So Rob Ford may smoke crack, big deal I believe it should be legalized and taxed. The big issue though is it is still a crime that requires investigation and one of those misguided mandatory sentences brought in by the Conservatives. There have been many scandals with Rob Ford over the years which can be summed up by him having an elitist sense of entitlement. Rob Ford isn’t alone in this, Joe Fontana has a similar sense of entitlement as shown be his fraud charges for using public money for a private wedding, being sued for breech of contract, and the whole charity being investigated by Canada Revenue Agency.
Some may believe this is two isolated politicians who have lost control of their sense of ethics. I think it is the tip of the giant iceberg of corruption in Ontario. In January it was revealed that Toronto’s concrete prices were being fixed. Still, this could be an isolated incident but the concrete industry is tied to the rest of the construction industry and Toronto is tied to the rest of the country. If there is one rotten apple in the construction barrel chances are there are many more.
With what is happening in Québec with the Charbonneau Commission investigating the construction industry, the charges of gangsterism against the former Laval mayor, former Montréal mayor getting caught in the centre of investigations it would be foolish to think the rot stops at the Ottawa river. It is delusional to think there is a magical barrier set by Elrond and Gandalf to contain the corruption in Québec. The Charbonneau Commission has already heard evidence connecting the Mafia to Ontario. The former RCMP Ontario organized crime chief also has publicly stated there is a connection.
Then there is the saga of SNC-Lavalin, you know the company Harper Conservatives gave the profitable parts of Atomic Energy Canada to but not the debt. The company investigated for its relationship with the Gaddafi family, being investigated for corruption in Bangladesh, yeah they operate in Ontario too. With all of these isolated incidents we will see one of those pointillism pictures if we step back. Factor in city business being done in back rooms of restaurants, money voted by Parliament to provide border security going to gazebos in a cabinet minister’s riding, the list could go on but I think I’m making my point.
I hear second or third anecdotes of corruption but one incident sticks with me. I was a security guard at Tim Horton’s on Hamilton Mountain years ago and some kid I was asking to leave threatened me by saying his dad was so and so who owned a construction company. I wish I could remember name of the company but threats like that aren’t made about legitimate businesses. I should have written it down but I was just a young security guard in a plastic uniform that gave me a rash. Another quick example that make my stomach churn. Two city councillors in the chambers telling everyone a man they met in the gallery after a meeting could build a fence cheaper than costing done by professional city engineers. If that kind of thing doesn’t set people’s bull shit alarm off then any remaining hope for humanity I had is lost.
What needs to happen in Ontario is a special, temporary, team of law enforcement, forensic auditors, Crown prosecutors and criminal intelligence agents should be set up as soon as possible. A separate Royal Commission should be set up to discover the scope of the problem in Ontario and perhaps all of Canada. This could cost millions but ultimately save Canadians billions. All political parties should make this a non partisan priority or should be crushed in the next election.
Whistle blower protection should be entrenched in tough legislation that encourages people to come forward with information without fear of reprisals. Resources to weed out the few trouble makers and protect the legitimate should be made readily available. This should extend to any private entity with a government contract and these entities must also conduct all business with full transparency or forfeit the contract. Transparency should be entrenched in law including all meetings of public officials made available within seven business days or the public official must resign. Exemption can be made for security and other sensitive security information but within clearly defined limits of what can be declared off limits to public.
Back to the Rob Ford crack video. Those Somali men need to be given protection immediately even if the video is fake or not Rob Ford. One has already been killed and even if they are drug dealers they know who else they’ve been supplying and who supplies them. Information law enforcement should have to get the bigger fish and investigate to where the money to buy the crack is coming from. Rob Ford commandeered a bus for his football team why wouldn’t he use tax dollars for his crack?
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, as the saying goes. We are so distracted by external threats and more often bread and circuses we have failed in our vigilance on domestic threats. Correcting the slide to tyranny Canada finds itself in is a massive, seemingly impossible task. Remember Elijah Harper with his Eagle Feather, with the wave of his feather he killed the Meech Lake Accord that would have entrenched more power for the political elites in this country. Remember the people who are corrupting Canada to their own benefit are out numbered by the rest of us.