First let me offer recognition to all our veterans that endured hell for us.
Second let me acknowledge my bias up front, I believe that for several reasons the Senate should be abolished.
I do not understand why media outlets provide credence to Pamela Wallin and her fellow Senators. How in good faith can the media really report her comment about 'An extremely sad day for democracy' or through her lawyer that the government is "vindictive, vicious and without precedent." How is it a sad day for democracy when an unelected and largely unaccountable body decides to suspend three of its members? How is it vindictive, vicious and without precedent when an employer suspends employees for wanton disregard for common sense and respect of the taxpayers funds. Senators are given a position of great privilege in this country and they are well rewarded in multiples of what the average taxpayer earns and who have no say in the appointment of these Senators. Of those that are given much, much is expected, and the least of which is respect for the taxpayer's funds. Rules are for people who lack the ethics to stand up straight. These three may not have technically broken the rules but they have clearly shown that their ethics leave something to be desired.
With regards to Rob Ford I voted for him, I am disappointed he lied with regards to the situation and as a result I cannot see myself voting for him again. Regardless, it appears he has a drinking problem and needs to get some help for the sake of his family and himself.
In your discussions later today, please remember that there are other politicians across Canada that need to be considered; MPs, Mayors and Councillors, Chiefs and Councillors, MLAs-in all four orders of government. New rules should encompass representatives of all four orders of government to provide consistency. Attendance, adhering to Codes of Conduct and breaking confidentiality are but a few topics for consideration.
The person should resign if he/she has lost the confidence of the majority of the people. Canada has no recall law so maybe there should be such a process. Even a criminal conviction may not require a resignation if it a summary process only not involving honesty.
St. John's, Newfoundland
Officials such as Mayor Ford swear an oath of office. This oath usually requires that one reports any criminal wrongdoing. Mayor Ford clearly knew about a place to get crack cocaine. Did he report it? If not he is guilty and he should be charged.
In my view, the central and crucial issue is public trust. Allowing for the usual and more or less inevitable self-interest of human nature, accepting public office either by election or appointment, is to accept a position of trust. To betray that trust, either by negligence or deliberate on inadvertent misconduct disqualifies a person from holding that office, period. It is the responsibility of office holder to know what their specific powers and duties are, and to carry them out honorably in an attitude of service, and not self interest. Immediate and merciless dismissal (not to mention legal prosecution where appropriate) is the public's only defense against the erosion of faithful public service
I continue to be concerned with the emphasis on the activities of Rob Ford and of the three Senators when, as someone who has held a leadership position and has some understanding of one's role and responsibility as a leader, the key concern should be the lack of responsibility and integrity demonstrated by the Prime Minister when Nigel Wright' and the Conservative Party leadership are shown to be complicit in what occurred. The Senators were also chosen by him and yet, he owns none of that.
You have to wonder if Rob Ford was paid to confess to smoking crack cocaine just when the Prime Minister needed a distraction! Having hoped for a great deal from Mr. Harper many years ago, I am shocked and dismayed by his complete lack of integrity and mean spirited approach to so many.
In my view we have lower standards for almost everything, and that's very sad. Especially in Politics, the people who work on that level, they for some reason, think they just simply can, because they are some kind of "elite club". It really is sad and unbelievable, that we Canadians, are looking at that , and really, can't do much, and really allowing everyone else to have a lover standards of ethics even when driving, you'll let someone in, there's not "thank you" wave which really shows you , that everyone just expects. The same goes for politicians, once they run they are so proper and with morals and ethics. Later..that's different story.
Mr. Harper has been found in contempt of parliament. The Conservatives in the 2011 election have been found to have run a fraudulent campaign. He appointed the three senators who have been behaved so badly. The PMO was clearly involved in paying Senator Duffy's debts. When do we ask when Mr. Harper will resign?
