Let’s have Manitoba lead the way over the next decade

A good leader will envision where we want to be ten years from now and trace the way back. Photo by Natural Step Canada.
A good leader will envision where we want to be ten years from now and trace the way back. Photo by Natural Step Canada.
Dorothy Dobbie - Bold Idea
Dorothy Dobbie – Bold Idea

There seems to be a leadership deficit in Manitoba these days. We stumble along, patting ourselves on the back about how we sit right in the middle of the pack by nearly every measurement. We no longer seem to have what it takes to project ourselves into the position at the head of the parade and because of this, we are falling behind.
This is bad for our future. It doesn’t bring us new jobs, new prosperity or new opportunity.
It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. It just takes a determined and confident leader to put us back on the right path.
People think leadership is about telling others what to do, about being the person with the power, about being The One. And maybe that’s true in a way, but not in the way some might be thinking; that stuff is only a byproduct of the leadership exercise, rather than the function itself.
Leadership is about taking responsibility and giving others permission to make the right things happen. Leadership is about having the vision that can help stitch good ideas together harmoniously into a cohesive fabric that is more vivid and stronger than the ideas are individually. Like making a quilt, some of the ideas need trimming or turning or other small adjustments to make them fit, but that’s the leader’s job and the end result should be something bigger and better than the individual pieces.
So here’s the bold idea for the month: let’s choose a leader that will make this happen. We’ll know them when we see them. He or she will be the one listening thoughtfully to everyone: rejecting the frivolous, absorbing and building on the worthwhile and tossing back a picture that everyone can buy into.
This leader will see the way ahead with clarity and without fear. They will look at where we want to be five or ten years down the road, then they will trace and mark the way back to where we are now so we know the road to follow. After all, how can we plan if we don’t know where we are going?
Here are my ideas for that leader to use in stitching together his or her plan.
You won’t agree with all of them, but they may get you thinking so you can begin to develop your own advice for tomorrow’s leader.
1. Dismantle marketing boards which only support the status-quo, laissez-faire few and stifle enterprise among the energetic. Let people sell their fish and potatoes where they like! Marketing boards belong in the 20th century when communications were still difficult and everyone was afraid that war would break out any minute.
2. Get out of the business of selling alcohol and let business rationalize the market instead of doling out wine licences to a small number of favoured friends. Government-run corporations are another 20th century anachronism.
3. Corporatize marijuana like tobacco – it’s only a matter of time until this happens across the continent. Let’s be ahead of the curve instead of behind. Colorado collected $2 million in taxes in just one month!
4. Admit that private health care already exists and legitimize it in competition with government services. That doesn’t mean ending medicare; it means letting the wealthy, who now fly to Minnesota for treatment, pay their way to Canadians. This would uplift services on every level.
5. Double welfare rates and eradicate homelessness. See that those who are mentally ill or addicted get the proper care. It will be cheaper in the long run than the cruel, heartless system right now that starves children and sends folks to food banks and homeless shelters to sleep outside and sometimes freeze in the cold.
6. Feed kids who need it lunch and breakfast at school. They will learn better and become more productive.
7. Review and scrap pointless and onerous regulation; dismantle archaic programs; retrain public servants to respect the public they serve.
8. Finally, send a message of hope and encouragement to all enterprising citizens. Let them know how much we can achieve together if we put our minds to it. After all, no matter what political stripe we wear, we all want security from hunger and need. Put that together with the freedom to choose for ourselves and we have a powerful formula for success.
We are resourceful, creative and energetic people. Manitobans succeed and show leadership wherever they go all over the world. We can show that leadership here at home.

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