Have Canadians (and their politicians) completely lost their moral compasses?

First a disclosure – I have never been, am not and never expect to be a member of ANY local, municipal, civic, provincial, territorial or federal political party. That said, let’s move on.

It seems that over the past few years, Canadian politicians of all stripes and levels have stooped lower than tricky-Dicky Nixon (sorry Gen X, Y and Millennials – ask a Zoomer or Boomer!) ever imagined – at least he had recordings to prove who said what and to whom.

What are Canadians going to do about this very sad and depressing state of affairs? I am trying to do my little bit but my unfortunate conclusion is that most Canadians will do nothing, a few will raise a bit of a ruckus for very short period and then lose interest and an extremely tiny minority will actually work to change things and hold people to account. To this group I say – PLEASE do not give up your efforts!

Most recently, we have all been subjected to a selection of corruption enquiries and then we have the Keystone Cops movie currently playing in our Senate (the house of sober second-thought!?) followed closely by amateur-hour and “Kids say the darnedest things” (sorry again G, Y and M – ask a Zoomer!) in our National House of Parliament.

I have been known to say that some groups of people are so inept that they couldn’t organise a train-wreck in a phone booth on a one-way track with bag over their heads. I now have living proof in these two groups, to say nothing of the embarrassment to Canada caused by the sheer idiocy of their actions and the entire process.

It would suggest giving every politician a polygraph test – but I doubt we could find enough trained examiners to administer them all, and to be fair, I have no doubt that there are 2 or 3 percent of that group who really do work with ONLY the best interest of the public in mind rather than their own political or other grandiose agenda(s). I would love to meet them and put them to the test.

Are they out for themselves? Their party? Their leader? Or (novel thought) ALL Canadians? By the way, our neighbours to the south are just as bad but in their case, ideology seems to outweigh even their own crass personal ambitions and agendas. I confess, I don’t know which is worse – the politicos in the Untied States (intentional) or the Crazy Canucks up here in the GWN?

If it wasn’t so sad, it would be laughable. In this instance, I would LOVE to take over the Committees or Boards of Internal Economy for both the Senate and Parliament (and provincial, territorial and civic ones, too) but then, many people accuse me of not willing to be strong enough to cut the waste across the board – apparently I am too mild-mannered and reserved!

Please Canadians – we MUST take our country back from these inept, scurrilous, morally and ethically bankrupt people. They are there because we elected them (yes, this includes the Senate since we elected the propeller-heads who appointed them) and we can point the fingers at no-one but ourselves.

Is there such a concept as “corporate ethics”?

Much has been written and said recently about an apparent lack of ethics in many segments of our society – in particular our politicians, political appointees and corporate executives. As the political side of this issue is well discussed in the forthcoming issue of Money Magazine, I am going to visit corporate ethics here.

I think the first issue is to answer the question – is there such a concept as “corporate ethics”? I have thought about this a great deal and have come to the conclusion that no – there is no such thing. Corporations don’t think as entities – they merely reflect the ethical values and personal principles of the decision-makers – whether that is a single person in a small company or an entire Board of Directors or members of the so-called “C-suite” for larger national and international businesses.

I find the notion of corporate ethics and responsibility inextricably linked back to those same issues on a personal level for the individuals involved. A corporation doesn’t decide to do anything – the people that control the corporation make the decisions and they should be the ones that pay the price.

Public censure, fines and other forms of discipline assessed against companies only penalise consumers, employees, and in some cases, shareholders. These approaches are punitive and don’t change the fundamental behaviours, beliefs and attitudes of the decision-makers that are involved.

As a result of some financial imprudence (you can provide your own personal interpretation of that statement) in the mid-to late 2000s, some companies were labelled as “too big to fail” and the executives who caused the problems labelled as “too big to jail”. What nonsense – particularly the second part about jailing those responsible for the most egregious acts.

The negotiated settlements see some people parting with, what appears to be large amounts of money – the reality is something very different, unfortunately. Yes they part with some millions but those millions pale into ignominity in consideration of the deliterious effcts of the actions on businesses, consumers, employees and unsuspecting investors. These people deserve nothing less than being stripped of 100% of their ill-gotten gains (both cash and assets), jailed for terms involving double-digits (with no early parole and no “Club Fed”-style prisons) and a permanent world-wide ban on further business activities other than as a consumer.

Harsh? YES. Too harsh? You can judge. What I do know is these people with their suspended or nominal sentences are not being dealt with in an appropriate manner and the “punishment” is certainly not a deterrant.