Victoria, British Columbia
In your introduction you do not mention the PMO's office. We were lied to that only one person knew of writing the 90,000 cheque (from Wright) but we now find out that 13 people may have known. Here are just some of the other reasons for resignation that haven't taken place; 80 million spent on one day at the G8 summit, including a fake lake, Tony Clement's riding paid $50 million of taxpayer money, not through usual channels, but instead of resignation he is rewarded with a place in Cabinet, Robocalls, misleading voters all leading to the Conservative party, but a little guy is put under the bus to take the blame (Elections Canada found that there was electoral fraud during the last election), PM lying to Parliament about real cost of fighter jets.
The Rob Ford thing is a farcical sideshow which is unbelievable.
The Harper lying and deception is very disturbing, especially since these same Senators were personally chosen by the PM (and he knew they lived in Ontario when he chose them), used to fundraise and campaign for the Conservatives during the last election (Mr. Duffy campaigned at 17 Conservative ridings during the last election) and Elections Canada found that in at least two incidents, he charged the Senate, but did not charge the Conservative ridings for his time and travel. No wonder the Prime Minister wanted to get rid of the evidence. The ongoing deception is sickening. But is there any talk of him resigning?
When about 50% of the population is functionally illiterate (Gr. 8 or below), they are easily fooled by politicians & a media that often parrots talking points as well as the puppets in office.
No one with any decency, morals or ethics would stay in power when such corruption is obvious and admitted like in the Rob Ford fiasco.
As for the federal scene and it being Remembrance Day tomorrow, I encourage everyone to brush up on the definition of fascism - the corporate state - which Canada and other nations have become.
Upper Keswick, New Brunswick
During the 60's and 70's if even a question of impropriety was raised Cabinet Members in Ontario resigned until their names were cleared. Two very different extremes.
We do know that politicians are relatively immune from shame. That's not new. And I think that today's question frames the issue poorly. We forget that there are more practical considerations when politicians let us down. Behaviour is not just related to the abstract pursuit of a virtue for its own sake. For example, we are fighting a very public war on drugs, and young people are being killed by the violence that is associated with this illicit trade. When the chief magistrate of a city engages in drug use, it's not merely a matter of personal behaviour; it is a matter of betraying everything that his police officers are risking their lives for. The public outrage should be huge. Mayor Ford should never have entertained running for office for a moment. Having been discovered to have used crack cocaine, he should have removed himself immediately. It doesn't matter what standards of honour in the abstract that we would otherwise apply -no matter how low
Of course a politician should resign amid this kind of horrific scandal, but Rob Ford refuses to do so. We shouldn't need a law to throw him out of office; if he were a man of honour he would have resigned already. I was raised in the 50s with the notion of good sportsmanship. Fighting during any sport was considered unsportsmanlike (and that's why I lost interest in hockey). A man who admits to smoking crack, not to mention the rest of his transgressions, should not have to be begged to leave. I don't give a hoot about what he has done politically at this point; he is not worthy of the office, at least by my rules, and he must realize this.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
My comment with regards to Mike Duffy would be if he was not eligible to collect a housing allowance from the province that he represents because he does not live there then how was he appointed senator of that province in the first place? I would say Mike Duffy's mistake is $90k plus and Steven Harpers mistake "priceless"
Although this comment is not directly on point to the questions you've posed, there is an issue with political scandals that I haven't heard addressed in any media I've encountered.
With every slimy political scandal reported in the media, the voting demographic changes. People become disgusted and choose to stay home on voting day. The people that give up on participating in democracy are less likely to be wealthy, educated party members, and older persons. More likely to become disillusioned and stay away are the poorer, younger, more idealistic, and non politically aligned.
So any scandal, no matter the nature, or the political stripe of the people involved, works to the long term favour of the political right by suppressing the vote of those most likely to favour the left and centre.
Prince Rupert, British Columbia
When people say that what Ford does in his private life (i.e., public drunkenness, smoking crack) has nothing to do with his public life, I know we are lost. This is a man who has lied about smoking crack. He has been known to associate with alleged criminals. This is all about character or, in the instance of Ford, the three senators and Harper, lack of character. All five of these people have not only lied, they have shamelessly lied and then, when caught, blame others for their difficulties. The media is out to get them. And when they do apologize, time and time again, the apology rings hollow because they don't mean it.
