Israel, Moscow, Alberta and Ontario - corruption is everywhere? Has Burlington been left out.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 22nd, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If you are a political follower like me, you would have been glued to the TV watching the US House of Representatives impeachment hearings for the last two weeks. It is the best entertainment on the tube – better than the latest season of the Crown. And the Democrats have been brilliant, unfolding their story so there can be no doubt about Trump’s guilt in his latest attempt at corruption.

Call it quid pro quo, bribery, international blackmail, breach of trust, abuse of power – take your pick or tick all the boxes. It’s corruption – dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery. And Trump will almost certainly be impeached by the House of Representatives, though politics being what it is south of the border, he is unlikely to be removed from office.

Corruption seems to be contagious these days. Trump’s closest ally, Israeli PM Netanyahu, has also been indicted for corruption. But at least he didn’t betray his nation’s security as Trump has been doing since his election, given all the irrefutable testimony of the last two weeks.

Rivers -Trump and Ukraine Pres

Donald Trump with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Trump has been accused of withholding military aide until Zelensky opened an investigation into Joe Biden who wants to run against Trump in the 2020.

Few countries can hold a candle to the former Soviet republics when it comes to corruption, and Russia and Ukraine in particular. So Trump figured – what’s a little more corruption – they must be used to it? Or maybe he was just trying to please his master in Moscow.

Canada has had its own share of corruption. Stevie Cameron’s best seller, ‘On the Take’, gives an uncontested accounting of the slime we’d seen over the Mulroney years. And don’t forget the former PM accused of accepting brown paper bags full of cash from that Karl Heinz character. Of course there was the Sponsorship scandal which ultimately kept the Liberals out of power for almost a decade and at one point relegated them to third party status.

Andrew Scheer thought he had hit pay dirt, letting rip accusations of corruption and criminality at Mr. Trudeau over the SNC prosecution. But it turns out there was no smoking gun, just a lot of smoke. Mr. Trudeau had been cited by the Ethics Commissioner a couple of times and he has apologized at least once. But then even mild mannered Stephen Harper ran up a sizeable laundry list of potentially impeachable offences.

Rivers - Kenney H&S

Jason Kenney fired the province’s elections commissioner who was investigating just how Kenny got elected.

The latest unwinding of Canadian corruption takes us to Alberta and Jason Kenney. When the province’s elections commissioner investigated some of Kenney’s dirty tricks getting to office, and charged him with over $200,000 in fines, Kenney just borrowed a page from the Donald Trump’s playbook and fired him. And when opposition leader Notley objected, the speaker kicked her out of the legislation and the majority Conservatives just let Kenney off the hook.

Doug Ford had brazenly attacked the Kathleen Wynne government as corrupt. But he must have known that was pure fiction. Indeed the Liberals had an imperfect record during their decade and a half in power, and especially regarding McGuinty’s gas plant mess. But there was no corruption. Even the former premier’s budget numbers were proven to be accurate, at least in light of the auditor general’s observations.

doug-ford hard face

Are the people who voted for Doug Ford experiencing buyers’ remorse?

Ford’s popularity has tumbled in Ontario – it’s called buyers’ remorse. Anyone expecting the PC’s to better manage the treasury can’t be happy that the deficit is now climbing to over $2 billion more than it would have under the Liberals this year, despite Ford’s best efforts to slash and burn public services. And that slash and burn will end up in a war in the not too distant future as teachers and other public service employees confront ignorance and a lack of respect from this hostile government.

Ford has been boasting about his other war, the one on the environment. He is proud of how it only cost taxpayers an additional $200 million dollars to cancel and roll back some 800 renewable energy projects. But didn’t Ontario voters support climate action in the last federal election. His actions mean that our growing electricity demand will now have to be supplied with climate damaging natural gas.

And speaking of climate change, tax payers are on the hook for as much as $2 billion dollars a year since Ford cancelled Ontario’s cap and trade carbon pricing system. And we’re also paying for his $30 (plus) million ideological court battle with the feds over the carbon tax – which everyone knows he will lose.

There is no better example of the Ontario government’s abuse of power than forcing every gas station in the province to stick a political message on their pumps. Fortunately the labels seem to want to fall off. Having managed his family’s label making company, one would think that labels would be the one thing Ford could get right.

The Ford government has even messed up the cannabis file having wasted over $40 million dollars this year and failing to get an effective private distribution system in place. The Liberals had planned to use the experienced and profitable LCBO by contrast. Instead something like 80% of the province’s cannabis is still delivered through the blackmarket today.

Given the Ford family’s history around Ontario’s drug culture, one would think that pot would be the other thing he’d be able to manage without screwing up. One can only speculate into whose pockets some of that $40 million went.

Rivers Ford Doug and police nominee

Doug Ford poses for a picture with Ron Taverner, his first nominee for Chief of Ontario Provincial Police.

We all live in glass houses when it comes to calling out corruption and it wasn’t long before the cracks started appearing in Ford’s. So far it’s only been a little bit of patronage, nepotism and cronyism. But he has still got two and a half years to go.

Particularly troubling is his government’s intention to muck with judicial appointments. As we’ve learned from the US impeachment hearing, that is perhaps the number one source of Ukraine’s corruption. Can we really trust this government to avoid that pitfall? Can we really trust this government?

Background links:

Israeli Corruption –    Mulroney –    Harper

Alberta –     Ontario Budget –    Ford Cronyism

Ford Cannabis –     Black Market Pot –    Politicizing the Judiciary

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4 comments to Israel, Moscow, Alberta and Ontario – corruption is everywhere? Has Burlington been left out.

  • Ben Tuinman

    Ray, no doubt about your Liberal sympathies here. When it comes to calling out Trump and his government for corruption, of course you are right. But why don’t you mention the USA in your headline together with the others? Just curious…..

  • David

    This opinion piece proves only one thing….Not everyone should have a turn at the bullhorn.

  • Phillip Wooster

    Ray, your whitewash of the Lavalin Scandal is pure Liberal fiction. “Smoke”–that is why Trudeau on at least SIX (6) occasions has blocked investigation into the Lavalin Scandal and he doesn’t do that unless he is hiding something far more serious. Your boy, Trudeau is the poster child for political corruption. However, some good news—since Trudeau no longer controls the Commons Committees, perhaps a full investigation can now be undertaken. They might want to look at the Mark Norman fiasco as well.

    And your highly partisan piece “forgot” to mention the ongoing corruption in Ontario under Wynne and McGuinty. Just another propaganda piece.

  • Speaking as one living south of the border, I must say Putin has succeeded beyond his dreams in fracturing American society. The almost certain Senate trial will as certainly end in acquittal since the American Fascist Party – formerly known as the Republican Party, has already declared its intent to do so.

    Yet, despite that outcome, the damage has been done and it is increasingly unlikely any 2020 election outcome can reset the clock.

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