Has transparency in politics gone too far or do we need more accountability from politicians?

"I think we are at a moment in history where the ways things have always been done for 150 years is now banging up against a new public expectation." - B.C. Premier Christy Clark on the public demand for more accountability. (CP/Sean Kilpatrick)


From $16 for orange juice, to funeral flights, to Senate scandals, we've witnessed a litany of public outrage and political resignations. And yet some argue our quest for transparency and accountability goes too far. We have the debate.

When Alison Redford resigned as Alberta's premier last month, it was largely blamed on her lavish spending habits and a growing caucus revolt. Much of the anger was directed at the $45,000 she spent attending Nelson Mandela's memorial service in South Africa.

"Obviously what has happened tonight will be covered as a political story. And it is a political story. But I want to remind everyone that this is also a human story. It's about a real person a good person. And it's the story of a system that takes someone like that and chews them up and spits them out."

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi on Alison Redford scandal

In these days of Senate spending scandals and infamous $16 orange juice cheque --- those in public service are being subjected to increased scrutiny and accountability and no travel claim is too small to dissect.

In British Columbia, two high profile MLAs have just repaid thousands of dollars in expenses after a public backlash over their spending. In an interview last week with The Vancouver Sun, B.C. Premier Christy Clark says we are entering a new era of accountability.

"I think we are at a moment in history where the way things have always been done you know for 150 years is now banging up against a new public expectation. We have an obligation to make sure the public that voted for us and pays taxes knows we are going to respect that money we are going to spend it the way they would spend it themselves."

B.C. Premier Christy Clark

Premier Clark may like it, but Chloe Atkins sees a danger in this demand for increased accountability. She believes transparency in politics may now go too far.

Chloe Atkins is an Associate Professor in the University of Calgary's Department of Communications and Culture. She was in Calgary.

Duff Conacher sees very differently. He argues we need more, not less, political transparency to make our democratic system stronger and more ethical.

Duff Conacher co-founded Democracy Watch and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He was in Ottawa.

Now, over to you -- Has transparency in politics gone too far... or do you want even more accountability from your politicians?

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This segment was produced by CBC Calgary Network Producer Michael O'Halloran.

Music Bridge: "Amerimacka" by Thievery Corporation

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