Over the last six months Canadians have seen what might be an unprecedented amount of news surrounding corruption in our political system. Questionable moral and ethical decisions and actions are found at all levels of government ranging from appointed civil servants all the way to our country’s top politician. Canadians are now left feeling disenfranchised as levels of government across the political spectrum continue to do their best to show why voting for them was a mistake.
The SNC-Lavalin affair is a mess. There is significant evidence to suggest that the prime minister’s office went too far in trying to influence the independence of the Canadian justice system. Many Canadians feel affronted by the actions and words of Justin Trudeau who campaigned on promises of being a “people’s prime minister” and not the career politician that we had grown so tired of. Federal Electoral reform is all but dead in the water and the Canadian government now owns a pipeline that might not even be built. Let’s also not forget Mr. Trudeau’s paid for vacation on a private Carribean with Aga Khan which was found to break 4 sections of Canada’s conflict of interest laws for cabinet members and their staff. But here we are four years later with the same old story and the latest polls are reflecting how Canadians are feeling with the Conservatives pulling ahead of the Liberals over the last couple of weeks.
In reality this type of corruption, betrayal, or abuse of power is not isolated to a single party or political leaning. In our own backyard we have appointed officials under investigation for unreasonable and lavish spending; such as when 4 officials received around $660 000 dollars in long service bonuses $250 000 (more than double the average MLA salary) of which went to the Clerk of the house. Or when the Clerk of the house expensed $140 for a tech support visit to his house for a iMac mouse that was out of battery. Much of this was carried out under the oversight of the long standing B.C. Liberal government, leading to former speaker and B.C. Liberal MLA Linda Reid being removed from her post as assistant deputy speaker. Much of the overspending now leaves British Columbians wondering what else happened with taxpayer dollars over the last 10 years.
On the other side of the country in Ontario we are wrapping up a despicably obvious display of nepotism and abuse of power from Premier Doug Ford. Former interim Ontario Provincial Police commissioner, Brad Blair, was fired when he blew the whistle on Ford’s attempt to purchase a $50,000 vehicle equipped with a mini-fridge, TV, and Blu-ray player. Furthermore, Ford was simultaneously lowering the requirements for the open position of OPP commissioner so that his close friend, Ron Taverner, could easily move into the position. Taverner has since withdrawn his name from the race for commissioner and Deputy Chief Thomas Carrique has since been appointed.
Corruption, nepotism, and abuse of power are a plague across the Canadian political landscape. These damaging failures of human character are fuel to the political narratives that seek to create turmoil and divide a united Canada. Furthermore, it erodes the public trust in our systems of government and discourages people from voting and participating in the political process. Instead of political parties trying to convince Canadians to vote for them, the challenge might be for parties to convince Canadians to vote at all.