Monday, September 2, 2013

August 30, 2013 Corruption makes the world go round: just a thought

This was the post that was to be put up Friday, August 30, 2013 but got pre-empted.
The earlier post of Friday, August 30, 2013 can be found right here.

The flanoor. 

Canadians were promised peace, order and good government in the original legislation for Upper Canada in the late 1800s.  This was the bedrock ideal citizens were to experience as part of their governance.  Peace was important in 1867, because North America had just experienced the catastrophe of the US Civil War, and that nation survived, albeit in a damaged fashion.  Order was also important in the wake of the cataclysms that happened in Europe twenty years prior, during the year of 1848.  Order was important to the British governance of Upper and Lower Canada, given the experience of the Fenian Raids and suggestions from some US hawks that the Canadas could be invaded once more as a reaction to the Civil War.
                
We were promised good government.  We were going to have good governance to ensure social order to support the political order, as well this social order would support peace that would result.  Except that good governance is a process based on experience, and that phrase assumes that we will have a polity that supports development and growth at all levels, not merely the economic.
                
We have been politically betrayed.  There are examples of corruption and disorder I can give to support my argument: we live in corrupt times and that corruption is getting more covert.   

To put it in one sentence, corruption is now a normal part of governance and social transaction in Canada.
                 
Observing recent political developments in Canada there are open examples of this corruption.  As one example, the G20 demonstrations included a fence, a closed downtown, ordinary citizens being accosted and investigated for having something as simple as a backpack, or as innocuous as wearing a black t-shirt.  Then we learned there was a law on the books that ‘justified’ the resulting police actions.  The result was that there was a reactionary response against the police and their public image was damaged, probably beyond public repair.

At the federal level, we have Senate scandals, wherein four senators are being or have been investigated for fraud.  In addition, Senator Pamela Wallin has been forced to give up all non-essential travel as well as endure having her spending investigated.  (most recently, she has been ordered to pay back $139k of money she was found to have inappropriately charged; Mac Harb has resigned, apparently keeping his pension [August 27, 2013])  We then learned about residential schools experimentation, which apparently took place about eight years after the Second World War, and after the Nuremburg trials. [SOURCE: “The truth about Indian schools”, Toronto Star, July 21, 2013, by Joanna Smith, Insight section]

There are provincial scandals around gas plants being moved from Mississauga to Sarnia, apparently at a much greater expense than we have been led to believe.  There are missing emails about the gas plants being moved.  [SOURCE: “If we let Grits get away with this, playing dumb will become standard”, John Robson, Toronto Sun, June 16, 2013, p. 6]  Apparently, people in the know knew more than they ever let on; a sure sign of corruption.  And, we have the chemotherapy mixing scandal, in which a private company was contracted to provide mixed medications that turned out to be diluted. [SOURCE: “No harmful intent”, Antonella Artuso, Toronto Sun, August 8, 2013, p.10]

At the city level we have the ongoing Rob Ford scandal wherein he was allegedly caught smoking crack.  That tape has apparently since disappeared, but there are also investigations into the people involved.  At least one person involved in the video has been arrested.  That scandal includes those who lost their jobs or have resigned from the mayor’s office over this scandal.

The question we should ask as a result of the scandals, is if these scandals were manufactured or if the government is taking advantage of the scandals to push forward its own agenda.  As one last point that should give us a reason to think and act critically, it has recently been revealed that Harper, like Richard Nixon, has an enemies list, and this list is to be adhered to by his underlings and minions – or else.  We need to understand that these incidents point to one conclusion: corruption really does make the world go around.
               
So what?  What if there is a normal state of corruption in the world?  If that is true, and this is the open secret, what does that say about our culture?  If those who serve are ‘on the take’ – hypothetically speaking – then there is more to these stories than meets the eye.  

Really: is this how we want our society to work?

Lately, (as of August 22 2013, approximately) the Harper government and Harper is considering proroguing parliament until October – apparently the second time he has done this in the last few years.  Harper is also considering abolishing the Senate in Canada.  If memory serves me correctly, one of the Harper party platforms was that they wanted to either create an elected (triple-e) senate or abolish the senate altogether.  This is why Thomas Mulcair’s statement that it was time to abolish the Senate was so puzzling: eliminating the senate was part of Harper’s original platform.  Mulcair made a statement about this Tuesday August 27, 2013 on the television news.
               
In addition, the prime minister’s office has been found to have had more of an apparent hand in what happened with the Senator Duffy scandal; and there are indications that the PMO knew about the repayments on Duffy’s behalf.  Given how much control the PMO has over information flowing through its office, it is unlikely that there was ignorance in this office for a change. [SOURCE: “PMO denies withholding Duffy email”, Joan Bryden, Toronto Star, July 18, 2013, p. A17]

Harper is proroguing parliament until October, so that, some analysts say, he can prepare the economic strategy for the next year. [SOURCE: CBC newsworld, August 28, 2013] Of course, having parliament prorogued like this again gives Harper time to train up his new Cabinet members in the fine art of toeing the line to avoid having to answer questions.  This is anti-democratic – assuming that we live in a democracy in the first place.

We don’t have another election federally until October 2015, and that is too long to wait, but wait we must.  The question is, with the Quebec Bill 52 up for debate, how much more will we have to endure in the meantime, given that we have put up with this apparent corruption already?  I hope we will never have to find out, but I have a feeling that things will get worse, unless we do something together to make sure that our democratic voice is not silenced or discounted. 

Except, if corruption really does make the world go around, we as ordinary citizens have already been discounted and marginalized politically.  If it is known that we have no power, then we are a danger if we wake up politically – and that can never be allowed to happen.  This is why the Harper government has been so harsh on social activist organizations: there is too real a political danger that such groups could grow and combine against the conservative agenda.
                
Something is wrong with the way we are governed and that something needs to be changed.  There are some who would use the phrase hell in a handbasket; and conservative thinkers would point to this corruption as an indicator that we should have a greater law-and-order society than we have presently.  This is ironic, given that the Harper party campaigned on law and order as a way of positioning itself as part of Stephen Harper’s overall plan for governance.  These scandals, and the resulting undercurrent of anger and frustration I hear wherever I go, show that the citizens are starting to connect the proverbial dots.  So what will the resulting picture look like?

We would not have peace: in fact we are experiencing violence because there have been shootings in Toronto recently, and it looks like things might get worse.  Then there is the death of Sammy Yatim, at the hands of a police officer who is now being investigated by the SIU. (as of August 20, 2013) We do not have order if we think of the economic crises which have hit us, and also consider that there is chaos in the senate.  We certainly do not have good government, when parliament has been off for the summer and it looks like that parliament will be silenced until October. So we have indications that Canadians have been politically betrayed, and there is little to nothing that ordinary people either care, or can do something about this situation, other than wait for the next elections.     

So we can see that we have been betrayed and I can’t think of a time when things have been so poor and chaotic in my life.  I am not claiming to be an expert, but I am a citizen and therefore have a stake in what happens.  We were promised peace, order and good government; we have strife, conflict and absentee leadership.

1 comment:

  1. Reading your posting about all the corruption in your country sounds very similar to what is happening in the USA. Everyday we hear of one more political member who has been caught with "their pants down", especially when it comes to managing our countries money. Secret meetings, bribery, and anything else one can think of occurs. I AM JUST SICK AND TIRED OF ALL IT!!!!! LaVada

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