COLUMN: Coffee shop problem solving

The world’s political and business leaders, plus a handful of activist groups and entertainment “stars” are off at a ski resort in Davos, Switzerland, trying to solve the world’s problems. There is a much simpler, and cheaper, way of doing this, the simple coffee shop.

Every town has one, national chains and greasy spoons alike. This writer is known to veer away from the iconic brand of Canada and go for a more honest cup of joe. Thirty minutes of conversation with others over a couple of cups of coffee can work out most issues.

Sometimes there is spirited debate. Left versus right. Will Trump get the Republican nomination? What to do about hydro prices? Why are municipalities wasting tax money? What’s wrong with the Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres? Thirty minutes and common sense prevails. Ways of thinking are changed, perspective is understood. There is even consensus, most of the time.

Why do politicians, regardless of political level, feel they need to have big fancy meetings everywhere to figure this out? They hire consultants tell them right from wrong, how to do their job, and go to big conventions or meetings to hob-knob. Go to a coffee shop, grab a cup and talk things out. Grab a napkin and draw up the plan for some new program or how to fix an issue. Have a personnel issue, sit, talk, work it out.

Yes, it sounds simplistic, but the simplest answers often are the best. Especially compared to the alternatives.

Which sounds like a better use of taxpayers money? Fly the federal cabinet to some resort in New Brunswick to meet for two days; or go to one of over 40 Tim Hortons in Ottawa? Better yet, use the cabinet offices on Parliament Hill and send out for coffee. Tim Hortons does have those coffee-box kits.

Not only does coffee shop thinking help solve all the world’s problems, it keeps those in power at the level of the people they represent. Something no elected official should ever forget.

A cup of coffee to solve issues is affordable for everyone. Sitting down and talking issues out, only costs time. Most elected officials think consultants and lawyers are the way to solve problems though. They forget that fees and buyouts do not cost them money, it is just tax money, who cares about that? If voters have an issue with how they do their job, they can vote on it at the next election. A disrespectful attitude for a politician to take, but far too many do.

If politicians of all levels and stripes sat down at the local coffee shop and worked out the issues, instead of paying “experts” to do it for them, voters would have more faith in their abilities, warts and all. Plus it’s cheaper than sending them to Switzerland.

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