All these people, Harper in particular, when not in denial, actually believe the voter stupid and, I suspect, there is some evidence for that. Harper's supporters stick with him regardless of how many times he refusals to answer questions of what he knew or didn't regarding the Duffy/Wright deal and those who support Ford, do so regardless of disrepute he has brought to his office. There is about Ford a mythology that is based on nothing concrete but a vague notion of a hapless, straight shooting, vulnerable, slightly dense, ordinary guy who happens to get drunk in a fashion slightly embarrassing but harmless manner. Ford is a buffoon! It is not just the politicians who lack shame but also the voters. Morality, ethics, and shame no longer play a role in how they vote. Apparently the only thing that matters whether in politics or in voting is the main chance. And that is a disgrace.
I have always been proud of the fact that my maternal great grandfather was mayor of Toronto ("Honest Joe" Oliver) so to hear Ford claim to be the "best mayor this city has ever seen" makes my blood boil. This is not a case of "presumed innocence" like some of your callers have said. Ford has admitted using a dangerous drug while in office, a drug that people kill for, which people die from and which leads to uncontrolled and unreasonable actions. He has been caught trying to mislead the public and police and admits to being guilty of not just bad taste but using the drug crack cocaine. What if there were a major disaster or terrorist attack while Ford was intoxicated? What disingenuous excuse would the mayor of the fourth largest city in North America come up with in a 9-11 scenario? "Probably I was perhaps maybe could have been in a drunken stupor.Now go away so I can blow the press a kiss while I show students around!"Why is no one mentioning the fact that one of the guys in the Ford video was murdered? And Ford seems to think he can rant and swear about murdering someone with impunity! He is a disgrace to the office but nothing anyone can say will sway him into stepping down like a person with one iota of class would do.
What should he do? Resign, and for his own health go on the walking pilgrimage to Santiago (regardless of his particular religion.)
Halifax, Nova Scotia
I just watched Rudy Giuliani being interviewed on Letterman the week after 9/11. He discussed his role and actions as the number one man in NYC and his 24/7 responsibility to the city. He contributed to the assessment of the situation; decided on "an orderly pursuit of the problem"; wasn't in his office and had to set up command post; communicated with police commissioner, fire commissioner, head of emergency services, deputy mayor; made security decisions; communicated with public about what to do via the media; said that although they had emergency procedures in place, he "had to invent solutions" throughout. What if we had a terrorist attack? We can't bank on Rob Ford to show good judgement, behave thoughtfully (he is impulsive and vengeful), not being high or drunk and he's on the outs with our chief of police. How could he be depended on to collaborate effectively in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster?
Richmond Hill, Ontario
It is very inappropriate a mayor is hanging with criminals and how is that affecting city business . ( Montreal city and Mafia ).A mayor should be above board and not buying drugs, hanging out with criminals. All the effects from crime elements
Politics works best when people understand the word "Honourable" which we like to throw around in our representative institutions. It is of course, something that needs to be earned over time, or else it becomes laughable. It still can be found now and then. I recall Sheila Copps resigned in 1996, (knowing her Burke, perhaps) over her own leader's position on the GST. She did and ran again, and was re-elected. A good role model for many on the current scene.
Parksville, British Columbia
I am more concerned about Rob Ford the football coach then I am about Rob Ford the mayor of Toronto. I really would've expected that Rob Ford, as someone who works with youth, would've admitted that he used crack cocaine and accepted responsibility, he would've apologized publicly for this and that he would have publicly caution everyone, especially youth, about the dangers of the use of illicit drugs. As a parent I find it disturbing that Rob Ford appears so far to have avoided serious legal consequences.
Medicine Hat, Alberta
I haven't voted in many years because I think all politicians, by their very nature have to be manipulative and dishonest to get into power. From the beginning of time, our leaders have bent their so-called morals to suit their personal needs. The difference now is that modern media is much more effective at broadcasting all their misdeeds. Even 30 years ago, before computers and the internet, we would never hear about half of it. There is no honour left.
