship between government and private industry remain mere rhetoric. Neither the presence nor the absence of political will can be presumed in any single initiative. It is manifest in the degree to which reform initiatives are participative and incorporate a range of political actors and civil society. Political will is affected by many variables that can be the subject of action. [From: INTEGRITY IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES by SAHR J. KPUNDEH]

The issue we face in myhalifax is does anyone out there have the political will needed to take Halifax into the next phase of growth?

If its dealing with stray cats I suppose we do …..


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