In the February 14 column I mentioned parenthetically Eby’s ebbing and Horgan’s hosing the flames in the ICBC “dumpster”. I am coming back to that because there is more to be said.
David Barrett instituted ICBC in 1973. In the 47 years since, ICBC has been commanded by several premiers who mostly abused it, but all let it be because they would not dare take it away from the people. They could obfuscate maligning it, but could not hide killing it. Thus ICBC survived politicians who would have happily done it in.
Bureaucracies, especially government ones, grow fat fast. But it is not only its own weight that causes ICBC to wobble dangerously. Most drastic are some lawyers who are furiously sucking the life out of it.
Upon determining that the ICBC is like a “burning dumpster”, the first thing AG Eby did (a lawyer himself) was assure the Legal profession that their hold on the ICBC remained safe. Then he started spitting at the flames, so to speak. He devised a highly bureaucratic auto-insurance premium increase sham and disguised it as “rationalization” of the ICBC operations. In effect it will fatten the bureaucracy and feed more to lawyers. To people this is costly, irritating and perilous. This due to the complexities of administering it and the adjudication of compliance with the convoluted “co-driver” scheme. Eby did other things too, such as removing the “deductible” for fixing car windshield nicks – what could one say to that?
I have written to Eby and each time he has responded with silence. Evidently I was not the only one thus treated. This made people go directly to Premier Horgan to let him know what they think of his government’s fire-extinguishing skills. One guesses the mailbag was heavy and activated the election-defeat alarm.
Horgan elbowed Eby aside and brought his hose to the burning dumpster. He acted to pacify the agitated populace and to bribe the “silent majority” for the approaching election.
I do not mean to rain on Horgan’s parade – to praise him comes easier. People are applauding Horgan and the lawyers accuse him of breaking his promise to leave ICBC to the lawyers. These speak to the goodness of the Horganization of the ICBC. It is good but it is not enough.
Horgan has stayed short of democracy. He acted as if wisdom is confined to the “inside stakeholders”, this being an early symptom of affliction with the “power corrupts” syndrome. There is abounding wisdom lurking in the crania of the “external stakeholders” who in the ICBC instance comprise virtually the whole populace. They are awaiting to be tapped.
Democracy compels Horgan to stimulate the genesis and the evolution of ideas and harvest the crop to craft the democratic solution to problems like that of the ICBC.
It is imperative that Eby and Horgan understand that they are employed by the “external stakehoders”, us the populace, mandated to control the “internal stakeholders”, this among the other tasks incumbent to their posts. Regrettably, the line of command has been seriously confused – now they must restore the natural order and turn their ears to us the populace who employ them.
At the point we are now, my suggestion is: Publish ICBC “parameters” such as total revenue and claim payout; the amount of legal fees ICBC incurs to fight back attacking lawyers; the amount claimants pay lawyers to fight the ICBC; particulars of “no-fault insurance”; and other pertinent facts.
I suggest that the government, (definitely not the ICBC), advertise widely an invitation for ideas to make ICBC the best it can be; stipulate submissions be in writing and accompanied with a 100-word or less “abstract”; assure that all submissions will be posted un-edited, immediately upon arrival, in, let’s call it: “www.ICBCrevamp.com”; and that the abstracts will be linked to the whole submission paper; accommodate nom de plume for postings by authors requesting privacy; state that comments on the submissions are invited on the same terms as original submissions and would be linked to the submission to which they appertain; state that authors of submissions incorporated in the revamp will be credited accordingly, unless they requests anonymity.
And let the chips fall where they may because that is the fair way, that is what Democracy is all about, that is how Democracy works to produce the best pragmatic solution to any problem in every instance, at any time.