The results have - alas! - been, to say the least, disappointing. Take the issue of "accountable government". According to one on-line definition, the adjective "accountable" means:
"subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something; responsible; answerable"
In general terms, authorities (parents, teachers, health professionals, ministers of religion, civil servants..) are under obligation to protect those they are held accountable for. This is often expressed in legal language with penalties attatching to those authorities failing to meet their stipulated obligations. Penalties, including fines, loss of office or renumeration, and prision may be applicable. Thus parents who do not provide adequately for their children are indictable under child protection legislation. Applying the same logic, a government which does not provide its citizens with adequate information concerning potential risks associated with industrial activities is morally indictable for breach of trust with its citizenry.
An article appearing today, october 14, in The Globe and Mail raises the spectre of moral indictability on the part of the Harper government in its (mis-)management of the shale gas extraction file:
".. there is no requirement in Canada for companies to disclose what chemicals they use in fracturing – as there is in several (American) states."
Now the hick is that several of the chemicals used in "fracking" operations to liberate natural gas from its mineral matrix are toxic and potentially capable of contaminating potable water aquifers. Why does our government not require gas extraction companies to divulge the chemicals they employ in their operations? If they do not establish such regualtory frameworks are they not showing a lack of accountability, one of the planks they ran on last election?
In reality, the list of failures of accountability on the part of the government is quite shocking: