[WSIS CS-Plenary] Answer to the North Amercan CS representative
lissjeffrey at sympatico.ca
Sat Oct 28 13:28:30 BST 2006
These are transitional times.
Francis I am not alone in thanking you for taking action during this
transition, when some of us are not so active,
and I look forward to further discussion of the substance of CS positions.
Of course we need to reveiew the legitimacy of the CS decision making. This
is not new.
But the tone of RG's email is suspect and troubling.
again, let me be clear - I don't see myself as being on the CSB anymore.
>In fact, no one else should either. It's mandate is up - and subject to
>review and reassessment by the larger plenary groups.
It would seem once again that this is a position of convenience.
On your question, Francis:
no doubt that there was an active and transparent
discussion within the North American civil society that is approving
unanimously your methods.
What were , according to your own words, the processes of consultation,
and decision making within the North American Civil Society ?
[ end quote]
No, this was not the case. It has never been the case, despite suggestions
that it should be the case!
That is what the eCommons has called for consistently, consultation more
broadly as a way towards CS education and mobilization at home, and also
legitimacy in the larger arenas , but this has not been done.
CS people in Canada have been excluded from the Canadian process, and that
is easy to establish because objections to this exclusion are on the public
online and offline record.
RG has been quite central to this exclusion. That is why it is ironic and
troubling that he now should attack Francis ( and the original post did
read like an attack, however well intentioned its author and others believe
it to have been.)
Two of our members ( including me) were deliberately dropped from an email
list supposedly started for consultation and information on North American
and Cdn CS Wsis activities.
There have been many other strange and divisive acts undertaken. No answer
has ever been given when questions have been raised.
It has never been clear, despite questions raised, how we ended up with a
rep for North America, Europe ( and?) the ICS, one who also advised the
Canadian government formally and informally, and claimed to speak for people
who were not consulted.
The only time a transparent and independent procedure was conducted in
Canada ( for Wsis 1, Geneva), 3 civil society reps were selected based on
applications solicited and received, and RG was *not* one of them. he was
not an official member of the Cdn delegation at the prepCom 3, nor at the
final Wsis 1 meeting, nor did he withdraw from the CSB when he was not on
the delegation, as far as what I understood at the time.
After that, the procedure was not so transparent, and complaints about the
procedure addressed to Canadian Commission on Unesco went ananswered
( including taking issue with allowing a celebrity johnny come lately to
speak for Canadians when there were so many good alternatives available
notably on human rights where Canada has credibility, and Tunisia does not).
Again, that was then and this is now, and of course it is timely to
reconsider CS legitimacy as I have now argued for years in many venues. ( I
argued this in Halifax in June, 2003, and in Berlin after Wsis 1, with CS
members at a meeting in 2004, arguing that it would hurt our longer term
cred to have such limited transparency ourselves, and had argued this before
and after becoming a member of the Cdn delegation!) I never could get an
answer as to how we ended up with a non accountable rep for such a large
territory -- North America, Europe, and ICS: can one be serious!
However the way to do that renewal of legitimacy IMO is not to attack people
like Francis who are trying to keep things going during the transition.
This is particularly problematic when the source of the critique cannot
withstand scrutinty ( except rhetorically) on this same issue.
Liss Jeffrey, PhD
Member Canadian delegation, Wsis 1, Geneva.
Director McLuhan global research network,
Founding director, eCommons/agora electronique
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