Vancouver, British Columbia
As egregious as the Senate scandal and the Rob Ford saga is - I can't believe the media hypocrisy considering the lies and cover up done by the McGinty and Wynne $1.1 billion sleaze fest - blatant lies and arrogance. This was done to keep a few Liberal seats - why aren't people and the media demanding that the Liberal party pay this $1.1 billion - since this done strictly for the benefit of the Liberal Party. And when caught in the headlights Dalton ran away from his responsibilities like the craven coward he is. And he had the integrity after quitting his job to take a $300,000 severance.
You and Michael Bliss seem to forget that the Mayor is not just the mayor, but the chief magistrate of the city. Sex may be frowned upon, but it is not illegal. Ford has vowed to crack down on crack and crack gangs, but has instead gone down into the crack den and has been consorting with those whom he has vowed to bring to justice. This is not tolerable.
About the comparison of Rob Ford to Bill Clinton? I don't recall Clinton hypocritically embracing a tough on infidelity agenda.
People including politicians have been making mistakes intentionally or unintentionally since political situations have been reported.
The person may have been or is a sociopath, surrounded by bad advisors, drawn along by the culture of the institution or may be a person just thinking they can get a little extra, no one will be hurt- Are these people evil, bad, ignorant or just greedy- basically we will not know. But their past and future actions will help determine their worth.
Now there is the severity of the misdemeanor, crime or indiscretion. War crimes, sexual indiscretion or syphoning of money for ones personal use. The punishment should fit the crime.
With the Senate personal I believe that some of these individuals were drawn in by the culture- I believe that many things were done in the belief that actions could be justified- Wouldn't it be nice if a senator attended a convocation-" It will certainly increase the profile of the Senate. Many things can be justified in the name of doing "good". I am not saying this is the case, but I think it leads to a laxity of accountability.
When people make mistakes they should be punished and while I cannot speak to the appropriateness of suspension, I do not think that a person should be punished forever. I believe that people become quite honest once caught. And they can be the best people for reform.
When a person partakes in addictive behaviour (in contrast to a social drink or smoke) it indicates some underlying issue. It could be low self esteem, fear, the inability to say no, medication for underlying emotional pain. And usually these addictive persons are surrounded by people who cover up, prop up, make excuses, accuse others of contributing to the problem. This may be so, but there are healthier ways of dealing with others destructive behaviour.
Alcoholism and drug addiction are diseases with many causes, but there are some actions that do occur- emotional and intellectual growth stops when the addiction starts. Addiction is a progressive disease until treatment is started. Many times a person can stop the physical addiction, but mentally the person is still the same. Possible low self esteem, reliance on the unhealthy people who surround them, fear of success and inability to really learn what the problem is.
Mr. Ford may or may not be an addict but he followed many of the typical actions of when he was caught, indignation, denial, accusatory tirades, dependence on the people surrounding him. The stages of healing take some time. I do believe that people can certainly recover some of the "good self" but it will take a lifetime of work to do this.
It now depends on Mr. Ford. He will need help in deciding his future, how he acts, changing some of his thought processes and it does not stop there, the people surrounding him need as much help as he does - his family, co-workers, city council, media and the public.
He must be held accountable, hopefully he will genuinely get better and hopefully everyone else will help, support him and expect the best he can deliver.
This will not happen overnight. It is a long process of all of us helping others
Mr. Harper is caught up in the same kind of behaviour- inability to admit that a mistake was make and not enough confidence in the public to know that he can not control everything. Think of how fast the scandal would have gone away, if Mr. Harper had taken some responsibility, got right on a plan to Improve the system of accountability in government. He is in the same position as the people who he is trying to distance. He certainly made a mistake. Now what should his punishment be - suspension from parliament?
On top of Ford's other problems, he obviously uses the poorest judgment in choosing his pals and drinking partners. Who are these "friends" who videotape him and release the tapes? Maybe his poor choice of drinking buddies is just an extension of poor choices in general.
But at least he commits his sins off the job. Meanwhile we have a Prime Minister who lies to us in the course of his job and, lately, as a big part of his job.
St Albert, Alberta
The question isn't whether politicians should be released from office for wrong doing. What does it say about the politicians elected when you have incidents as we have seen over the years. What is needed is integrity . What does it say about the truthfulness of our politicians when newscasters have to have 'reality checks' to inform the listener on statements made. Twisting the truth, lies of omission, fudging the books- it is all the same.
Bella Coola, British Columbia
Personal sexual behaviour has a limited impact, which the press seems to overplay. Crack is only available through illegal sources in Canada. Its use by prominent or normal people support organized crime whose activities destroy peoples lives through addiction, prostitution, trade in people, etc. The Prof's comments and your lack of challenging him appear very unenlightened.
I believe the downward spiral of ethics and principles Canadian politics gained real momentum during the 80's when Mulroney proved to the world that you could receive an envelope of money in a hotel room and later sue the same government he lead at the time for slandering him over that money.
Of course chicanery and abuse of office has long been a concern with politicians forever. But after Nixon in the 70;s and Mulroney in the 80's and sundry minor figures in between, the message here in North America has been change from appearance is everything to anything goes.
Today we see both Steven Harper and Rob Ford applying the childish attitude that "it ain't true until and unless I say its true" over and over again. And then when they get caught out the principle defence is to point and shout "ya but look over there" or "look a mistake as made, now let us move on" in order to obfuscate, misdirect and minimize their actions. And both have a core constituency that subscribes to the same sort of hubris and nothing can deter them from their rightness.
It seems that hubris has been elevated to stellar heights these days with no saving consciousness in sight.
Gabriola Island, British Columbia
The behaviour of some politicians, and leaders in industry as well, reminds me of the behaviour of the nobility in France in the 18th century which ultimately led to the French revolution.
It's the people who still support Ford that I'm worried about. This is the rise of Walmart democracy--a rush to the lowest price regardless of quality.
In his introductory remarks, Rex Murphy mentioned a British Foreign Minister taking responsibility for something and resigning. The keywords here are "taking responsibility."In my view, the word accountability is a weasel word and, in practice, generally means that somebody involved in an incident or practice simply explains what happened and moves on with no further consequences or real acceptance of responsibility.
Rob Ford should be forced to resign. His behaviour is abominable but, more importantly, it appears that criminals were offering large sums of cash for the video that he denied existed. If that video had not been found and had, in fact, been purchased by criminal elements, Mr. Ford could have been a candidate for extortion or blackmail. Historically, behaviour that left one open to extortion or blackmail has been considered grounds for dismissal. While Mr. Ford's crack smoking has been aired, other behaviour may yet be discovered or not. If not, he may be subject to blackmail or extortion.
As for Mr. Flaherty's emotional appearance when asked about Mr. Ford, I do not see it as a praiseworthy genuine emotion. Mr. Flaherty showed virtually no emotion when he was cutting the budgets of Ontario - an act that was considered partially responsible for the deaths at Walkerton. In this case it is my view that "birds of a feather flock together".
With respect to the Senate situation, it is interesting that Conservatives want to put the sentence before a hearing or the police investigation is complete while in the case of Rob Ford, they want to wait until the police investigation is complete before passing judgment. [Candidates for hypocrites anonymous]
As a conservative sympathizer himself, I doubt that Rex Murphy would be interested in any of my comments.
Awhile back there was a Toronto transit worker who was filmed sleeping on the job. Rob Ford wanted him fired. No investigation required.
The same standard should apply to Mr Ford.
Victoria, British Columbia
The senators were expulsed by Harper's form of justice - I say you are wrong, therefore you are wrong. No trial, no presumption of innocence, just the whims of a man who supported them, even encouraged their actions as long as they didn't get caught. With Ford, Harper's right-hand man feels sorry for him and people think that he is a great person (Flaherty) and why should Ford leave? If he was anyone other than a personal and political friend, he would be in prison along with many other addicted and/or sick people because they are, as Mr. Ford has said, the scum of the Earth. Ford's presence as mayor of Toronto may be more important as an indication of what the "ordinary" people think of politicians and what their value and responsibilities are. Fix the pothole on my street, let me drive my car and to hell with the big questions/problems facing the city. Glad that I don't live there.
La Pocatière, Quebec