It Ought To Be A Crime
“Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.”
Typically, with the possible exception of the willfully blind, our opinions are formed by our life experience and by whatever facts we trip over on our journey through the wilderness. This doesn’t always guarantee a good opinion because our experience may have been overly positive or negative and our facts may be incomplete but it is reality. Our opinions are a product of where we’ve been and what we know.
The other inalienable fact is that opinions sometimes change because our experience or our knowledge has changed.
Preston Manning, former leader of the ultra-conservative Reform Party once believed that any kind of carbon tax was simply wrong. Over the past few years, he has moderated his opinion to the point where he seems to now believe that there may well be a role for some form of carbon taxation to play in controlling greenhouse gas emissions. Some of his former supporters weren’t overly impressed with his new opinion but it is what it is and it underscores that even the most hardened opinion can change with more experience or new facts.
As most of my regular readers know by now, I have fairly strong opinions with which some of my readers seldom agree. Fair enough but my opinions are based on my personal life experience and whatever facts I’ve learned. I don’t usually go looking for facts to support my opinion, I simply try to remain open to new facts as they appear. I don’t always succeed because I can be quite stubborn, even obstinate, at times.
My politics have been going through some transformation over the past couple of years and my opinions have changed along with it. I’m still quite conservative but I feel disconnected from the current brand of conservatism being practiced these days. That doesn’t mean I’m leaning left because I’m not. I don’t see anything over there that’s necessarily better and my discontent extends across the political spectrum.
My opinions are being changed by some hard salient facts that pertain to politics and politicians in general and I have found it increasingly difficult to ignore them any longer.
Here are some of the facts that have forced me to revise some of my opinions.
Former Conservative Party of Canada election campaign worker, convicted of elections fraud following the RoboCall scandal
Conservative Senator Mike Duffy
Currently facing 31 charges including breach of trust, accepting a bribe and fraud. Expelled from Conservative Party and suspended without pay from Senate
Former Liberal Senator Mack Harb
Currently facing charges of breach of trust and fraud. Retired from Senate, just before charges were laid, to protect his pension
Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin
Under investigation by the RCMP for possible breach of trust and fraud related to the use of her Senate expense account. Expelled from Conservative Party and suspended without pay from Senate
Liberal MP Scott Anderson
Expelled from Liberal caucus resulting from allegations of sexual harassment
Liberal MP Massimo Pacetti
Expelled from Liberal caucus resulting from allegations of sexual harassment
Conservative MP Peter Penashue
Forced to resign seat in the House of Commons after violating Election Spending Act; defeated in following bi-election.
Conservative MP Dean Del Maestro
Convicted of violation of Elections Act currently awaiting sentencing
Former Liberal Cabinet Minister Joe Fontana
Convicted of fraud against the government. He left federal politics to become Mayor of London but has been forced to step down as a result of his conviction. He is awaiting sentencing.
Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeu
Suspended from the Senate after being charged with domestic assault also now facing breach of trust and fraud charges related to Senate expense claims. Expelled from Conservative Party and suspended without pay from the Senate
Former Chief of Staff in Prime Minister’s Office. Forced to resign after it was revealed that he issued the $90,000 cheque that led to bribery charges laid against Mike Duffy. Forced to resign from PMO.
Former aide to the Prime Minister convicted of fraud before his appointment now facing new charges of fraud and influence pedaling
Appointed by Stephen Harper to Head CSIS, Canada’s Spy Agency. Now in a Panamanian jail fighting extradition to Canada to face fraud charges. His wife has already been convicted for her role in the fraud.
NDP MP Tyrone Benskin, NDP MP Hoang Mai and Dimitri Soudras (former Ex Dir PC Party)
Charged by Canada Revenue Agency for failure to pay outstanding taxes. All three have since come to terms with CRA to make payment.
Liberal MP Frank Valeriote
Found guilty of violating the Telecommunications Act during the RoboCall Scandal of 2011 election. Fined
NDP MP Manon Perreault
Facing charges of misleading police during investigation of misuse of her Parliamentary expense account
Former Conservative Mayor Rob Ford
Admitted to illegal drug use (crack cocaine) and driving under the influence. Also admitted to lying to cover it up. He was re-elected to sit as member of Toronto City Council
Former Liberal Senator Wilfred Lavigne
Found guilty of fraud, breach of trust and obstruction of justice. Sentenced to six months in prison and six months further at home detention. Started serving sentence in 2011
Former Conservative Premier Allison Redford
Forced to resign as Party Leader and Premier after allegations of spending abuses and misuse of government resources. RCMP has completed investigation but no charges will be laid.
Former Conservative Cabinet Minister Bev Oda
Forced to retire after repeated misuse of expense account
Former Conservative now Liberal MP Eve Adams
Reprimanded for interfering in riding nomination process. Left Conservative caucus to join Liberals after she was advised she would not be allowed to run for re-election as a Conservative
Conservative Party of Canada
Charged with violation of Elections Act in what is now called In and Out scandal. Settled with payment of fine paid to Elections Canada.
Accused of Voter Suppression under the Elections Act for misleading robocalls during 2011 election. One campaign worker convicted.
New Democratic Party
Ordered by Parliament to repay money for misuse of Parliamentary Office budgets to fund Party constituency offices. Currently fighting order in court.
Forced to repay illegal campaign contributions from various unions.
Senate of Canada
Every Canadian Senator is now being audited by the Auditor General to determine if there is systemic misuse of expenses.
Liberal Party of Canada
Various former Liberal operatives convicted of fraud and given prison sentences for their roles in the Sponsorship Scandal.
Quebec government probe into corruption in politics. Hearings have been completed and report is being prepared but already a number of municipal politicians are facing charges for fraud.
Liberal Party of Ontario
Currently facing no less than three separate police investigations including bribery in Sudbury bi-election., the Ornge Air Ambulance Scandal and the government’s role in the cancellation of two gas-fired power plants for political gain. (As a side note, three of the executive of the Ontario Provincial Police Union are being investigated by the RCMP for possible fraud. They have been suspended from their positions.)
I’m quite certain that this list is not definitive or complete but it already reads more like a rap sheet for the mob than anything else. It makes you proud of those we trust to govern and the people they appoint and hire doesn’t it?
But what does it say about us?
We elected them, many continue to support one party or another with almost rabid allegiance. So I ask again, what does that say about us? Are our values as corrupt as theirs or are we so blinded by partisanship that we refuse to hold those we support to the same standard to which we hold those we oppose?
I believe that level of blind partisanship is undermining our values as a society. I believe that it means that many are putting their politics ahead of the values of our country and that, my friends, drags us down to the same level as too many politicians.
It is this continuously escalating unethical and outright criminal behaviour from politicians at all levels of government and from all political parties that has changed my opinion about supporting one over another. The success of my country is more important to me than a political ideology.
I believe we are (or should be) Canadians before we are Liberal, Conservative or whatever and I further believe it is well past time we remembered that. I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t always believe that but the facts speak for themselves and I can’t ignore them anymore.
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