“Politicians are supposed to be the referees who decide what is in the public interest – so why would we allow big businesses, corporate interest groups or wealthy people to buy them off with huge donations?”
By Linda Babb
Posted November 28th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
“Money to the Ref?
We don’t allow that in the Olympic, in hockey, baseball or other sports – but in politics it’s legal and accepted as “par for the course.”
Genuine as well as fake news outlets proliferate on the internet, twitter and facebook. Undeniably it’s important to learn how to differentiate between them, that is being “personally responsible”.
At the moment all sources are inundated with reports, accusations, allegations and speculation focused on Trump in connection with conflict of interest, as well as influence peddling and buying support, not to mention a recent “ad” for – of all things – a Christmas tree ornament facsimile of the infamous Trump campaign hat!!
How does that possibly relate to us in Canada?
Most people would like to think it has no bearing on what happens here. But maybe it might be time for us living on the Canadian side of the border to look inward.
We are “seeing” events in the U.S. in banner headlines, exposing behaviour we find unacceptable – maybe that is a purpose being served by the “election” of an individual like Trump. Maybe the purpose is for all of us to become more acutely aware of what is happening, sometimes in plain sight but escapes our attention.
Let’s take a look at that headline for instance. It says we “don’t allow” money to referees in sports, and yet “in politics it’s legal and accepted as “par for the course”.
And why is that “accepted” as “par for the course”? Is it not unethical? Could it not be perceived as a “conflict of interest”, bribery or graft?
The Ontario Liberal government has been caught up in various political fundraising scandals for the past several months, as has Kelly Leitch, contender for the leadership of the dederal Conservative Party – amongst others!!. Big business executives and other wealthy people in British Columbia are paying up to $20,000 to meet behind closed doors with Premier Christy Clark and other Cabinet ministers.
British Columbia may be seen as having one of the most unethical and undemocratic political finance systems in Canada – a best-government-money-can-buy system. Businesses, unions and other organizations, even foreign businesses and interest groups, can donate an unlimited amount to B.C. political parties and politicians.
The Globe and Mail revealed last spring that BC’s Liberal Premier Clark, her Cabinet ministers, and opposition party leaders, were all holding high-priced, secret exclusive events where politicians sell access to themselves in return for a big donation.
Now as reported in The Tyee of November 22 (http://thetyee.ca/News/2016/11/22/Trudeau-Fundraiser-Smell-Test/) it “appears” to be acceptable for the Prime Minister to attend functions in “private homes” to provide attendees access to the Prime Minister for a modest fee of $1500.
Is this true all over Canada? Is this true on a smaller scale in the Niagara Region? Do we know what is happening?
Politicians are supposed to be the referees who decide what is in the public interest – so why would we allow big businesses, corporate interest groups or wealthy people to buy them off with huge donations, including secret donations?
Why is it that in spite of significant revelations of “private access” to the politicians at all levels – elected by the people, to serve the people and represent the best interest of all the people it would appear that “the people” do not have enough spare cash to get the attention of the individuals who pay the salaries of the elected individuals? Why are those “elected people” not listening? Why are they continuing to allow their elected influence to be bought? Do they genuinely believe they are above accepted parameters of “Ethics” and “integrity”
It’s TIME all parties stopped allowing themselves to be beholden to deep pocketed business interests and remembered who actually pays their huge salaries – namely taxpayers – unless they also pocket the “donations”/bribes to add to those salaries!!
It is clearly TIME – time that every elector began to pay close attention to what is “accepted as par for the course.”
It’s time we all altered what is “par for the course.” It’s time there was a loud, province wide, nation wide demand for politicians of all stripes to stop “selling influence”.
It might be said there is no exchange of “tangible effects” – nothing tangible exchanged – but what about intangible effects on present and future decisions which could prove to be of benefit to those who “buy” face time or have the ear of one who is “bought”?
Find Linda Babb on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/linda.babb.94 . and find more at The Peoples Platform site at – https://www.facebook.com/n/?groups%2Fpeoplesplatformnf%2F1686478968271144%2F&aref=1464524040696344&medium=email&mid=53404dbde6420G6198f27dG533fa1335f218G96Gc27e
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders