FCPP Publications :: The Real Problem With Corruption: "The Real Problem With Corruption
�Those who do not take an interest in politics will be ruled by those who do.�
The recent revelations from the Gomery Inquiry are causing me great concern, but not for the usual reasons. We should all feel outraged at the waste of taxpayers� money for dubious purposes but, hey, governments are always wasting money. The real problem is the disengagement of the political process from democratic ideals.
Although it�s not the money that�s the main problem, when I think about what the Adscam money could have provided in real services to real people I do get a bit upset. For example, did you know that Canada Customs agents on the St. Lawrence River have no boats to patrol a crucial border region? The poor saps have to rent boats just like the rest of us. So much for controlling drugs, firearms, and tobacco smuggling into Canada. But I digress.
The important consideration? Corruption strikes at the very heart of a decent and just society. If citizens believe that public institutions are rife with corruption, Canadians will become corrupt themselves, as in, �Hey if everybody does it, then I�d better, too, in self-defence.� Even worse, honest citizens will become cynical and disengage from the political process, thereby leaving the field wide open by default to even more corruption.
Widespread and pervasive corruption creates institutions that become increasingly arbitrary and hence unfair. Canadians have a right to demand fairness from their public institutions. In fact �fairness� can be equated with �justice,� which in turn can be equated with democracy itself. Wasn�t it Pierre Elliot Trudeau who campaigned once on the slogan, �The Just Society?� Whether it�s figh"