Here's a question I have for you. How much of your discomfort over how "fixes" are handled in Ubuntu is there because of previous actions taken by Canonical employees specifically versus Ubuntu community volunteers or for that matter Ubuntu contributors who are employeed to work on Ubuntu packages by other companies.
Are the problems you see systemic in to the entire Ubuntu contributor base. Or are the problems you see associated with only the manhours that Canonical as a corporate entity has direct influence over how they are spent?
If you think the problem is systemic you should see if you can start a discussion inside Ubuntu to look at reforming at the package maintainership model that is being used. A systemic problem could be addressed by adjusting the team concept Ubuntu is using to add more individual accountability. For example teams could grow a specific tasking to just deal with upstream patch submission and sheparding and make a specific individual accountable for that in some way...if that sort of thing isn't there already. I'm thinking some sort of public flogging for failure to push patches upstream... or maybe a form of gladiatorial combat. Lot's of options really.