It is hard to turn on the news or read the paper without being blasted with coverage of scandals in our country. Scandals and controversy are a part of life and government, and part of the media’s job is to make us aware. But this just seems like too much. It’s all so overwhelming… and negative. Not that negativity in the news is anything new, by any means.
These recent issues in the news, primarily Rob Ford’s crack video and the Senate expense scandal, are not new; they have been around since early summer. But both of them at the time did not seem to have a lot of impact or momentum. The public mostly let it go, with lack of evidence or belief in any real wrongdoing. But now these stories are back and more glaring than ever. The police now have the video; it is real after all. And it has to come to light that perhaps Prime Minister Harper did know of the loan to Duffy and tried to cover it up. These are serious issues that should be covered, and people need to be held accountable. But it makes one wonder what this says about our country.
Is this just a product of the government in place, or is it more than that? As much as we hate to admit it, it almost seems like we are becoming like our neighbours to the south. Or maybe it is just a product of the media doing their jobs to a high level; digging out the dark, hidden issues and bringing them to light.
It is well known by now that earlier this week, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said that they now have the “video images which appear to be those images which were previously reported in the press.” Speculation has run amok, with the press, citizens and city council all calling for Ford’s resignation. Even though Ford has said, in a media scrum, that he has no reason to resign, one cannot help but notice the lack of conviction and gusto that he normally portrays. Gone were the firm denials and requests for evidence, replaced by the safe answer that he cannot comment because it is before the courts. So maybe this is a good result. Perhaps Ford has been caught in his wrongdoing, and maybe he will be charged, even forced to relinquish his duties as mayor. Is it worth it, or does it merely create a culture of confusion? It could just be the opposition finally accomplishing its goals, or it could be a case of helping voters see the light, showing them that maybe this man does not deserve to be re-elected.
The other issue is a bit more complex, but just as intriguing. Things first started to heat up when it seemed that Harper slipped up in Parliament and appeared to be changing his story. The press and the opposition both pounced and kept applying pressure. Then, Nigel Wright, formerly Harper’s Chief of Staff, said that the party agreed to pay Duffy’s debt. To this, Irving Gerstein, Chair of the Conservative Fund, said, “First, I made it absolutely clear to Nigel Wright that the Conservative Fund of Canada would not pay for Sen. Duffy’s disputed expenses, and it never did.”
Add it all up and it just makes our country look like a gong show. Maybe it is nothing more than the government making bad judgments and unethical decisions, or maybe it is something more than that. It’s as if we are becoming just like every other nation out there, with these scandals seeming like cheap rip-offs of bad Hollywood dramas. The attitude appears to be to succeed at bringing down the other, no matter what the cost. There is no moving forward, no working together towards common goals. Scandals like this are not new in any country. But due to the extent that they seem to be occurring in our nation this last year, we increasingly seem to be less like Canada, and more like just another America. And that is the biggest scandal of all.